In late December 2019, I was watching the news coming from South East Asia about a mysterious virus causing cases of pneumonia in China, and I told the husband “that doesn’t look good, I hope it doesn’t cause problems”. We spent time in Singapore when the “original” SARS virus was an issue, so we both remembered what a respiratory virus could do.
What we know now, a year later, that we didn’t know then…
I had a bad feeling. For some reason, I went onto Amazon and bought facemasks and hand gel. I can’t explain why I did that. I also mentioned to people I work with my worries and in early January and February people just kind of laughed it off.
Then, we, and the whole world realized we were in a bit of trouble. We all know what happened next.
Lockdown hit, as the virus spread itself across the world. We all stayed home. School closed. People worked from home and we sat and waited it out.
2020 was a tough year. It was hard and something I never thought we would have to face. Who would have thought that we would be wearing facemasks, not allowed to hug friends and family, and spend a lot of time isolated in a way that is not natural for human beings?
But we also learned a lot and what 2020 taught me has given me perspective as we face 2021 and more of the same things we faced and some new things.
My children are amazing and resilient – they have adapted to a life that we had never imagined they would have to deal with, and they have risen to challenges with far more grace than I think I have, in many ways. Online school, online activities, being away from friends, schools closed, then social distancing, birthdays at home, with no celebrating with anyone. They have had their moments when it’s been really hard for them, but they have shown us how strong they are and we are incredibly proud of them. When I feel like I want to scream, and pack it all in and just hide away, I remember that my children need life to carry on and it helps me to pull it together and keep going.
Our marriage is actually pretty good – I have always known we had a good relationship and we have weathered some pretty serious storms in our 20 years of marriage, but to be stuck in the same house as someone 24/7/365 for a long stretch is a test on a relationship and not easy. I know not everyone can say this but our marriage and our relationship has thrived from being together. We were finding life pre covid pretty challenging with both of us working, sometimes long hours and homeschool, and balancing the children’s needs, with very little outside support was hard. So although it’s been very hard, and 2020 was challenging after 2019 and a fair bit of 2018 being pretty brutal for us for so many reasons, it’s made us realise that we are ok, and that we are pretty strong together. We can’t wait for life to return to normal so we can get a weekend child free alone, we might be lucky if that happens in 2021.
Our life was crazy and we need to make some changes – life pre covid was insane. We rarely ate a meal as a family in the week, we both juggled a lot and it seemed like the weeks flew by. I was exhausted and almost at breakdown point. We have had to slow down due to Covid and the restrictions and when life does return to normal, ish, we plan to not let the crazy come back. That’s another post for another time.
We realise who has our backs – lets just say that pandemic life brings out the best and worst in people and we know now, even more clearly, after a lot of realisation in 2019, who has our best interests at heart and the people who really do want to hold us up and that’s been hard to digest in some ways and good in others.
Mental and physical health matter – Things, stuff and clutter don’t – I don’ think this needs much explaination. Suffice to say that being healthy, and finding a way to manage our mental health and strong relationships are what matter most.
And last but not least…
I miss my friends. I miss people – I always thought that I was an introvert. It turns out I am actually an extrovert with high anxiety. I miss people. I miss my proper job with people. I miss the people I work with, I miss seeing friends and doing all the things I love. When I am able to be do more normal, I WILL not take that for granted.
So, that is what 2020 taught me? Did it teach you anything?