Reflecting on a Year of the Pandemic Lifestyle

It’s a bit cliché to write a reflection on the pandemic year, but I’m going to do it anyway. It’s been a long year, and it’s also been surprising to me how I’ve gotten used to pandemic lockdowns. Like most people, I was very nervous in the beginning, especially because of my mental health concerns. And as 2020 dragged on and all the terrible things that happened, it hit me emotionally like everyone else. But the pandemic lifestyle hasn’t been all bad.

For one thing, I can credit the pandemic for getting me into blogging. I started this blog in 2016 but didn’t do much with it. Then when the pandemic began in March 2020, I suddenly had much more time on my hands. I began blogging to process things and then, over time, it morphed into a blogging habit.

I should also mention that social distancing and staying home didn’t change my lifestyle too much. Prior to the pandemic, I had a mental health breakdown and had been spending a lot of time alone and inside anyway. If anything, the lockdowns eased some of the pressure I felt to “get out there” in the hustle and bustle with everyone else. Suddenly, it felt like everyone was in the same boat with me: a little depressed and stuck at home.

I never got sucked into conspiracy theories or felt the pandemic was a hoax, but it was also weird in the beginning because of the feeling that it was happening out there, but not to me. By now, I’ve known plenty of people who have gotten COVID-19, though I haven’t lost anyone (thank God). But the nature of the pandemic as a sort of “invisible killer” still strikes me sometimes. I don’t work in health care or a type of industry where I’m exposed to severe pandemic effects. So, the coronavirus still feels to me like an invisible threat that, while I believe is there, manifests itself in a sort of free-floating fear and anxiety.

Dealing with this uncertainty has been difficult, as I’m sure everyone knows. But what affected me most in 2020 was more so the political and societal turmoil, such as the riots in the cities, the killings of innocent people displayed in the news, the tumultuous election, and the endless negative news cycle that usually centered around President Trump. Now, with Trump out of office, I’ve felt more mental and emotional peace, and it’s amazing to me how much chronic stress and overthinking that would-be dictator was causing me (like many others).

Brighter future ahead?

Now, a year later, my viewpoint is much brighter. We have a president who seems to know what he’s doing and doesn’t spend endless amounts of time insulting people. More and more people are getting vaccinated (Rachel and my grandfather just got their second shots). And generally, the mood of most people I know has improved.

It’s hard to tell what the future holds, but I believe things are getting better. I’m in no rush to “go back to normal” because normal wasn’t that great to begin with. Eventually, we’ll get to see family and friends again, but I’d rather be safe than sorry and wait until it’s okay to do so.

So, how will we all look back on the pandemic year(s)? I’m not sure. I think it largely depends on personal circumstances and political leanings. One thing is for sure, though, and it’s that I’m happy the worst seems to be behind us and we’re slowly moving toward a future where many of us can go to a baseball game, catch a movie, or generally move around freely without the fear of being infected.

(Cover photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash)

6 thoughts on “Reflecting on a Year of the Pandemic Lifestyle

    1. I know! It feels nice. It also show just how much of everything was Trump’s fault. It felt like not a day went by when he didn’t say something dumb or threatening. He was the worst!

  1. Indeed, Covid was just one of the many things that made 2020 into a wild ride. There were days when I was glad for a slower lifestyle, to absorb the events happening out there. I hope blogging, with its ability to help you process stuff, has also helped with your mental health. Blogging has helped me somewhat with that, but more so has been taking almost-daily walks. That was a habit that came out of lockdown for me, and it’s been a really nice, meditative break in my days. I’m with you about hoping the worst is behind us. As more people get vaccinated, we can hug family and friends again — and go out to do stuff like eat at restaurants and go to movie theaters.

    1. I agree about walking! I didn’t do as much recently because we had a brutal winter here in Philly. But the weather has been nicer lately and I’m getting some exercise again. It’s amazing how much it changes my mood, just getting some movement. And yes, I have hope for the future. It does finally feel to me that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel!

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