Roughly one year ago, Covid 19 managed to turn the world as I knew it upside down. I remember picking up my grandson at his daycare, which like almost everything else in my area, was temporarily closing. “See you in two weeks,” his teacher told us as she waved goodbye. And I’m embarrassed to say that I mostly believed her. I had no idea just how badly this virus and its restrictions would impact us, or for how long.
It’s been a long twelve months, and in many ways I’m not the same person I was a year ago. Never again will I just assume that I can buy what I need, when I need it, or take being able to spend time with my friends and family for granted. I think I’ll always be a little uncomfortable in a crowded room, wondering just what sort of germs I’m being exposed to, and I will probably keep my trusty little bottle of hand sanitizer stashed in my purse from now on. As for toilet paper, my new mantra is “you can’t have too much of a good thing.”
But I think the changes go deeper than that. Living through such a traumatic year (my family also faced some difficulties that had nothing to do with Covid) has taught me a lot about myself, and I think growing in self-awareness is always a good thing. I learned that I had the ability to be patient, even when I yearned for quick answers and even quicker action. And while I’ve never been what could be called the “outdoorsy type,” I learned that the more time I spend outside, the calmer and happier I become. Nature truly is a great healer, for both the body and the soul. I also figured out that one way to cope with uncertain times is to get busy working on the things I do have control over, even something as mundane as painting the guest bedroom.
I may be a natural introvert who craves some alone time each and every day, but now I also know how desperately I need to stay connected to other people. Talking with friends and family reminds me that I don’t have to face problems alone, and there is both strength and comfort in that. That old saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved” is absolutely correct, and a reminder of just how important it is to support each other in our times of need. And in the face of so much negativity, conflicting “facts” and general fear-mongering, I’ve learned the importance of thinking for myself, doing research when necessary, and trusting in good old-fashioned common sense as much as possible.
So no, I’m not exactly the same person I was twelve months ago, but that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay, because the lessons I’ve learned from the past year have left me better equipped to face the future with hope and confidence. And for that, I’ll always be grateful.