The pandemic has made all of us wait. And wait some more. And there’s more waiting to come.
My office is open again. For those who chose to return, they must wear a mask at all times. So now we have Zoom meetings that include people joining from the office in masks. What was already a medium that impaired communications just got more challenging with masked participants. So we wait for the time when we can have unmasked Zoom meetings, or better still face-to-face conversations in the office. Probably months from now. Waiting.
We’ve waited to get vaccinated, in order to resume normal things in life like dining indoors, meeting up with friends & family, or getting on an airplane. Except the vaccination isn’t (yet) a golden ticket. We wait to learn the risk of transmitting the disease while vaccinated, so that we can join the company of the unvaccinated. Or we wait until herd immunity arrives, if ever. Waiting.
Different people have coped differently with the waiting. Some have bent or broken the rules and engaged in pre-pandemic behaviors. The waiting was too much to bear.
Some have done what was asked, and curtailed their lives while waiting. Which means some good days and some bad days of waiting.
Some have used this as an opportunity to redefine their lives or take up new hobbies. I’m not sure how many have turned the pandemic into a fully positive experience, but I doubt it’s many of us. We’re too social as a species to retreat to a monastic lifestyle.
I’ve avoided the temptation to bend the rules and take risks, keeping society and the safety of my very small pod of friends and family at the forefront of my mind. Therefore, there have been some good days and bad days trying to be patient. Mostly it’s exhausting to be waiting over a year with many months to go until one can lead an unfettered life.
Yes, I’ve focused on self care as a coping mechanism. Daily exercise, healthy eating, moderated drinking, reading & writing, even meditation. All of these techniques may have made things easier, but not easy.
What I hope is that with each progressive step towards normalcy, each of us gains an appreciation for what we gain back. The camaraderie of being on an airplane with 300 strangers to an exciting destination . The coziness of sipping a coffee in a cafe, surrounded by the hum of other conversations. The collective energy of attending a sports event or concert.
In this pandemic, we’ve learned how to be alone. Can we learn how to be better together?