A look back at my March 2021 calendar finds I did things I like to do during the past four weeks — writing events, walking, an art class, food shopping, and cooking. Notably different: all except walking and cooking took place online or through online ordering. That’s something we’ve all gotten used to in the past year, after a March that can’t compare to any other.
My goals for March 2020 centered around trying new things and enjoying old favorites. In February 2020, when I wrote my list, I had read about a new virus in China, worried American scientists, the lockdown in a far-away land. Still, it seemed like 2020 would be like any other year.
Until it wasn’t.
A handwritten journal from March 15, 2020:
“The COVID-19 pandemic is 2+ weeks old. We’re starting our two-week isolation. We’re only supposed to go out if necessary, not in groups. Everything is canceled. I started stocking up about 2 weeks ago. I’m glad it’s being taken seriously here now. It hasn’t been since it showed up in Washington state. Hopefully, the 2-week closure, cancellation, and isolation will do the job.”
In the back of my mind, I knew better from everything I had read through February, but hope is a nice thing to have.
The latter half of March 2020 felt a year long — time eternal as I muddled through scientific literature, uninformative (to say the least) federal press conferences, newspaper articles, and unsuccessful in-person then online searches for toilet paper (the one thing I didn’t think to stock up before the lockdown).
I know a year passing by officially can’t be a sudden event, but the parade of similar days became months and then a year in an optical illusion resembling the blink of an eye.
It’s good that I wrote something down about it often because there’s no way I’d remember what happened when and just how unsettling a time it was and has been.
It’s been 100 years and it’s been a day. Time is strange. Shock is discombobulating. We are living through a pandemic. I still sometimes shake my head at that reality, especially since my hyper-focus on understanding and being prepared settled months ago into this is just the way it is, for who knows how long.
I get my second vaccine dose in a couple weeks. Of course I wrote about getting my first a couple weeks ago, though I doubt I’d ever forget the feeling of sitting in the pharmacy and getting my shot. This is really going to end, a thought I didn’t fully believe until that moment. I certainly didn’t even entertain it in March 2020 — the unknowns, overwhelming, and every day filled with new facts, guidelines, fears, puzzle pieces put in place revealing unpleasant realities and uncertainties.
We’re so much closer than we were. We can see the finish line. If we hold on, hang in there a little longer…
I don’t need to write anything to remember the hundreds of thousands who didn’t make it to these brighter days or those who did by living through and getting by however they could.
There are some things you just can’t forget.
What will next March bring? We’ll all find out in the apparent millisecond it will take to get there. No sense wondering what’s ahead. Thanks to COVID, more than ever before I stay in the now. And now, it’s almost over.