A year ago today, me and one of my close friends went to the Royal Ontario Museum to check out some of the new special exhibits. It was a pretty busy day with lots of people, and we bought tickets to both the special exhibits and took our time going through, even with the crowds. After the museum we headed to eat at a place neither of us had been to yet. We shared pizza and dessert, and vowed to check out the build your own cannoli stand next time we came. We chatted about how work was going and future plans and movies coming out. We hugged goodbye after dinner and headed to our respective homes.
Ten days later, a state of emergency was declared in Toronto due to COVID-19.
Since then, I have yet to return to one of my jobs. The other was on and off during 2020, and then mostly off, so I applied to another one. I haven’t seen the friend I went with in person since our museum trip because she moved to another city with her fiance this summer. I sent her a reminder that it had been a year today, and we texted about how much things had changed and wondered about when we will get to see each other in person again.
This is not the conversation I expected us to be having at this time when we were hugging goodbye a year ago. Even if she had still moved, which I knew she had been thinking about, I would have visited already. We would have been talking about events we had attended together, new work achievements, new gossip. Hopefully a year from now, that’s the conversation we will be having.
It’s been weird spending a year in a global pandemic. I know everyone’s experience has been different. I’ve been very lucky in a lot of ways, since I haven’t been sick myself and no one in my immediate family or friend group has been sick or passed away. I haven’t had to worry about paying for rent. I don’t live alone. I haven’t seen a lot of people, but I have seen one or two friends in person, and most of my immediate family.
It’s been weird because it feels like so much has changed, but also nothing has changed at all. I have written before about how I have felt kind of stuck and I know I am not the only one. It’s hard to make plans for After Pandemic when nothing can move forward but ALSO when you don’t know how things will be done differently. It both gives me time to think about what I went to do next with my life, and frustration because I don’t know how to accomplish what I want in this environment or when I can or should start doing things. It’s a very strange feeling.
I want 2021 to be better than 2020. Obviously, some of that is out of my control. I can’t control government rules or when the vaccines get delivered to me. But I just want to say, by the end of the year, by a year from now, that I’m going where I want to be going. That I got to see my more of my friends in person. That it was still a strange year, but a better strange year.
So here’s to one year, and here’s to 2021.