Stuck in Time for Our First COVID Anniversary

So, it has been a little over a year since quarantine began, and it’s been just a little crazy. This quarantine has been filled with ups and downs–maybe mostly downs–but we’re almost there. Or not? That was the mentality we had at the beginning at least. I can recall the exact moment almost perfectly. We’d just had gym where we prepared for our NitroBall championship for Blow Pops, we’d gotten new seats in chemistry, and we were getting anxious about having to present in a science fair. My friends and I were swamped with work, desperately hoping for schools to close and save us from chemistry and history tests. I was in physical therapy, warming up my ankle for stretches, scrolling through Instagram, when I got the notification, and of course, the text messages. We were more curious than alarmed about the virus, but relieved to get the next two days off from school. But we couldn’t have been more wrong.

For a while, we’d settled into a routine. Asynchronous learning in the morning, hikes with our dog Lola, banana bread and homemade dinners, shopping and wiping down groceries, binge-ing The Office and Parks and Rec, rewatching all 23 Marvel movies, reading whole book series within days. An almost blissful reprieve from the stress of society. But at the same time, it felt wrong to relax and enjoy time with family when just outside, families were losing their loved ones. But then two days became a week, became two weeks, became a month, became the rest of the school year, and now a full year after.

I guess I’m burnt out. We all are. And it hurts a bit to think about what we could’ve had if maybe the proper measures were taken from the start. If maybe we had gotten the virus under control, and not hastened to reopen. If maybe we’d listened to science and expert epidemiologists. For that sake, if the virus hadn’t even spread to begin with. We could’ve gone on our band Disney trip. We could’ve had Bandapalooza. We could’ve had our regular sports seasons and visits with relatives. But nevertheless, here we are.

I feel like we’re kind of stuck right now–that we have been for a while. Masks have allowed us to regain some social interaction, but we still can’t hang out or hug our friends like we used to. Vaccines are being rolled out, but it will be a while for us to reach herd immunity. We’re in school, but every other day, with only half our peers. Life with COVID has become almost normal, and I feel like some people are kind of okay with it. We’ve become okay with this endless car ride, gotten used to the bumps on the road and the bothersome siblings and the lack of snacks. In any case, at some point or another, hopefully, we’ll arrive at our destination, unpack our bags and settle into life as we knew it. But for now, we just have to keep on trucking on and maybe wear our seatbelts a little tighter.