It is July and we are still going through restrictions. I realized early on that this pandemic would not go away too soon. But after 5+ months the reality is I have lost a full year of my life at a point of my existence where my time is precious.
I try not to be melodramatic. I lived with parents who went through persecution at the hands of the Ottoman Turks who committed genocide during and after World War I. I wish there was a campaign that “Armenian lives mattered” then. Europeans went through World War II suffering at the hands of the Nazis for over five years. I am complaining that 5 months of standing 6 feet away from anyone and wearing a mask that fogs up my glasses is unbearable.
My parents were young when they went through their ordeal. My father was 16, my mother at 5. They were forced to leave their homes to find a new life in a place they did not know and with nothing. I have been conditioned to remember their plight and should feel lucky that I am still in my comfortable home, not hungry and not sick.
I am one year away from turning 70 and my plans for this year are completely in the toilet. No travel, no concerts, no sports games, no social gatherings. This is the worst experience I’ve ever gone through yet it doesn’t compare to what my parents went through and for a lot longer. I try and be reasonable but truthfully, I’m not.
I feel for the kids who are deprived of the special events of their senior year – no prom, no field trips, no project graduation, no graduation ceremony. Yet they are young and they have their major years of life ahead of them. This will be a piece of conversation in their life like 9/11 was for me.
If I wasn’t 69, I don’t think I would feel like my biological clock was ticking my best years away. I don’t want to be the one who constantly complains when I have more than most. Yet if I was not 69, I would say I had recovery time. I can only hope I remain healthy and outlast this virus.
Some good things:
I have found enjoyment in the new normal. I saved a bunch of money not going out to dinner or traveling. This will only add to my reserve for next year’s budget. I returned to bicycling around the neighborhood and found some beautiful spots to hike. I learned and love playing pickle ball. I’m not daring but this old dog has learned some new tricks.
I have a small group of friends that I have socialized with since the beginning of this pandemic. We do not go inside each other’s homes so they don’t know that I still have some Christmas decorations up. We keep socially distance when we are together. I introduced a game. Before we get together, we submit to one of us a playlist of 5 songs with a theme – five songs from our favorite album, or five songs from our favorite concerts, or five songs with a state or country name, etc. Then we play the list and guess who picked the song. It gets you talking about something other than coronavirus.
Zoom has allowed me to participate in meetings that use to require me to be away from home too long and go on even longer. I have become a germaphobic cleaning shopping carts with antiseptic and washing fruit and vegetables with Dawn dishwashing liquid as soon as I bring them home. I wash my hands while singing Happy Birthday.
It is hard to bring back what life was like before all this. I know I have developed new standards of cleanliness and socialization. There has to be a new normalcy that incorporates the good part of the new along with some of the old. I worry what will happen when November comes and it is too cold to sit outside. I hope restaurants will invest in heating lamps like they did tents.
After their ordeal, my parents found a new normal. They came to America had me and my brother and bought a house. They were not persecuted or had bombs flying above them. They lived a comfortable life.
I expect the rest of 2020 is not what I planned but I hope me and my loved ones will be comfortable and find a new normalcy.