The first thing that came to mind when thinking about how to put perspective on this past year was the realization that, wow, it’s already been a year! Remote learning was a challenge in itself. We were forced to cancel vacations and our high school senior didn’t have the graduation he expected. But even with all that, somehow we’ve adapted and pushed forward. We saw our community come together to provide a memorable drive-through-style parade to celebrate the high school seniors. I’ve had the privilege of seeing individuals and families in the community come forward to help others in need. And even though my family didn’t have the epic vacation we’d planned, we still appreciated the time we did get to have with our family. Overall we’ve learned to just take each day as it comes and not worry about tomorrow.
The past year has been utter chaos, from seeing a division like I have never witnessed in our country, to watching my son literally lose every bit of the normalcy and structure that played an integral part in his success as a student with special needs. To put it bluntly, maybe no one has dealt with a pandemic such as this before, but I doubt that we could have done any worse. People have lost loved ones, jobs, businesses, homes. Children have lost their ability to experience a normal childhood. I don’t believe we’ve even begun to see what repercussions are coming our way from this whole ordeal. This country has failed miserably.
Working as a grocery checker during Covid for a little over a year now has had its challenges. It is not easy to wear a face mask all day. It makes it difficult to breathe and hard to understand what others are saying, let alone talk so others can hear you. Individuals continue to be skeptical about the whole ordeal. Some refuse to wear a mask and some double up on masks. I get many customers with different views and opinions. It is hard on everyone. I just wish it could be over and done with and we could see people’s faces again. I miss that personal interaction. It would be nice to have choices, such as if we want to wear a mask or not, if we want to be in public without having so much fear. Keep respecting others and their opinions; we all have them. And be there for someone. We all need some sort of support.
As a local business owner (Bayside Animal Lodge), I was in the position of having to essentially close the doors for nearly four months last summer and temporarily laying off some of my employees. These times not only try men’s souls, but also bring a great deal of eye-opening experience. The loyalty and selflessness my employees have shown me and our customers is something I am very proud of, and I am happy to say they have all been able to come back to work, albeit a little bit at a time. I also want to acknowledge our amazing community,from phone calls from customers who just wanted to check in on us, to those who sent cards and enclosed little “gifts” to help us get through the toughest times. We are not the first type of business that may come to mind, so the support and outreach we received from our neighbors has been overwhelming and humbling. Thank you for seeing us through this year. Without you — I don’t even want to think about it.
Those luscious homegrown veggies I described last year were no match for 12 months of book indulgences and British TV-mystery bingeing. When a full-time job opening for Amazon popped up on my screen, I clicked on it. Could I possibly get paid to get into shape? Amazon hires anyone with a pulse who can pass a drug test and then lets the job itself thin the herd. Within days I had a badge and a start date. It’s an understatement to describe the work as exhausting and not just because I’m 66 years old. Being out of shape, I’d predicted an aching back and jelly arms but they never appeared. What tripped me up after three weeks was developing a benign condition that indicated 10 hours on my feet was too much. Although I had to resign, it was just what I needed, along with my vaccination, to re-enter the post-Covid world. The experience was invigorating and life-affirming. I lost eight pounds and am on my way to gaining strength for a planned expedition. And if Amazon ever introduces part-time shifts in Bremerton, I’ll be first in line.
I don’t figure anyone will be very interested in my opinion. Washington State has bad politics, bad policy, and bad science. I am currently in South Dakota where people and businesses are flourishing and life makes more sense. Just my two cents. That and $10 will get you a cup of coffee in Seattle.
One year later I have learned to treasure the life I live and the community where I belong. I am grateful for my 10 acres where I can be roaming out in the fresh air in the strictest lockdown. I am grateful for the technology that has allowed me to see and hear members of my far-flung family and distant friends even when I can’t visit their homes and hug them. I am thankful that my husband and I have been employed all this time when so many others have been plunged into poverty. While I recognize names of people who have been very sick and some who have died, I am grateful that those I love have maintained their health this long hard year. As spring blossoms, I have a renewed sense of how lucky I truly am in this life I live.
Mixed emotions are pretty much how I would describe living through this. It was a year of isolation, loneliness and fear of the unknown. But it was also a time of self-reflection, stepping out of my comfort zone and starting a new business. I got very good at talking to myself and, yes, even answering back most of the time. Many of the friends I once saw regularly were seen from a distance. My asthma made me extra cautious. The funny thing is, I started spending time with long-lost friends I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years thanks to Zoom. That was truly a gift. I look forward to a good hug with a friend, going out to dinner, entertaining and taking a trip to pretty much anywhere. These were all things I used to take for granted, but not anymore. I continue to be grateful for my health and for this community.
I can’t believe it’s been a year since this Covid pandemic hit. It’s been a crazy time to say the least and there have been a lot of ups and downs. The world suffered tremendous loss, some close to home. Through all of the madness came a time for people to slow down and reprioritize what’s important: family and friends. This year kept me from my family in California and my job as a health care worker became hugely stressful. Covid hit my household. I’ve missed out on hanging with my friends and hugs. Despite all of the downs, my relationship with my kids and my boyfriend have gotten stronger. I’m thankful for Zoom, FaceTime, TikTok and my co-workers. I definitely look forward to a time where we can all have a big old fashioned block party. I feel blessed.
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