Normally, year in review articles and montages start popping up in December, as we reflect on the events of the past year and prepare for the new one. That is what normally happens, and as we wrapped up 2020, it actually did happen. Now, it’s happening. Again. In March. Because nothing is normal any more.
March normally is dedicated to the arrival of NCAA March Madness and cases of spring fever. 2020 changed all that and so much more. Welcome to The Year In Review: COVID-19 Edition.
Although no reminder was needed, we still were reminded that one year ago this week, for many of us, COVID-19 ushered out any sense normalcy we had enjoyed. Suddenly, this strange, new virus no longer was relegated to a country half way around the world. It was here. In our country. In our states. In our cities. It seemed to be everywhere.
On the morning of March 12, 2020, I received an email at work that explained an associate had tested positive for coronavirus two weeks earlier and that all associates needed to work from home until further notice. I felt an initial wave of panic, as I tried to wrap my brain around what I just read, and then, I went about my business, which was anything but usual.
Even though associates immediately began exiting the building and making their way back home, and my clients were canceling their appointments, I stayed. I worked on various tasks, ate lunch, and clung to what were the last bits of my normal routine. In the early part of the afternoon, I walked through the nearly empty building. It was eerily calm and quiet, and it felt utterly surreal.
When I returned from my walk, my manager sent me a message, You’re not still there, are you? I responded that I was indeed still at the office and that I planned to finish out the day there. Then, my plans changed quickly, as she instructed me to leave now. Right now.
I packed up my laptop and other belongings and prepared to head home to finish out the work day. As I said my good-byes to some of the staff who were gathered in the reception area, one person said, Well, we don’t know when we’ll see you again. I smiled, waved off her comment, and replied, I’ll see you all in a week. Two weeks tops. Famous last words. I haven’t seen them or many other people since then.
So, here we are a year later. I didn’t necessarily want to, or plan on, doing my own version of a year in review. But, again, here we are, and my plans obviously have changed.
While the pandemic has impacted everyone, everyone has not been impacted in the same way. It is for that reason that I am hesitant to share my reflections, as I do not want to detract from anyone else’s experiences or be insensitive to other’s pain. These are merely my own thoughts about the year that has passed. This was the year that. . .
I realized who and what truly mattered to me. Absence made my heart grow fonder in same cases. In other cases, it was out of sight, out of mind.
I had my thoughts, perspectives, and beliefs about racism and social justice challenged in ways I never have. I saw things in our country’s history, the current state of affairs. my community, and myself that continue to sadden, enrage, and humble me. I am still navigating my way through what it means to be anti-racist and how to be part of the solution.
I challenged myself to emerge from 2020 and its aftermath better than I went into it. I prioritized my emotional and physical health and well-being, and I opened my heart and mind to new ways of seeing the world and how I want to show up in it.
I got engaged to the absolute love of my life. In the midst of all of the uncertainty of 2020, one thing was for certain, the love for, and the commitment to, each other and our families. Not even a pandemic could change that!
I accepted that life can, and will, change in all sorts of ways, at any given time. I may not be able to change or control all of life’s circumstances, I do have the choice to change my thoughts, feelings, and actions. Reminding myself of that choice each day is a practice that will continue the rest of my life.
As 2021 continues, I hope that this is the year of afters. After COVID-19. After social injustice. Happily ever after.
That’s another story. . .
Categories: That's Another Story