Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Year in the Life: How It Changed Us

When Rick and I hit the road for Canada a year ago (March 11, 2020) -- he was to continue on to his trade show in Massachusetts --  we had no idea that our world was about to change. I've been reflecting on this past year often in recent weeks, as I've reviewed the Covid journal I made over the past year (HERE).

In the weeks leading to that trip, we'd heard an increasing number of reports about an illness that had started in China and had hit other countries as well, including Italy and other spots in Europe. There were even cases in the United States. The first reported case in Michigan was March 9. People were talking about how important it was to use hand sanitizer and I had bought Rick a large container to put at his booth. He had strict warnings from me not to shake hands with prospective clients.

He'd called several times to see if the show was canceled. It wasn't, so off we went on a lovely mid-March day. Our plans included a stop for dinner in the Ontario town of Strathroy at a favorite restaurant where, that evening, we would celebrate 24 years together, though our friendship actually began a few years before. Then we'd stop overnight at my friend Suzanne's, where I would stay while Rick was at the show. He'd venture on, do the show, spend time with his brother and pick me up on the way home.

It was all so simple. Our dinner -- the pizza and wine special -- was really quite good. But as Rick said not long ago, "If I'd known it would be our last dinner out together for such a long time, I would have ordered better wine!"

And that is one of the lessons of this past year. Order the good stuff now. Because you never know what might happen.

After we arrived at Suzanne and Jim's, we watched the news on a variety of international stations. The president gave the most sobering, somewhat incoherent and robotic and extremely frightening address we'd ever heard, speaking of closing our borders to Europeans that week. The video footage that followed focused on people with shopping carts full of toilet paper, empty shelves, and people in Italy in hospitals and on ventilators, that country -- and many others -- locked down.

That night while I was blissfully asleep beside him, Rick spent much of the night gasping for breath, not sleeping well. He was remembering that only a week before he'd been on a flight home sitting next to a seminary student who had returned from Italy to escape what was now called a pandemic and was headed home to Michigan. The next morning he took off, leaving me behind as we planned.

While on the road, he learned that the show was canceled as of that morning. After an overnight in upstate New York (and tracking down his seatmate, learning he had no symptoms), Rick returned home, leaving me in London with Suzanne -- just in case. (If he had heard "no symptoms" today, he would still be freaked out and so would I, for at least two weeks.) Lesson learned: Covid has an incubation period and you can spread it while being asymptomatic.   

During those days, I remember great concern for Rick, even as Suzanne and I hit grocery stores in an impossible quest to find chicken, while noting toilet paper-filled carts and long lines at Costco and other spots we went. Flour and yeast were in short supply, too. Of course, at that point, no one was wearing masks. We hit used bookstores, some of which already had sanitizing operations in place. We had one last dinner out -- and were practically the only diners in a very large dining room. (That was my last dinner inside a restaurant to this day.) None of us had masks yet.

She brought me home two days before the border closed. 

I don't think either Rick or I realized how significantly our lives had changed in those days, not just for a short period but for far longer. His breathing, he learned, was anxiety attacks. But while those eased, the anxiety we both felt kept getting worse and worse.

I began chronicling things in my Covid Journal (you can see it in more detail here.)  A combination of narrative and paintings, it told our our story and noted how things changed. Events were canceled.

We did shopping online and sanitized our groceries. After one last doc appointment, for months the appointments were by telephone.

We wore masks. Friends made them and sent them to us. We didn't leave home without them. We still don't and despite restrictions being eased, I don't see being without a mask at hand for an indefinite period of time. (I learned a lot about how masks worn by all will protect all and why not doing so is discourteous to others and way more about viral load than I ever thought I'd be interested in.

And, because Rick did go out where I didn't, we kept distance between us. We did that till just a week ago, when both our vaccines had fully kicked in, although in public we will wear masks for a long time.  

For weeks, maybe even months, Lizzie was the only living thing that I touched.  

We weren't alone.  We didn't see friends for months, opting instead for Zoom happy hours. We longed to see the Toddler Twosome and at long last -- at very long last -- we have. Carefully.

Everyone we knew was in the same boat -- canceling classes, parties, trips abroad. I had planned to go to England; Rick missed his annual cycle ride into  Canada. We were baking a lot, taking walks, streaming video. I finished my family history book, did a lot of painting, and even managed to lose fifteen pounds. We were hanging on.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of chaos in our country even if we'd never heard of Covid. Police shootings and senseless murders brought the Black Lives Matter movement back to the forefront, Covid-deniers and conspiracy theorists were running rampant, protesters stormed our Michigan capitol and others, and our governor narrowly avoided a kidnapping attempt. Then there was the most ridiculous and important presidential election we have ever faced.

In these months I've learned something. Maybe I knew it before but never really had to put it into such practice. People will either learn to live with the changes for the better good, even if they have restrictions or deny them and go about as usual and taking their chances. The latter was not an option for us. I'm too high risk and Rick is far too caring to play roulette with his health or with mine. So, we adapted.

We put on our masks, we kept our distance. If we saw people (as we did when summer came along and we could be outside) we wore our masks, kept distance and swapped hugs for fist or elbow bumps. We put Cork Poppers on hold, did meetings by Zoom and only saw the toddlers once or twice, including an exceptionally warm day in early November.  

I have learned to treasure quiet moments together. Any moments together. Every moment together. I learned that it didn't matter if people thought being so careful was over the top -- I was worth protecting. So was Rick. 

I learned how to be creative with cooking, especially near the end of the grocery run. And, I learned how to handle my hair. I'm not saying I handle it well, but at least I handle it better than I did back in the summer.

We just moved forward and so did the life around us. Neighbors moved, new ones arrived. I've been without a dishwasher for about a year. I view dishwashing as extended handwashing. I regenerated scallions on the window sill. In many ways, we didn't just cope. We thrived. Not that it wasn't frustrating -- but the options weren't really options for us.

I've always been pretty good at being self-contained. We only children learn at an early age how to entertain ourselves and that's a lesson put into great effect in the past year.

We summered at the lake, spending more time together 24/7 than Rick and I have in the past now-25 years.  

We celebrated birthdays.

And we turned regular days into celebrations. Because we were here and alive. That's a valuable lesson, too.

We missed big occasions in person but did our best to be part of them in whatever way possible, like watching the Zoom version of our cousin Heather's wedding. I learned how to Zoom this year, too!

And life went on. I paid off my mortgage and was able to celebrate with dear friends. Although I didn't do my annual art sale, my sales (thanks to some of you) were better than ever this year.

I have learned about different vaccines, the differences in masks, the best ways to breathe and control breathing, which side to lay on (your stomach, preferably) and have been talked off the ledge more than once by my doc. I watch daily briefings because things change -- as this process evolves, we have to evolve, too and recognize that what was said when things were new might be different now.  

I'm a pro at sanitizing the groceries. They say we don't really have to do that anymore. Hey, what else am I doing with my time? It doesn't take long -- and it makes me feel better. I sanitized the mail, too. (And that I've stopped doing!)

I think I've always valued the joys of family and friends, but in this past year I've realized how much I enjoy being with them and miss it when we don't have the option. Rick and I became closer; we took care of each other, even though we had to keep somewhat apart.  We have survived and in some ways, thrived. 

While we both sorely miss being able to go to Canada (Rick is hoping to do his bike hike in August -- we'll see if the border is open), and while I look toward 2022 to return to England, we have been reasonably content. With the vaccines, we should have more flexibility, (although I think Rick got pretty bummed out when he realized that just having the vaccine doesn't mean you can toss your mask and hug with abandon and that distance and sanitizing will still be part of the game for awhile, at least for us). 

But we may be able to go to a restaurant more comfortably, hang with the toddlers and see friends more readily in person. I feel very optimistic about the recent Covid relief bill that passed in Congress this week and agree strongly with the go-big-or-go-home plan. I want to see vaccines easily available for all in the world, for businesses to open in full and to resume some sense of normalcy.

But I'm not naive. I don't think we will ever know the "normal" we knew a little over a year ago. And so, we adjust. We go forward. We look out for one another. And I will do my best to be patient. That's another lesson I've learned well this year. And of course, we will try to stay well. 

One warm evening last May, I was walking home from Rick's. We had enjoyed a wonderful dinner on the patio and probably a movie -- I can't remember. It was quite late, very dark, and so quiet I could only hear my footsteps and on occasion, a distant car. Every neighborhood tree or bush that flowered was in full bloom and the fragrance was almost intoxicating. 

And all I could think of, my silent -- or maybe whispered -- prayer was "Please let us be here next spring so I can take this walk again, smell the blooms, hear nothing but footsteps.

That prayer was answered. I hope your were, too.

Has the year changed you? How? What have you missed most or been surprised that you missed it less than you thought? Please share in the comments!

Stay well and safe, my friends.

Sharing with:    Pink Saturday    


Joyful said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post Jeanie. It is clear you and Rick have not only survived but you have thrived. It's all due to your accepting and adaptive nature. I wish that many more would follow suit. I think we are getting very close to many restrictions being lifted in Canada but before that happens there is now a big push for the vaccinations. I'm still a ways away from one but I believe it will be sooner than I first thought.

Lynne said...

Once again, as I was reading your post,
I was caught up in my own life and the
“where and what” in my/our 2020 life experience.
Calling it “covid time” didn’t seem to happen
then for me, more so now as I look back.
I too experienced many of the nuances that rang true for you.
We found a ride in “our”car . . . a safe place,
for we were together and we found sights and sounds
and things once commonplace, now seeming like rewards.
That continued until Jack’s December accident and then
changed our life completely.

And now I am the driver
instead of him. Our “safe place” has changed . . .
Now, being home, finding our each/own “likings”
continue to unfold daily.
I read less, write more.
I listen, watch, look at the birds, squirrels more
and my “Mister Irish” has joined me in that joy.
Discovering something new together has been really simple, good, nice.
Learning how life goes on, when it also seems bleak,
has taught me more about being resilient.
And then on some days i simple get stuck in the “bleak.”
My creative days had vanished, now they are flourishing once again.

Rambling . . . I fell asleep early, awakened, and found a blog entry from you.
Thank you for your staying honest and true through these days.
You have been refreshing, through the change and bleak.
Thank you for bringing “it’s a wonderful world” to my days.

Barbara said...

I was really interested to read your account of
your covid year since it was significantly
different to ours. Here in Australia we didn't
have the political mess you had and were able
to get reasonable control of the situation
fairly early. The state I live in - South
Australia - suffered far less than the
neighbouring state of Victoria (where my
inlaws live) for example. Partly luck
(small population, only a few major outbreaks)
and partly good management and people doing
the right thing. We had one fairly long
lockdown and one short one. Like you we put
our lives on hold (cancelling a lengthy trip
to France and Italy). The international
borders are not predicted to open again
until 2022 so I've pretty much accepted
that we probably won't go overseas again for
various reasons. That was probably the biggest
wrench for me since travelling had been a
major part of my life for the past 40 years.
But we have been so lucky otherwise and
appreciate that every day.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Love the first "reflection" photo, and it has been the strangest and most frightening year for everyone {except, of course, the naysayers and those who don't believe Covid exists}. It still is. I enjoyed reading your record, as I don't journal I now find myself regretting not having taken it up. I guess I don't have any particular landmarks in my rather boring life to record. My hair was last cut a year ago this week! The most frightening thing now is that I know of someone who has had both of her vaccines and just last week tested positive for Covid 19! Where will it all end? Keep on social distancing and wearing masks! It's Hands, Space, Face for the foreseeable future.
Waving~~~Deb in Wildly Windy Wales!

Iris Flavia said...

Yes, take good, always, don´t wait!
And yes, all the tests they offer now are rather useless considering the incubation. Just a way to make more money...
Your journal, if I can say so, is beautiful, as beautiful as it can in this craziness! Great sweet Lizzie at least was with you.
Yes, we learned some lessons, great summary.
To the new normal soon...

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,
Looking back, what a year! I believe Covid is winding down, more people will get the vaccine.
I have high hopes things will be normal, we can travel, eat out and meet with our friends and families. We are hanging in there, until it is safe. Take care and enjoy your day!

David M. Gascoigne, said...

A lovely piece, Jeannie. We have been very careful too, although in all honesty not quite as diligent as you, and yes we have learned through all of this that if we are willing to permit the good side of humanity to rise up we can all do well. Most of all, I miss the chance to travel. I have been doing that for my entire adult life, and in April it will be two years since I went anywhere. Miriam and I have two (maybe three) trips together planned, and I have a solo visit to Australia in the works, but when any of them will be possible is anyone's guess. As we all get vaccinated that will, I hope, add some clarity to the situation. In the meantime we will wear our masks and do the best we can. Last evening for dinner I fixed a mushroom lemon chicken dish we enjoy, with rice and a Greek salad, accompanied by a bottle of Chilean Casillero del Diablo, so if that's suffering under COVID I am willing to suffer a little longer.

Laurie said...

You brought tears to my eyes,, always use the best because you just never know,,,,,, wise words for sure.

Anca said...

You've made an interesting review of the year. Nobody expected it will be so disruptive last year.

I have to admit I don't understand why people are eager not to wear masks. I will wear them in supermarkets and in different other places, like trains. Why shouldn't I? It's not like there is only one kind of virus.

William Kendall said...

Very well said.

The last time I had a sit down meal in a restaurant was Pancake Tuesday of 2020. I have done takeout from restaurants since then.

Martha said...

Beautiful post Jeanie! This past year sure has been a year like no other. I laughed when you mentioned the scallions, I now have some in my window still too. You have done such a fantastic job of documenting the journey. Be safe, be well!

Marie Rayner said...

What a wonderfully poignant and beautiful post Jeanie. This universal experience has certainly changed all of our lives forever! I don't think things will ever go back to the way they were before it all started, but hopefully we will all have grown and bcome better people because of it. You have articulated all that I felt through this pandemic so very beautifully. This has been an extremely distressing 12 months for me with the additional challenges I have had to face, but I am here and I am alive, and looking forward to a brighter future. Love and hugs, xoxo

La Table De Nana said...

I think it's great you have kept a journal w/ everything you felt and lived in it.
I have so many things to say..but it's your blog lol:)

Take Americans you are far ahead of us vaccine things will be brighter sooner than later Jeanie♥

My name is Erika. said...

I love seeing all these journal pages. It has been quite a year, hasn't it? Patience is surely a trait we've had to try to deal with. Like you I can entertain myself and although I haven't minded be home, in fact in some ways I've loved it, there are things I've missed. I write that knowing that is true for you and so many other people. But your first lesson is a big one: order the good stuff now because you never know what might happen. I like that, and not just when it comes to food either, right? Thanks for this look back Jeanie and I always appreciate your kind wisdom. Hugs-Erika

The French Hutch said...

Absolutely order the good wine Rick! We aren't promised tomorrow. I am like you and so thankful for having make it through the long year without getting Covid. I'm so happy you and Rick remained safe and now have your vaccine. Like you I will be wearing a mask for awhile. Hoping numbers continue to decline and not the same story in the fall. Time will tell. Thankful to see spring bursting forth here and you will too. I pray we never have another year like this past one........

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

If you had known the year we all had coming you would have ordered better wine that last dinner together. Wow, I think we can all relate to that and everything else you so elegantly wrote about in this beautiful post. A brilliant job, Jeanie.

As you were writing about Rick's panic attack I realized that I had one a few days ago. I hadn't had one in since the 1980s so I didn't recognize it. I feel better having a label to put on it now.

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Jeanie, this is a beautiful post and one day, your Covid journal will be so special to those you love and who love you. We have all learned many valuable lessons and especially how very precious life is. Our Covid vaccines are not the end of this madness, but they will enable us to move about a little more with some sense of security. Our 'mask friend' will be with us for quite some time and that is ok, I have become fond of him.

Wishing you lovely spring days and a little more freedom.

shoreacres said...

My experience of the past year has been quite different from yours, but despite it all, you certainly have thrived. I'm not a journal keeper, but I certainly admire yours!

Today, things are changing here. Most of the people I socialize with have been fully vaccinated,, and apart from discussions about how to snag a vaccine appointment, I rarely hear anyone talking about Covid.

Despite the terrible things said about our governor and our state, the elimination of our mask mandate seems to have led to no change at all. People aren't ripping them off -- instead, the ability to choose where and when to wear them seems to have eliminated a lot of resentment. I don't wear one at work -- but my work companions are mallards and herons, so there's no problem there! At the grocery store last night, everyone was wearing one, but when I got together last weekend with friends for dinner, there was no need for masks; we all were fully vaccinated, and perfectly comfortable to be with one another. Life is feeling pretty darned normal.

Now -- we'll see how the hordes of spring breakers behave!

Jacqui Brown said...

You two have been together the same number of years as us, and as Adrian works away from home, this last twelve months is the very first year we have ever spent together under the same roof, every night. Weird but wonderful and we appreciate the time it has given us so much. Here's to a better twelve months to come, but I agree, returning to the old normal isn't likely!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

This is a beautiful reflection! One thing I learned early on was that work provided essential social interaction that I missed when we started to work from home. I am a major introvert and kind of hated having plans after having kids. But last summer I craved contact! So I went on lots of walks outdoors with friends as that was the only safe way to fulfill that need for ‘contact’. I also learned how people are susceptible to misinformation and how hard that can be on relationships. Lastly, I learned that I really enjoy working from home and hope to do it on a part-time basis after our office reopens.

The last year was a scary one for me. I’m high risk, too, as you know and add in pregnancy and it’s a perfect storm for anxiety. Then add in conflict with family and it makes for a miserable state of life. I got through it thanks to walks, therapy and support from Phil and understanding friends who could relate to what I was going through. I feel a sense of hope and relief now though as I got my first vaccine dose yesterday and will have my 2nd at the end of March!!! There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel. I agree that we won’t go back to normal but I know the extreme isolation will end and I very much look forward to that!!

Divers and Sundry said...

This was a fascinating look back. I may never go back to grocery shopping without a mask, but I look forward to being able to eat safely in restaurants and going back to museums. I had my first vaccination shot yesterday, and my second is scheduled. Soon, perhaps, soon we'll be able to be more free in our comings and goings.

Ricki Treleaven said...

I love your idea of a COVID journal because it's important to keep a record of history, especially family history and how the pandemic has directly impacted our families! Your Covid Journal post is lovely! I'm going to show it to my girls. I'm going to encourage them to maybe take the time and write down thoughts and how it impacted them.

I love it when prayers are answered, and you can see God's mighty hand at work. What a blessing!

I did make notes in my prayer journal/Bible study last year, and maybe I should go through and pull some of my thoughts and put them in another notebook or journal. Great idea, Jeanie!

In answer to your question: I have missed church most (in-person worship). It has made me very sad. I have missed travel like everyone else. But one thing I do love (at least here) is curbside pick-up. I am literally saving a fortune on everything! I do not like supporting big box stores, so I buy local. I can get everything curbside: no more impulse buying in the grocery store (I'm legitimately losing weight), and that goes for other stores, too...buying what's needed! You can call me Ms. Moneybags now, LOL!

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Your words make the last year feel like an adventure in a life time.

gigi-hawaii said...

Love that photo of Rick next to the fireplace. Wish I had one. LOL.
As for the Covid, we are thankful that we have never had it and with the vaccines, hope never to get it. Stay upbeat and cheerful. It is the only way to be.

Joanne Huffman said...

A beautiful and significant review of this past year. It will never be the same (nor she we go back to the ignorant abandon we lived with); but. it will be good again.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

First, I'm delighted to read that you are vaccinated and now safe. I read your tale as I also considered how my life has changed this year. I don't go anywhere, I don't do anything, and I don't Zoom anyone. But I talk to my friend Scott who shops for me, and I STILL wear a mask and disposable gloves when I get my mail out of my mailbox, which I sanitize still.

I'm so glad you have Rick. I know he's a life saver for you. I'm so glad you shared your continuing story of the pandemic. I applaud you for your continuing the message and your always complete honesty during these times. I look forward to the day I can be inoculated, too.

DUTA said...

The mask has been a revelation for me. Since wearing it I got no cold, no flu, and hopefully, God-willing, I'll get no covid-19 or other nasty virus.

I buy groceries and prepare food; no eating out, no take away as I don't know what's going on in kitchens of restaurants and eateries. Even before corona outbreak I used to try and check kitchens as the workers there are mostly illegal, from third world countries, with no health testing and supervision.

There are things I need to do: visit the optometrist, pedicurist, but I postpone anything that doesn't involve pain / suffering of some kind or things I can try and do myself even though unprofessionally.

Sandra Cox said...

What a beautiful, touching post. Thanks for sharing.
LOVE the pic of you and Lizzie:)

Karen said...

We were just talking about where we were exactly a year ago. Our Miss Kitty had broken a fang and we had to take her for dental surgery. We had to go to a city closer to Ottawa, so we had several hours to hang out and waste time. We popped into the liquor store in a tiny village to pick up some libations. The clerk was telling everyone that the premier was going to speak at 1PM and they fully expected us to go into lockdown. Lots of people were stocking up on their favorite libation in a big rush! We popped into the grocery store across from the vet hospital and stuffed the car with about a month supply of food and sundry groceries.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

I think the lesson for most of us is to enjoy what you have right now. Use your good china if you want - drink the good wine - celebrate because you are alive and well.

Valerie-Jael said...

Interesting look back! So many things have changed! And still no sign of getting a vaccine here! Hugs, Valerie

Victoria Zigler said...

This is a beautiful post.

We've all learned a lot over the past year. I hope some of the lessons stick with us, especially the ones about enjoying what you can right now because you might not get another chance, and making the most of what time you can spend with family and friends. I hope it won't be too much longer before we can return to something that at least resembles what normal used to look like. But I hope we don't forget the things this past year has taught us when that time comes.

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

A lovely reflection of the last year. So many changes. Let's hope we can put this awful Covid behind us and move forward. We received our second Covid shot yesterday.

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, you were so smart to journal the last year. Hubby and I have both had the two shots of vaccine and I have actually gone to the grocery store, still wearing a mask, of course. I need to sit down and get my thoughts together and at least write down the most important things from the past year. You did an excellent job keeping it up.

bobbie said...

Wonderful post, Jeanie!!

Lowcarb team member said...

A wonderful post.
None of us had any idea what 2020 had in store for us, but we have come through it, we have made the adjustment and we move on.
Unfortunately there have been many who haven't been so fortunate and my thoughts and prayers are with all who have lost loved ones, their jobs etc.

On a personal note it is the human touch that I have missed, the closeness of love and laughter with family and friends. With the vaccine I am hopeful that the world will once again become open. At the moment here in England, UK we still have lockdown restrictions ... on a positive note we are still here :)

A wonderful post Jeanie, my good wishes.

All the best Jan

Jenny Woolf said...

A terrific post, Jeanie! And the comments others have left are so interesting too. The main lesson I have seen for myself is that we can't predict the future or control the big things. And, as a result, I think I am more philosophical than I was a year ago, and, like you, more grateful for what I do have.

Sally Wessely said...

This year has changed my perception of what I need to feel connected to others. I learned that while I deeply missed my family and my friends and all the activities and celebrations, I found that not being pulled in many directions was good for me.

I learned I needed to have touchstones during my days, regular activities, a schedule of sorts. This kept me more grounded and less lost in space and time.

I learned to cook again. And to enjoy it. I loved the evening meal prep and cleanup which was not hurried by a need to go somewhere.

I loved the time with my husband. I think it made us closer. We’d never had so much time together. It made me grateful for a good companion.

I learned that Zoom connected me to others in a way that was meaningful and necessary. I would have been so lost without my Zoom groups.

I learned new things. I read. I wrote. I healed from a terrible family dynamic following my mother’s death.

I loved reading your thoughts. You made it with resilience this year. You did thrive. You also blessed us, your readers.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

One eerie thing that happened was in the last week of January. We were leaving to go to Paris. The plane was delayed. When it arrived, and we boarded, it was less than half full. What? The staff told us that it had just come from China and it had to be cleaned more thoroughly than usual.

Pam said...

Tis amazing what can change in the blink of an eye. CRAZY. I was moving items here and there when I first heard of the illness in China, never thinking things would change so fast and it would affect the world like it did. I actually moved the weekend Nashville was shut down. I was not even listening to any of that cause I was so busy that it never dawned on me how bad it all was. Barely got to the store after the fact to get things I needed. Just goes to show, we never know what tomorrow will bring. said...

I have enjoyed reading your journal as well as today's post memories. Focusing on the positive things the past year has brought is appreciating even the smallest moments. I think as a culture we had really forgotten how important simple things like shaking hands and a friendly hug are...also learning to live with less, stretching groceries and being creative with drive by birthdays and Zoom happy hours...I also think that going forward curbside pick up and restaurant delivery will stay in place, which is wonderfully convenient. I just got my first vaccine this week and am looking forward to the relief of being fully vaccinated soon! Live life to the max each day and enjoy is a powerful message, thank you Jeanie.

Sarah said...

Yes, here we are next spring. Glad to be healthy and fully vaccinated. What a strange year!!! Here's to a more normal 2021!

Danielle L Zecher said...

I'm impressed, and envious, of your weight loss. I've gained a lot of weight over the last year.

This whole week has been filled with "this time last year" for me. It was mostly very mundane things, but it was the last time life felt normal, even if we were beginning to hear that COVID might be worse than we thought.

Bohemian said...

First, I J'Adore your Journal and how Creative and Artistic it is, like a Book that could be Published about this Experience! Yes, we've learned so much, done without so much, appreciated things so much more that we all probably took for granted in a pre-pandemic World. None of us could have known the profound changes and the hardships or the very last times we did certain pre-pandemic things we might have savored them all the more. A friend who has survived a close call with a terminal illness told me it's much like the wake-up call she got from that diagnosis... that made her appreciate Life so much more since. She had to isolate and stay germ-free during her treatments, so she said this was like a Global extension of that... and then some. I imagine it was... and now we all have the sense of how fragile our lives really are and that death is always stalking all sentient beings. I have never felt my own Mortality quite as poignantly as I have since the Pandemic. The Death Runs I had to become comfortable doing, for the sake of the Family. Then we just had to adapt and improvise along the way and each learn how to risk assess at a level we felt a Peace about. The Anxiety attacks I didn't expect either, they make you feel like you could be dying!

Jean | said...

Jeanie, this fabulous post has reminded me once again to kick myself in the backside for not journaling through the pandemic. I'm high risk AND high risk for the vaccine, so I have been very isolated and will likely continue to be so longer than most. Fortunately, I have the introvert thing and the only child thing (actually, the last of four, but so far behind the others that it was like being an only child) going for me, but also I've discovered that my disposition makes me quite positive and adaptable, determined to make the best of things. One thing that has helped me is my Be Here Now attitude, not looking back at how it used to be or how it's supposed to be, and not looking ahead to how it will be or could be, just making the best of each day as it is. And low-tech little me was an early adopter (a year ago) of Zoom, which has been a boon.

Anonymous said...

Jeanie, this was beautiful. You are so good putting words and thoughts together and making it so easy for us to take in. I wish I had written a journal but I didn't. I do have the blog which takes on some of the times but your way of journaling is the best way. We get our second shots on Monday, and I am forever greatful. I know that the former thinks he should get some credit for that, but in my opinion it is the scientists and the drug companies who get all the credit and I am so greatful to them also. President Biden has done so much for us in the short time he has been in office. Not only with getting the vaccine out but for his empathy, kindness and understanding that we are all in this together, not for the benefit of just one. I have such mixed feelings about everything. I was so happy to hear what the CDC was saying but then I see it in print and I am afraid that those who don't think that we all share in this might interpret it differently. I feel sorry for those that are afraid of taking the vaccine and hope that there are loved ones in their circles that will talk to them. My fears lie with the ones who continue to believe all the lies that were told and have no concept of the benefits of all the things that need to be waited on. I probably will continue doing what I have been. I never thought I would feel this way a year ago, that I would be so happy to be able to go back to "normal", but I think it will take a long time for me to be comfortable in the world again. Stay well my friend..xxoJudy

R's Rue said...


Pamela said...

What a thoughtful look back on the year. It’s not over yet, but things are looking up. I’m encouraged by President Biden’s leadership and the vaccines, even though I’m on the other side of the world and won’t be eligible to be vaccinated for quite awhile.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful, kind, thoughtful post - just like you, Jeanie! It certainly has been a year of adjustments. One of the first things I did was start sending cards and notes to people in my church (with the guidance of our pastoral care person). Then, I ended up with a couple of "pen pals". One was my first babysitter from when I was a child and living overseas. We've ended up communicating back and forth during this pandemic, sharing what was going on and what we were doing to cope. The other was an old friend who has a close family member suffering from depression (that was made worse by the pandemic). Truly, this has been a time to share the burdens of our hearts. There is a universality to our pandemic experience. We don't have to keep it to ourselves. Hugs to you! said...

Ho fantastic that you recorded all this ~ How interesting it will be 5-10 years from now to re-read and to share with the grand kids. "Order the good stuff" made me smile :)

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