I got my first COVID-19 shot on Thursday, which I thought was a great thing and made me stop and think about how stressed I have been about the pandemic and the unknowns that it has brought to our lives.
Wrapping my head around the different thoughts about the last year has been challenging. Attempting to put those thoughts into a post that makes any sense to anyone but me has been challenging.
A year…yeah, it’s hard to believe that it has been more than a year since our lives all changed due to a “little virus” called the COVID-19. No matter what anyone’s thoughts about it may be, the virus has impacted how we all have lived, worked, and played over this last year.
Personally, the pandemic has had a largely negative effect on how we have lived our lives over the past year. We are considered a high-risk group due to our age, pre-existing conditions, and an immediate family member having significant health concerns. The COVID-19 virus could have deadly consequences for us, so we decided to take the pandemic very seriously last March and haven’t changed too many things since then.
The most significant difference is that we go out of our way to avoid being around other people, whether family, friends, neighbors, or whoever. We attempt to be at least six feet away from just about everyone and wear or have a mask available to put on if we need to. The pandemic completely changed how we interact with anyone beyond our immediate household.
Next would be how we shop. We only go into one store regularly and make sure that we either do it during Senior Hours or when it first opens up, and we don’t waste time. We are in, out, and gone. Most of our shopping is done online and then delivered, or we do curbside pickup.
In many ways, we are lucky. Our previous lifestyle was not much different from what we do now, other than shopping, traveling, and my running. We were not social butterflies, didn’t eat out very often, and rarely went to the movies or live performances before the pandemic hit. That part of life wasn’t a part of who we are and haven’t bothered us all that much.
The limitations on travel did impact our plans to see my grandchildren and see TheWife’s sister in Arkansas. We didn’t even make our usual trips to Portland, New Hampshire, or the Coast. We stuck very close to home the entire year.
Although the wife now cuts my hair, she got tired of the long-haired hippy look from me back in August and now does a more than respectable job cutting it. I was getting a bit tired of the curls too, I do have to admit.
So yeah, life has changed a lot in the past year.
As a runner, it meant that after March 5, 2020, the pandemic forced me to run outside in all conditions in Maine, which gets rather old at times, especially in Winter. Yes, I miss the gym’s treadmill on those days when the temps are hovering around zero, the winds are whipping around 20-40 mph, or the roads are not safe to run on.
For the first six months of the pandemic, all of my runs started at the end of our driveway. Yes, I got to know most of my local running routes too well, but I live out in a rural area, and for the most part, I don’t see other people very often, which we thought was for the best.
It also meant no racing other than virtually, which I am not all that thrilled about. Virtual racing is more like a lonely time trial than a race, so I don’t bother doing too many virtual races. There have been a few in-person races locally, but I didn’t even think about going. We deemed it too risky.
So I haven’t run with anyone besides TheWife, since leaving the gym more than a year ago. I definitely miss my running buddies, the Central Maine Striders club members, and can’t wait to start participating in group runs, races, and runs with other people. Yeah, I miss that stuff a lot.
What is good?
I have read a lot more, gone through different stages of personal development/improvement, and started to write a book (someday, I will get back to it). I have had the time to sit down and think a lot about my personal philosophies, social media presence, blogging, writing, and as a result, I have made multiple changes. Many of those changes sparked different perspectives, reduced duplication, eliminated accounts, friends/followers/groups, etc., or blogs that I no longer needed to keep.
We did a lot of work around the yard and house last year and will probably keep working at that this year, whether the pandemic officially ends or not. I found that an electric chainsaw meets my needs much more efficiently than a gas-powered one.
However, the negatives of the pandemic vastly outweigh any good that has come out of it.
We are both going to have our first shots by the middle of next week and the second ones by mid-April, so that will be one less stressor in our lives. Honestly, I am not big on getting shots, but this one is different, and I am getting COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as I can.
I know that we want to get back to whatever the new normal will be as soon as possible-just like most everyone else. However, wearing a mask when around other people and self-imposed lock-down will still be a part of our lives probably until sometime this summer. Even with us having had the first vaccination by the middle of next week, we have to think about others in our family, and until they are vaccinated as well, we want to keep them safe.
Yeah, it has been quite a year, not a good one, but one where I have had a chance to take stock of who I am and what kind of future I want for my grandchildren. I still stand by the question I ask for most decisions that I make.
Am I doing the right thing for the right reason? If not, why?
If I can answer yes to those questions, I am moving in the correct direction with my life.
I believe that it is.
How about you, what are your thoughts?
Most of us have done what we can and minimized our risk based on what we understand about the situation, even if we haven’t all taken exactly the same precautions. Unfortunately a single unsafe gathering more than cancels the good of who knows how many people being cautious to the extreme. But I’m grateful for my relative privilege in being able to essentially check out of the world for the past year. Not everyone has enjoyed that luxury. And grateful as well that running is a hobby/recreation/fitness program that doesn’t absolutely need facilities or teammates.
Thanks and congratulations on getting your shot. At ~90% effectiveness, my understanding is that being immunized is safer but not absolutely safe. Safe comes when enough are vaccinated for the pandemic to die out because a contagious person doesn’t encounter anyone to infect while they’re still contagious. But when that will be depends on staying vigilant and not thinking we can go back to normal too soon.
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