It would be over in three months, I hoped. By the end of summer, at the latest. Those were my thoughts on how long the COVID-19 pandemic would disrupt our lives when I began this journal a year ago. I certainly didn’t think I’d write a post marking this plague’s anniversary.
There’s cautious optimism now that, with case numbers steadily declining and vaccines increasingly available, this summer will look closer to 2019 than 2020. Concerts in the park? Sitting in the stands of a ball game? Outdoor dining at restaurants? All those routine enjoyments still seem distant, perhaps because it’s been so long since I’ve enjoyed them.
After weeks of frustration, I was finally able to schedule a vaccination. My first shot will be a week from tomorrow, and the second should be scheduled at that time a month later. Doctors advise waiting two weeks after the second shot before being more active socially.
That means in early May I’ll return to the community gym and fencing club, still wearing a mask but relieved to reclaim some of my lost freedoms. Fencing will be especially important, as it’s not only my favorite form of exercise but also where I’ve found many of my closest friends. Hanging out at the club and weighing the value of a popular Netflix show, ridiculing the latest conspiracy theory, or just finding out what’s going on with all my buddies… Zoom is great, but it can’t replicate those types of breezy social interactions.
If “going back to normal” means resuming the lifestyles we enjoyed in 2019, then I don’t think we’ll see normal again for some time. But normal and happy are not synonyms, and one can exist without the other. The days ahead are going to be better than the 365 that came before it, and while those days will have their difficulties I look forward to them anyway.