On the state of the world – two years later

photo credit: Hayley Seibel via Unsplash

And that, my friends, is how you fall off the blogging bandwagon. Did you miss me?

Last week was my birthday. Two years ago on my birthday was the last time Jon and I had eaten out at a restaurant. On March 11, 2020, the day after my birthday,  the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.  A week later, California issued the first statewide stay-at-home order and I transitioned to a full-time work-from-home posture on March, 17. 

This seems CRAZY to me. It’s been two very long years, which, in retrospect, also felt like a blink of an eye. Time perception is weird.

I have to admit, Jon and I weathered these unnerving times pretty well and I feel tremendously thankful for all the things I did not have to worry about during the pandemic. I was able to seamlessly transition to remote work and have only set foot into my office a handful of times (mainly to pick up or drop off equipment at IT) in the last two years. I didn’t have to worry about losing my job and we were not really financially impacted (like so many others!).

We’ve taken the restrictions and mandates very seriously and were quite content living a slower, more restricted daily life. We’re both homebodies on any regular day and did not mind spending a lot of time at home and with each other. We luckily didn’t have to homeschool kids or worry about their safety and I have felt a huge relief about that, while simultaneously feeling for all my friends who are parents. I know this must have been – and continues to be – a really challenging time.

As far as I know, we did not get Covid. I only know a few people personally who got it and thankfully had mild cases. I don’t know anybody who died from Covid, and I realize that this hasn’t been the case for way too many families (some who lost more than one family member to the virus!). I feel beyond lucky and thankful for not having been impacted more directly, which in turn though has made me even more vigilant about adhering to safety measures as long as they’re needed to protect myself and others.

I could not wait to get vaccinated and was so thankful when the vaccine became available to us almost a year ago. I would not hesitate to get another booster shot if that was necessary.

One of the hardest lessons for me during the pandemic was that yes, we’re all in this together, but we’re ultimately all doing it alone. When everybody’s going through a traumatic time simultaneously, leaning on other people might not always feel like an option knowing that everyone is trying to get through the day-to-day, amirite? Still, connecting with family and friends – even when it was through FaceTime, text message, here on the blog, or even the occasional card in the mail – was so very soul-lifting.

And now it’s 2022, and things were supposed to slowly return back to normal (whatever that means). I hinted at the fact that we’re transitioning back to the office and people have started going back on various work schedules last week. There is a transition period and I have asked to not return until the end of that period, which will be the end of May. As you might recall, I had a talk with my supervisor a few weeks ago and had to decide if I was going to apply for a remote work position (and continue working from home full-time), or a core telework agreement (where I come into the office one or more days per week). For now, I’ve decided on the core telework agreement with one day per week at the office. I want to see how things go and while I do look forward to seeing some of my co-workers again, I also don’t want to give up the flexibility I’ve gained through the WFH arrangement. I am sure I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this in the future.

On a different note, I really don’t want to say “I had such high hopes for 2022…” but I did and I still do, but man, this year has been once again off to a very rocky start. It went from “things are slowly looking up” to “quiet overwhelm” rather quickly again.

This *waving hands about* is just TOO MUCH.

We’re not even out of this pandemic, there might be yet another new variant (although restrictions are being lifted left and right and I am not sure how I feel about that), and here’s another sub-par excuse of a human being, I mean, man, starting an absolutely unprovoked war with a sovereign nation. What is it with these unchecked mediocre white men and their inflated sense of self-importance? They need to just go away.

When the news of the invasion (let’s call it what it is) of Ukraine hit a few weeks ago, it shut me right back down. As if any of us needed any more stress in our lives, especially the people directly affected by this unnecessary and totally uncalled-for violence and destruction against their country, which has triggered yet another huge wave of refugees, who have to leave their homes and livelihoods behind to seek safety in foreign countries. It’s unfathomable. There shouldn’t be any wars in 2022 anywhere. You’d think it should be possible in this day and age to navigate the world with kindness and diplomacy, but apparently not.

I have no idea how you guys are holding up these days, but I, for one, feel like I am in the barely-holding-it-together camp. You can’t really see it from the outside. I am getting up, I am exercising, I am doing my job… but inside, I feel this constant hum of “overwhelm”. All I want to do is sleep (which I don’t, but the urge is there). If you have noticed, my blog reading (and commenting) has fallen behind, too, which usually is a sure sign of either of two things a) I am super-busy with other stuff (like work), or b) don’t have the mental capacity. It’s currently both. 

So, what do I do? I donate. I pledge miles and then run those pledged miles. I try to stay informed without doom-scrolling the news. I read fiction to distract myself. I go for walks. I sweat on the Peloton. I keep looking for the silver linings. You should too.

Phew, if you made it all the way down here, kudos. I didn’t mean for this to be a depressing ramble. It’s just that so much continues to feel heavy somehow. But I usually am a glass-half-full-kinda person and that is the only attitude with which to move forward. Somewhat unexpectedly, I ended up having a lovely birthday last week, where I was able to put all the depressing news out of my head for a little while and focus on the positive things in life. It was a good day.

  1. Happy belated birthday! Yes, to all off this. You are not alone.

    1. Well, thank you (for stopping by and the solidarity!).

  2. First – yes, I missed your voice so much lately. Just last night I was thinking about you specifically and hoping you were weathering all this okay.
    Second – how can we be okay? THE WORLD IS NOT OKAY. There is so much “heavy.”
    As you’ve mentioned, we have to go on with life. My tap still runs and my fridge is still full and I feel heavy over the guilt of my privilege and safety.
    The world feels like a reordered social reality and how do we go on? We’re watching things in real-time that we’ve only imagined in fictional accounts or in recalling horrors from previous wars. And it’s happening. Now. As I write this. It’s unspeakably horrible. And then there is the ever-present reality of a global virus, and catastrophic floods and civil wars and oppression against women and children and racial minorities around the world (and right in our back yards)…it is too much.
    While the content of our hearts and our news feeds is heavy, I am trying to focus on love. It’s sounds…cliche. Donating and praying for Ukraine, yes, but loving my children and my neighbours and saying a kind word to the exhausted cashier wearing a mask all day. Believing that the ripple impact of love begets more love and hoping desperately it spreads around the world.
    Hugs, San. And Happy Birthday! I’m glad you had a special day. It’s okay to find joy in the middle of this hard!

    1. Thank you, Elisabeth. I think focusing on love and kindness during these troubling times is the only way forward. <3

  3. I did miss you, San!
    For me, this is so true: “One of the hardest lessons for me during the pandemic was that yes, we’re all in this together, but we’re ultimately all doing it alone. When everybody’s going through a traumatic time simultaneously, leaning on other people might not always feel like an option knowing that everyone is trying to get through the day-to-day, amirite?” TOTALLY. I feel you.
    So, after two years, we got Covid! My son’s friend tested positive, and my son – who had and continues to have – no symptoms whatsoever, took a test and it was positive. The next day the other three of us all got symptoms (nothing to write home about, I was tired, my husband had a headache and sore throat, other son had a sore throat). So, I guess I should be happy we dodged it this long. I’m dying to get back to my regular activity, but it’s only day 3 and I have been warned by many NOT TO RUSH IT. It’s like they know me or something!
    Anyway, I am sorry you’re feeling like you’re barely holding it together. Sending hugs, the non-plague kind.

    1. Ah, no, Nicole. You’ve got Covid in your house? After all this time! Oh man, what a bummer. But I am glad to hear you’re all faring pretty well all things considered. Sending a big hug back, the non-plague kind ;)

  4. Oh, it is such a hard time right now. Everyone is in different stages of transitioning to “normal” and the news is so terrible and it’s just really hard. Hugs to you and yay! for a happy birthday. I hope things consider to lighten up a bit!! Someday this will all be in the rearview mirror and we’ll be so grateful that we made it through.

  5. Happy belated birthday! The past two years have felt like ten years and also not. It’s so bizarre and weird, but it seems like a lot of people are experiencing the same time warp.

  6. Happy belated birthday, San! I noticed your absence and was hoping everything was ok.

    The news out of Ukraine is so horrifying. My heart really goes out to the people of Ukraine. Putin is the absolutely worst and I was hoping maybe this would result in his fall, but he can control the narrative in Russia and brainwash people into believing his lies. It is so very sad.

    The Ukraine situation has me feeling down and stressed at times, but overall I would say I am doing better than I was a month or 2 ago. Nicer weather has arrived here and that makes a huge difference in my mood/outlook on life. We were able to get outside quite a bit this weekend. The fresh air is so good for us!

  7. I relate to so much of what you wrote here. The pandemic hasn’t really affected me in serious ways and I am so very grateful for that. It would have been so hard to lose a loved one to this virus, especially being around people who treated it like it was nothing.

    I don’t even have words to describe Ukraine. It’s so horrifying. The courage and bravery of the Ukraine people is inspiring, but I really wish they didn’t have to show their bravery in this way.

  8. Oh, San. I wondered how you were doing and it turns out you are in the same mental space that I am. I am so overwhelmed by *all of this* (waving my arms in solidarity) and just want to withdraw. I’m doing the same as you – showing up, putting in the time, doing the work, even occasionally smiling. But it’s a carefully crafted shell at this point, and it’s been hard. I hear you, I see you, and I’m honestly right there with you. I wish I lived closer (for this, as well as, let’s be honest, the weather…;>) so I could offer you a properly masked (yes, still) hug in person. Since that won’t happen (although, to be frank? CA is looking a lot better politically than WI these days… sigh) I’ll offer this virtual (unmasked) one. Thinking of you. <3

  9. This. Is. So. Relatable. Team Barely holding it together over here, too…

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