2020 Has Been A Bust
I think we can all agree, 2020 has been a bust. The pandemic has set us back in so many ways and we and our families have experienced a unique and challenging time in history. Overcome with fear, many of us have put life on hold, staying in place and waiting for this virus to pass. While we are suffering a health crisis, and lost so many over the last six months, we have also become even more aware of social injustice, systemic racism and have observed or taken part in uprisings across the country. We have been deeply discouraged and enthusiastically encouraged by what goes on in our government and our cities and this has caused depression, anger, hope and elation… and all the alternating emotions have been exhausting and draining.
In My Neck of the Woods
On top of that, earlier this month Connecticut and neighboring areas experienced category 1 hurricane Isaias, a devastation storm that created a tornado and caused a power outage lasting an extremely long and sweltering 8 days. (I can now see why the oil lasting 8 days during Chanukah is such a miracle! That is a LONG time!) Roads blocked with power lines, wires and trees down everywhere you looked, the physical devastation added a new element of fear and hopelessness along with anger and more stress. Losing all the food in the refrigerator and freezer, stocked full due to the pandemic, no internet or cell service, 100 degree weather, and for those homes on well water, like my parents, no running water to drink, clean with or flush toilets, it was a emotional and physical hardship for so many.
We haven’t been able to live the lives we were expecting and hoping for… but we have endured and made the best of the layered and challenging situation.
Mandatory mask wearing in public, social distancing with strangers and with elderly loved ones, online classes and Zoom get togethers with friends, virtual holidays, bookclubs, reunions, graduations, birthdays, bar/bat mitzvahs and funeral services, working from home, older kids back with the family, Instacart deliveries, virtual doctor appointments, lots of Netflix, Rummy Cube, Backgammon and cooking…this has become the new reality. Now, after the past six months, I have come to terms with it, and at the end of this month I am pressing the RESET button.
Reset – Time To Move Forward
Starting in September, (after my quarantine due to travel in Atlanta is over) I am choosing not to spend time fearing what is to come and worrying about all the what ifs. Working from home is the norm, so my husband and I will have our routine established. We will make plans to see friends in a safe way. My older son is moving back to the city so he will be with his roommates working from their apartment and figuring out how to move forward in their lives as we all must, no matter the circumstances. My younger son is a freshman in college and is living on campus 900 miles away. He will be following the school rules related to the pandemic (and most likely all the rules, he’s my kid!) and will manage to find his way.
This health crisis has taken away opportunity for so many wonderful life experiences we anticipated. There will always be so many things to worry about, creating an emotional rollercoaster, but I will not allow it to take over. Will my family and friends be safe from the virus? They will wear their masks and do their best. Will the increased violence in NYC be happening near my son’s new place? He will be careful and I have no control.
Will my younger son be able to meet people and have any fun in college when everyone is taking classes alone from their individual dorm rooms and wearing masks when they go out? My voice is hoarse from repeating “keep your door open, join virtual clubs, make friends with kids in the dorm so you have people to eat with and answer my texts so I know you are ok.” I sound like a broken record! I probably won’t stop with the advice, but I will stop with the worrying. He never experienced my freshman year in college so he has nothing to compare it to and will be fine. He already is.
My New Normal
I wear my mask when I go to grocery shop and do errands, we visit with friends and family outdoors, keeping a safe distance, and we will be ready for any challenge that comes our way. I ventured out and delivered a car load of crayons and pencils to an organization collecting school supplies for students in Bridgeport, CT last weekend and after staying so close to home and retreating for the past 6 months, it felt really great to be out and about, talk to new people and participate in the world again. I am looking forward to September to press the reset button and get back to life in this new way, always being safe and following the recommended guidelines, but minus the overwhelming fear and worry. Let’s forge ahead!
Books for September
The last few books I have read highlighted how people can suffer, and it brought to light the fact that we all have challenges, no matter what the circumstances, and keeping a positive attitude and taking action is the best solution.
Group by Christie Tate – memoir – A young woman attends group therapy to turn her life around. (Available in Sept.)
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne – fiction – The sorrows and joys over the course of a gay Irishman’s life (Published in 2017 – one of my favorites)
The Unanswered Letter by Faris Cassell – nonfiction – In 1939 a Jew in Germany sends a letter to a family in California pleading for help to get out of the country (Available in Sept.)