In 6 months, it will be 2022. Did 2021 even happen? I’m still processing 2020.
About a year ago today, I packed up my office in New Hampshire. I had only been there a handful of times since we were sent to work from home in March 2020. The whole building was quiet and our small office was dark. I had been laid off and it was my last day. There were no goodbye cards, hugs, or parties. I cried before I went to the office, I sniffled when throwing my stuff into boxes and distributing some of my stuff onto my empty coworker’s desks, and I cried when I get home.
In just a few short months following that, I moved to New Jersey and got a new job. Then, all of a sudden, we were celebrating the New Year. We thought that maybe 2021 would bring hope, would bring an end to COVID. It was my first taste of normal, along with being back in the office full time, but it still had this looming cloud. In the office, we wore masks. When out with friends, we made sure not to touch each other, not to share drinks.
I was vaccinated in March of 2021. This was truly when I thought things might start to get better. And they have, there are no more mask mandates in my area. And despite wearing them for a few weeks after the mandate was lifted, I now go to the gym, my office, without a mask.
But will things ever truly be normal? The time we lost to the pandemic is still being mourned along with the people we’ve lost. And I’m still scared – scared of getting sick, of getting people I love sick, of going back into a lockdown when I know so many people couldn’t mentally take it.
I haven’t hugged my grandparents since December 2020. Even though I’ve seen them many times, I’m so afraid to touch them. I’m afraid of the past and I’m kind of afraid to move on. We lost so much to the pandemic, I’m working hard to gain it back, but I don’t think I’ll ever be the person I was before.