Almost a year ago, I referred to this dead period in life as the COVID Coma. The feelings of uncertainty have rippled through the world for over a year, and now it feels like it might finally be coming to an end. With more and more people getting vaccinated, things are starting to open up again. Masks mandates are being lifted, restaurants are allowing full capacity, and people are able to see their loved ones again. While it seems the world can take a collective sigh of relief, I wonder how we are supposed to put all the pieces together again. How do we go back to our old lives when life as we knew it has changed? How are we expected to go back to our offices full time when we’ve been working at home for the last 15 months? How do we go back to leaving our houses without feeling like we are doing something wrong? How do we stand in a crowd of strangers without this overwhelming fear and anxiety looming over us?
Putting out feelers in just the writing community has helped to learn that it isn’t just my creativity that seems to have stunted during this time of limbo. We write based on our life experiences, so how can we write when we aren’t really experiencing anything? How do we even begin to attempt to spread joy when it feels like the world is collapsing around us? How do we break out of the routine of trying to numb our brains to what is happening around us? How do we stop feeling guilty for “wasting” the last year? It’s as though we are waking from a coma, and everything has changed. Our lives are now defined as before COVID and after. How do you pull yourself completely out of the comatose state and get back to your life? How are we supposed to live, when we’ve spent so long just surviving?
Our employers, our schools, and our government are naïve if they think we can just go back to how things were as if nothing ever happened. We are all kidding ourselves if we think the road to recovery will be without setbacks. There are going to be days when we forget we can just run to the store for one thing. That we can go out to eat when we don’t feel like cooking. There will be days when someone takes a step towards us, we will automatically back six feet away. There will be days were our brains go numb and our eyes glaze over, as we try to tune out the bad news we anticipate is coming. Try as we might, we will never be able to forget the hate that was brought out in so many people. Hate brought out in our friends, families, classmates, and coworkers. It will take time to bridge the gap this virus has torn between us. But the only way to jump start our lives again is to stop waiting for it to go back to “normal.” The normal we knew is in the past. Things are different. Boxes have been opened that cannot be closed again. So instead of trying to get back to the past, it’s time we start building our new futures.
I hope I can start writing more regularly again, but I’m not going to make any promises when I just don’t know if I can keep them. All we can do is hope for the best.