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What I’ve learned in this pandemic.

A year.

One year ago, we went into lock down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’ve suffered shortage, disrespect, misinformation and unsurmountable losses of family and friends.

And now, as we slowly opening up, eating out at restaurants starting next week, getting vaccinated, schools are welcoming back students and our lives strangely enough are resuming. I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned this past year. I have discovered two new insights about myself.

Firstly, I have discovered that I truly have been caring the emotional burden of others. When we went into lock down my worries about the ‘what if’s’ intensified, the helplessness of being unable to obtain the basics (like toilet paper) was overwhelming. To combat this, I went to work and began sewing again. I sewed over 300 masks and gave them away to whomever wanted them. I mailed them as far away as New York and a close to walking a bagful down to my neighbor for his brother-in-law’s employees.

One rainy afternoon, a colleague picked up thirty masks I had sewn for her son who works at the local Veteran’s Hospital. Masks were in short supply at the beginning of COVID lockdown and the homemade ones for non-medical personal alleviated the use of medial masks. 

But even sewing, which I had turned to again and again in the past to get me through the rough spots of life couldn’t complete with what was going on: the the constant barrage of the misinformation bleating from the media, family members touting this was all a hoax, hearing of friends stuck down by COVID, standing in line at the market, only to be confronted by empty shelves, and the world around me was now blurry and unstable not only because of my fogged up glasses, but also because of inadequate leadership. 

I ended up in Urgent Care. Not sick with COVID, but sick enough that I couldn’t function. I was alone and scared. I’ve been the ‘rock’ for so long, for so many but now cracks had formed. This lockdown finally did me in.

The doctor, who I forgotten his name, spoke to me through his mask and face shield, telling me to eat better, get some rest and do what I need to do to lessen the stress of my life. Good advice, but difficult to implement. But no one was going to do it for me; so, I had to do it for myself.

And now, I have. Besides paying better attention to my diet, I also am exercising more and most importantly looking out for me. I refuse to carry the emotional baggage for anyone. I refuse to absorb it, touch it, or even comment on it. Sounds harsh? Perhaps so.

With these boundaries, I now speak up to protect myself and my wellbeing. I’m still that rock, still the responsible one; however, I now understand the fragility of myself and I respect that and listen to it. Whereas before I was raised to just ‘gut it out’. No more. I feel better now. And each day gets better and better for me and for others around me, too. I have spoken up, admitted that no I can’t do that even if I have done it in the past. Because if there is one thing I have definitely learned is that COVID-19 has taught me that the past has many lessons to teach but some of those lessons are insights of what we shouldn’t or I shouldn’t do again in the future. 

The other insight I have discovered during this pandemic is I have perfected stove top popcorn. No more, dry as dust or greasy tasteless microwave popcorn for me.

Until next time. Take care

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