Every single day is just like the one before. We’ve been social distancing for eight months now. Eight months we’ll never get back, but eight months that we have survived this horrific pandemic, which is more than some.
This pandemic has been a blessing and a curse, just like in Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Several blessings have emerged from this strange time. First, I have learned to concentrate on getting to know myself since I am isolated from other people. My role in life has always been being a helper. I help my friends, sons, husband, family, and students become the best versions of themselves, but that left me very little time to work on myself. This pandemic has changed that.
I have always wanted to learn to paint, but I’ve never had time. I have learned how to create abstract art pieces by pour painting and painting acrylic landscape scenes that I wish I could escape to, like the mountains or a tropical island. I can’t tell you how nice it is to concentrate on creating something beautiful as the world is in chaos. Some of the pieces I’ve made have been worthy of framing, and I just got home from delivering about 20 paintings to my son for his new home. He can determine the ones that look best, and I’ll sell the others.
Since I was in 5th grade, my teachers would always comment on my imagination and creativity in my writing. When I entered high school, I became the editor of my high school paper and wrote all the feature stories because writing just the news bored me to death. Becoming an author of a published book has always been a dream of mine. So, I am currently working on that. I have learned so much in the past months about finding an agent and writing a query letter. I have written four children’s picture books and joined a writing program that helps new authors navigate the murky waters of becoming an author.
I believe there’s no way I would’ve taken the time out to do this if the pandemic didn’t happen. So in that way, it has been a blessing.
Finally, it has been a blessing because of the current political climate. It had become difficult to hold our tongues when in our social circles and with some family members. Having to social distance has saved us from arguments that might not be able to be repaired.
The pandemic has been a nightmare in many ways as well. The obvious way is the constant fear of contracting the disease. The horrific scenes of loved ones on ventilators not being surrounded by their loved ones are haunting. Knowing that I have an immune disorder, and it will probably cause significant damage, is horrifying, but worse than knowing my son with type 1 diabetes would greatly suffer if he tested positive for Covid-19. My parents are also at significant risk because of their age, and that terrifies me too.
Not being able to visit with my folks during their last decade of life is beyond depressing. I have decided this is not acceptable, so I am determined to find a way to make visiting a reality. I couldn’t live with the guilt of giving them the disease, so we have kept our distance, but the time has dragged on too long now for me to sustain the separation. We’ve missed birthday parties and family celebrations, but we can no longer endure that, so a solution to this problem is my next obstacle to overcome.
When I pass restaurants and bars carrying on like usual, it boils my blood because I know that as long Americans are selfish and pretend the virus is over, the longer those of us being responsible will have to hide out in our homes. I’m not sure Americans are up for the challenge. Numerous friends of mine go out regularly, go to casinos, and travel like it isn’t going to affect them. Some have gotten the disease, but the symptoms were mild, so they aren’t worried about it. The feelings of hostility that I feel towards those not taking the virus seriously are real, so it’s good that we have the excuse of social distancing, so I won’t say things I may regret.
Finally, my best friend is moving across the United States away from me and I can’t have a proper goodbye. She has been carrying on like the virus is no longer out there, so I can’t risk exposing myself to her. It’s tough, and I have only one month to figure out how to say goodbye properly. It’s heartbreaking, but I’ve realized that this political and scientific turmoil has taken a toll on some of my friendships, and I wonder if it has revealed what needed to be exposed. It’s genuinely heartbreaking, but some of the values I hold dear are nonnegotiable. For example, I will not be friends with racists, science deniers, or those that tolerate it.
It looks like we’ll be in this battle for another year or so, which is devastating. I guess I’ll focus on one day at a time. I know one thing to be true; we will all be changed when we come out of this. Some changes will be good, and some will be bad but make no mistake: WE WILL ALL BE CHANGED.