I hope you’re well. Saying that has new meaning these days, doesn’t it? It’s such a relief to know that our loved ones are well, and that we are. And how often we have heard of people we know catching the virus in the past year, or have been in contact with it and didn’t catch it. It is such an unpredictable disease. Whole families I know have caught it, while one single person in their midst doesn’t. Or one person gets it, and no one else in the family does. In most of the couples I know, if one got it, the other didn’t. And who gets it and who doesn’t seem to be entirely unpredictable. And we all have to be careful.
And I think most or all of us feel that we have lived with constant anxiety for the past year, worrying about getting it, getting tested, waiting for results, worrying about jobs, losing loved ones, or salaries, and constantly guarding ourselves with masks, and gel and distance. Every time you feel an ordinary twinge, have a headache or a runny nose, you think “OMG, do I have it?” I’ve had a few nights myself when I convinced myself I was sick and was terrified, only to feel foolish in the morning when I was fine. I’ve had some long anxious nights myself, or lonely ones away from my family, and our fears inflate like balloons at night. So many people I know have complained that they’re not sleeping well. How can we, with the anxiety we cope with every day, while still trying to lead normal lives, and sacrifice ourselves to keep our loved ones safe if they are particularly vulnerable. No one knows who will catch it and who won’t, why some catch it and others don’t. Our social lives have suffered (and are a thing of the past for most of us), in Europe we’ve had no restaurants in France for nearly six months, with no idea when they will open again. We’ve lived with 6pm curfews, or total lockdowns, for five months out of the last thirteen. It takes a lot of fortitude to come through all that unaffected. And young people and old people are the most sequestered and are battling depression, relationships are impacted, kids aren’t in school and get on their parents’ nerves and are missing their friends. We have been running a marathon of stress for the past year. Personally, I miss seeing people freely, and going to a restaurant for a relaxed meal with friends. Wow, wouldn’t that be a nice change!!! I’ve seen more of the inside of my apartment than I want to see for a long time. Some days it’s okay, and some days it’s not. And that’s hard to predict too. I lost twelve pounds in the first 3-month confinement, others have gained. And now, in many places, it’s a struggle to get the vaccine. And which one do you get? Will there be a reaction? How bad? Stress, stress, stress, stress.
I was speaking to someone the other day who was complaining that we have lost a year out of our lives, that it was ‘stolen’ from us. And perhaps it was. And I know blessings from it too, parents who have come to know their children as they never did before, bonds that have formed, relationships that have flourished, while others have ended in divorce. Some people have gotten married, and babies have been born. Good things have happened too, but the noisier things are louder.
I don’t like the ‘stolen from us’ theories. We haven’t been robbed. And although on the surface we can easily see the losses, but there were beautiful things that emerged too, for each of us. If you are reading this, you are probably healthy. I think we need to take this year and use it well, use it like balm on the wounds we suffered, turn it to good use, treat it as a learning resource, sift out the precious moments, like gold in a pan. Because there have been precious moments and good times. We have to hold those moments high, like a banner to wave to encourage others.
The year wasn’t stolen, we still have it in our memory bank and always will. I would like to view it as a valuable learning experience, a historical moment, a gift of some kind, a valuable lesson, and a blessing that first appeared to be a punishment, but then the winners emerged. We have been part of history, we have proven theories, we are still standing, which is a victory in itself. Personally, I have written almost incessantly all year. No one stole my year, it is here in my memory box, it wasn’t easy, but that makes the victory all the more impressive. You should get a stripe on your clothes, epaulets, a badge, a medal, a symbol to show that you were there, we all were, whatever country you were in.
I salute you all. Thank you for being there, for sharing the experience, for the kindnesses you did, for the gestures you made toward others, for the respect we showed each other, thank you for being part of this year. I stand proudly beside you. We did it, we made it, we’re still struggling, but we will come through it in the end.
Have a great week!!!