Today I am linking up with The Queen's Chronicles to answer ten questions about my experience during the year of the pandemic. Truth be told; it wasn't a great year, but we weathered it, and, maybe we are all better for it? I don't know; jury's still out.
Anyhoodle, on to the questions!
What was life like in early 2020?
I had just started a new, highly challenging job. The learning curve was brutal; I was swallowing new information at the rate of water from a fire hose every single day, and, my emotions were all over the place. It was not an ideal time for the world to suddenly go cray. Not that there is ever a good time for the world to go cray, but, you get me.
What was the biggest change?
Obviously, the change in employment; the job wasn't just new, the entire industry was new to me, and, the challenges of the pandemic were new to the industry, so, it was every man for himself when it came to navigating the New World Order.
Because my industry was deemed essential; there was no period of time when I was able to work from home (other than the odd day here or there), so I didn't ever have the forced isolation that a lot of other people had. I also didn't have kids in school, so I never had to navigate that particular challenge (I'm grateful for that; I don't know how parents did it).
What were your coping mechanisms?
Alcohol and food; I'm not too proud to admit it and, somehow, I don't think I was alone.
What did connection in your relationships look like?
Luckily, we were able to continue to spend time with the kids; the Man-Cub got shipped home from college early and Queen B was just down the road in Neighboring City. Unfortunately, Mom was in lockdown for the first couple of months, and I worried about what the isolation was doing to her; she made the choice to break quarantine early in the summer to come stay with us and I believe that was the best decision she could have made for both her mental and emotional well-being (it was good for us, too). The Girls and I utilized Zoom for Virtual Cocktail Hour as frequently as possible, and, while it didn't come anywhere near close to replacing our annual Girls Weekend, it at least softened the blow.
What will you remember most?
The sheer frustration of not being able to navigate life the way that we, as Americans, are used to. Does that make us a spoiled, enabled bunch of brats? Possibly. Did it cement my appreciation for the freedoms that we are afforded? Absolutely. Aside from the frustration, I will remember the way that our community came together to support our small businesses and restaurants. I did more shopping locally than I had done previously and, as a result, discovered new favorite places to eat and shop. I'll also remember how well businesses adapted to the restrictions that they were suddenly faced with; take-out, curbside delivery, Door Dash; lots of adaptations that aren't going away anytime soon.
What was the biggest challenge?
Honestly? Not having a complete mental and emotional breakdown. There were days that I truly questioned my sanity and wondered what I could do to just disappear. I was in a very dark and unknown place. I realize now that a lot of my issues had to do with the roller coaster that my hormones were riding, but, at the time I really did think I was losing it. Thankfully, I had Kristi (one half of The Lesbians and one hell of a good therapist) to talk me through several of my worst episodes; I don't think I would have made it without her counsel.
What was a beautiful memory?
Yellow butterflies. Seriously, on days that I left New Job completely and totally worn out, discouraged, depressed, anxious, and broken; a yellow butterfly would appear and I would get an overwhelming feeling of peace. Yellow butterflies aren't common in our area, but they were amazingly abundant this past summer and I will be forever grateful to God for sending them.
What do you believe now that you didn't a year ago?
Our government is actually far more corrupt than I ever imagined or believed.
What would you do differently?
Honestly, I doubt I would have taken the new job if I'd known what the year would look like. Instead, I would have stayed at Day Job and enjoyed "working" from home for the next twelve months. After all, I didn't leave that job because I disliked my work, I left it because the culture of the office was incredibly toxic; a year-long break from it could have salvaged my desire to stay. Ok, probably not, but now we'll never know.
What will you carry forward?
The knowledge that I am stronger than I knew I was; New Job tested me in every conceivable way and I am still standing. I'll also never forget who supported me when I was at my lowest, or, who should have and didn't; knowing who has your back is important.
What I don't intend to carry forward are the thirty-or-so pounds that I gained during the nightmare of 2020; those assholes are getting dumped ASAP.