One Year Later a Look Back

I’m actually a day late. Yesterday was officially one year from the first day I was home instead of at work. My isolation will last a bit longer. I still have no idea when the Maryland governor will ever move us from phase 1 in vaccinations. At this rate we will still be in phase 1 and everyone else in the country will already be vaccinated. I’m hoping we can get our shots in time to be fully vaccinated to visit family in Kentucky this summer. So, let’s take short look at my pandemic year.

I worked completely from home for a while. It was difficult to fill a day when the majority of my work time was generally working with the public. I took trainings. A lot of trainings. I had one shift of answering customer emails. I had way too many phone calls from the terrible boss. I was constantly stressed because I had a boss who did not follow our CEO’s statement that no one as expecting us to be able to do a full 8 hours of work a day. While others felt comfortable taking mental health breaks I was always on edge and couldn’t relax. A miserable job got even more miserable. We eventually went back to the branch to do curbside pickup. I tried to schedule myself in branch more because I was less stressed there, but the terrible boss wouldn’t let me because she was afraid it wouldn’t look “fair” and she would get in trouble. I was micromanaged. I was no longer allowed to schedule the branch without oversight. I did the schedule and then she looked at it and changed it before it was published. I quit the job in December.

My mental health got to the point that I started therapy for the first time in my life.

While others talked about reading more than they have in years, I couldn’t focus on a book and read a lot less than normal.

While others were baking bread, learning new things, finding new hobbies, and improving themselves I did not improve. I think I got worse.

I did enjoy my daughter being home for a few months but I was sad she was losing the normal college experience. I miss having her at home, but I’m glad she found an apartment close to campus and is living with people her own age. She even has had an in person class both semesters this year.

My son went to work throughout the pandemic. Luckily, he works outside and way from people. He even got a fancy new title and a raise. We did have a scare early on in the pandemic when he got really sick and came home for a few days. It was back when testing as scarce and since it was mostly stomach issues the doctors didn’t think he needed to be tested. We assume it wasn’t Covid, but who knows. It is really scary for your kid to get really sick in the middle of the pandemic. I spent four days sitting on the couch with him, watching TV, and monitoring his health. I will be happy when my kids are vaccinated.

We did travel twice. We went to Kentucky in July. We had an outside, distant dinner with my mother-in-law and then spent a few days with my brother. We went back at Christmas. We tested and isolated before we left and tested again when we got there so w could spend time with my mother-in-law. The kids and I then spent a few days with my brother while my wife stayed with her mom for another couple of weeks. My MIL, my brother, my SIL, my sister, and my niece are all now vaccinated. I really wish I lived in Kentucky right now.

Not a lot changed outside of work and kid stuff. We didn’t really eat out much. Outside of my book club, we didn’t really do social stuff. The only other big change was not going to church on Sunday mornings. My wife was already working from home a couple of times a week. We managed to make it through the entire year with only a couple of exposure scares.

So, looking forward, what am I anticipating once we are vaccinated?

Feeling even safer to go visit family this summer.

My kids getting normal back at school. My daughter will be a senior and my son is starting grad school. I hope they get a normal year.

The possibility of feeling comfortable to go sit at Panera to have coffee and write.

The possibility of seeing friends in person again.

A normal Christmas with the larger gatherings that used to annoy me.

My wife working from the office a few days a week so I can work around the house without disturbing her.

An actual vacation with a stay in a hotel.

Going to a football game.

Doing all of this without feeling like someone is judging me for not being safe enough.

Finally, I never want to hear the words “unprecedented” or “new normal” again.


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