I can’t believe it’s been a year since COVID-19 upended our world. It’s been a tough slog, but I’m hopeful that we’re approaching the end of it with vaccinations rolling out. Maybe it is wishful thinking, but I even booked a trip to Manitoba in August thinking things will be close to normal by then.
Looking back at the past year, there are plenty of things I’m grateful for, things I miss, and lessons I hope we all learn going forward.
I’m grateful that we moved into a bigger home a few months before the pandemic hit.
I’m grateful that daycare reopened in June.
I’m grateful for technology that allows me to work from home and stay connected to friends and family.
I’m grateful that we haven’t gotten sick (Astrid’s had two COVID tests but both were negative).
I’m grateful that the people I know who have been infected with COVID-19 have all recovered.
I’m grateful for all the doctors and nurses who have been working under extremely stressful conditions.
I’m grateful for Emily who has put up with my grumpy moods and lack of showering.
I’m grateful I got to spend a few months in Manitoba with my mom before she passed away.
Even though I try to stay positive and be grateful for what I have, it’s hard not to look back and want to reset the clock by a year.
I miss pre-pandemic life.
I miss commuting and spending time in the office with my co-workers.
I miss eating in restaurants (getting takeout or sitting on a freezing patio is not the same).
I miss travelling.
I miss doing things with other people, although it’s been so long it’s hard to remember what those things were.
I miss my mom. She was always a calming influence during stressful situations, and having her around would have made this all so much easier. And she would be thriving right now – she loved being a hermit with a small social bubble and more time to cook and garden.
Work has been hectic and stressful. I’m spending way too much time staring at a screen. I’ve had frequent headaches for the past 3 weeks (which I’ve never experienced before). I’m not getting enough exercise – I’m running less, biking less, and walking less. My daily step count has gone from around 6000 steps per day to under 4000.
I’ve adapted to this new reality, but I’m definitely not thriving. The mental strain is real and I know there are lots of people in worse situations than I am.
As much as I’m looking forward to things returning to normal, I hope there are some lessons and habits that carry on post-pandemic.
- Working from home isn’t all bad. I enjoy the exercise I get from commuting by bike, but when things open back up I plan on splitting my days in the office and at home.
- Less sick days. It’s noticeable that there are less germs going around. I’ve barely had a sore throat all winter (a record for me since Astrid was born), and Astrid has only been mildly sick twice.
- If I do get sick, I’m staying home. This should be a no brainer going forward. I’ve been guilty of being the “hero” who goes into the office with a runny nose and lingering cough. Never again.
- If I’m sick and need to leave the house, I’m wearing a mask. It would have been weird before, but hopefully in the future it’s normal to want to keep your germs to yourself.
- Vaccine acceptance. It is easy to be an anti-vaxxer when the big diseases (like measles, polio, and mumps) are rare and the flu vaccine is only 50% effective (so why bother). But COVID is giving everyone a lesson in herd immunity and the world’s largest vaccine rollout is showcasing to a new generation the importance and safety of vaccines. I’m excited about the new mRNA vaccines and their potential for tackling other diseases.