Friday, May 01, 2020
Yesterday, I had a conversation with the landlord. We had started discussions about renewing the lease on the townhome that I call home back in February of this year; as I think back to February of this year, all I can think of is, "That feels like a million years ago".
Back in February, I was struggling to get better from my 51 day whatever I got (I personally think it might have been COVID-19, but I may never know, because at this point, even if I could get an antibody test, there's a good chance the antibodies are gone from my system). I never thought I'd be working from home so long I needed to buy lumbar supports for my dining room chairs. I never thought I'd see doctors and dentists closing to only emergency needs, restaurants close to dine-in seating reverting to Door Dash or Grub Hub or closing all together, or, in America's highly consumerist culture, stores shutter their doors and direct consumers to their online fronts. I never thought it would take hours to go grocery shopping (because up until a week ago, my sibling couldn't even get a slot for grocery delivery - they were booked solid), from suiting up with your homemade mask (which I now have a wardrobe of), to carefully navigating the store, to bare shelves where toilet paper, flour and dried beans (DRIED BEANS!) used to be, to taking all these items home and wiping them down to ensure that some a-hole didn't lick your tomato.
This whole scenario sounds like something my grandmother would relay about the Great Depression or WWII - and yet, when she has mentioned it, even she says she's never seen anything like what's going on right now. (Which is obvious, as the last pandemic was well before she was born, but you get the meaning.)
I am hugely fortunate. I still have a job. I can work from home, so I actually haven't left the house since...April 18th? (I'm obviously not including runs and walks in that figure, I'm meaning solely driving the car to go somewhere.) My income isn't affected; I could use my stimulus check for my local economy, not for bills and necessities. I actually get along really well with my sibling, so I haven't experienced the strain that others have with being around loved ones so much. (Most of my strain came early on in this process, when it was triggering me, reminding me of my Quarantined Teenaged Homeschool Life.) I am wearing jeans every single day, as if I was back in the office, and, they still fit. I can go outside on a walk or run for my exercise, as I adore running.
And yet, it's still hard to come to grips with the way things are, especially with different states and governors talking about opening things up again. On one hand, I'm eager to get out of the house and go back to the office. I want to go to a coffee shop and enjoy myself. I want to leisurely grocery shop. I want to meet my friends and give them a hug. I want my life to go back to normal.
But also, I don't want us to open up too early. I don't want to be worried about catching this (again?) and putting my loved ones in danger. I also rather like how this has caused a significant drop in pollution - something that we've been needing to address (with the fervor of the pandemic), but have been avoiding.
Mostly though, I know there will not be a "normal" again. Normal will change. None of us know exactly what it looks like, but it's like the changes that happened post 9/11 or post 2008-recession. Some have suggested that handshakes will disappear; others may work from home more often. Everyone will hopefully be better at making bread and dalgona coffee :)
On May 2, 2018, I made a choice. I decided that I needed to get healthy. I was about 235 pounds (give or take 2), and my body didn't like it. My heart made thudding noises in my chest. A flight of stairs winded me. My knees ached. I was squeezing into too small of clothes, trying to convince myself I was at most a size 16/18. And I was concerned about my heart, due to my family's history. A friend of mine made a Facebook group to get healthy, and that day I made a promise to myself to get healthy - to drop the weight and never ever ever again regain it.
I never would have predicted that two years later, I would live through a pandemic. I couldn't see at the time the 50 pounds I would end up dropping (over nearly a year), I couldn't see that I maintained that weight loss for a year, I couldn't see anything but the 235 pounds on my body and the years of failures in my past. I'm so glad I didn't give up, that I kept pressing forward. I could easily have resorted to my "old normal", but this journey would be the last one, I promised myself. I would be making a new normal.
These next few months, years, will llikewise not be easy, but when we get to the other side, it will be worth it. It will be worth it to change our habits - some archaic, some harmful, some silly - into something that's better for the wellbeing of society. So while right now, I can't see what the end is, I know that in a few years, when I look back, I will be glad I went through it.