One Year in Quarantine

On March 10, 2020, I was tasked with creating a Coronavirus website for work for the university where I work. I threw it together pretty quickly, and I said that we weren’t going to include a picture of the red germ that the media was using to represent COVID because I thought it was a bit much.

A few days later, on the Friday before spring break, it was announced that all of the students were going home for the rest of the semester and there would be all online classes. That night at dinner with my parents, I cried into my margarita.

And on March 19, I started my first day of working from home.

We all thought we would be home for a few months at most. Never did we imagine that we would still be working from home a year later. That would have seemed absolutely crazy this time last year.

My dad’s birthday is in the middle of March, and the very last time my parents and I ate out in a restaurant was for his birthday at Longhorn Steakhouse last year. We haven’t stepped foot inside a restaurant for dine-in since. We do takeout every Friday to replace our normal Friday “date night” and it gives us the opportunity to support local businesses.

After the beginning of April, once basically everything was shut down, I inadvertently didn’t leave my house to go anywhere until the very end of the month/early May. To be honest, I was terrified. I stopped watching the news, and I muted all news/media-related accounts I followed on Twitter. For a little while, I lived in my own little bubble.

But I knew that it wasn’t healthy for me to stay home all of the time, and I started venturing out of the house in May, safely of course. Connecticut was in a mask mandate pretty early on, and my mom made us all festive masks to wear when we go out. Most of my trips were to the library, package store, Dunkin’, and I think I went to Target once. It was frustrating, though, to see people out doing things with other people they didn’t live with. Although I’m not a social butterfly by any means, it felt like I was putting my life on hold in order to keep myself and my family safe. We didn’t see any family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and when we have seen a few people, it was outside in the driveway or backyard.

I was really disappointed that the road races I was signed up for all got cancelled. By the middle of March, I was registered for four, and two of them allowed me to defer my registration to this year, and one of those I’ve already deferred to next year because the race got cancelled again this year. I was able to do a few virtual races (UConn Health 10K and Hartford Marathon 5K/10K) but it just wasn’t the same as in person races. I’m hoping maybe by this fall there can be small in-person races.

My relationship with running has definitely changed over the past year, though, and it’s changed for the better. In February and March 2020, I was so obsessed with my times and that I wasn’t a good runner, all that stuff. But since running was one of the few things I could still do when the pandemic started, I began to just enjoy my time outside and I taught myself not to worry about my times. I wasn’t running races anyway, so why did my times matter? I’ve carried that mindset into this year, and as the weather is getting warmer, I’m looking forward to getting out and just running for fun.

I’m feeling a little optimistic about this year, but I know we’re not fully out of the woods yet. My parents have had their first vaccine shot, and my uncle and grandparents have all gotten their shots. I’m not eligible in Connecticut until the beginning of next month (since they moved up eligibility last week), but whenever I’m able to, I will get it. I’m hoping that we can get back to some sort of normal this year, even if it’s at half capacity, like not fully 2019 life but better than 2020.

It’s funny to look back on all of my posts from last year and see my progression through the pandemic. I mean, I was “that puzzle person” for a while and watched a lot of new shows on TV. I went through a phase of wanting to become a zoo keeper and wondered if buying a 2021 planner was a dumb idea.

I’m surprised I was able to find enough stuff to write about, considering nothing was really going on. I am very glad that I had all of you guys to go through last year with. We were all in the same boat, and it was nice to have a support system. I was able to collaborate with some of you for a Thanksgiving Blogger Potluck and the Silver Lining of the Year.

Things That Have Happened During Quarantine:

  • It forced me to realize that coral is a terrible paint color for a bedroom and I ultimately re-did my entire bedroom in order to keep my sanity.
  • I still fit into my work pants.
  • I get to pet my dogs all the time. And my mom brings me snacks while I’m working.
  • I now have a “Mask Basket” in my bedroom which is very 2020.
  • I switched the 3% cash back on my credit card from gas to online shopping.
  • I found North Woods Law on Animal Planet.
  • I started drinking coffee!!!
  • I also started doing yoga, even after Amazon lost a yoga mat I bought last April (RIP yoga mat).
  • We lost power for two days in August, and that was weird. Not the best time for me.
  • I discovered that going for walks on days I don’t want to run are just as beneficial.

I also want to acknowledge that I’ve had the opportunity and privilege to work from home. I have so much appreciation and I’m grateful for those who worked every day during the last year: healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers, retail workers, postal workers, delivery folks, etc. They deserve everything and more. I’m also thinking of all of the families who have lost loved ones over the last year; it’s absolutely devastating to know that over 500,000 people have died because of COVID. It’s a loss that they shouldn’t have had to go through.

I’m not quite sure what I’ll consider the end of quarantine, maybe once I get my vaccine and don’t have to wear a mask out in public. Until we’re truly at the end of COVID, I’ll still be staying safe, wearing my mask, and not going to crowded public places, even if my state is beginning to lift capacity limits. (You’ll still find me at the library, though.)

It’s funny to look back at my very first post about COVID, and basically none of us at that time knew what was going to happen next. So in the same fashion as the end of that particular post, I’ll leave these parting words:

We have to do what we can, and check in on others to make sure they’re doing okay. I don’t know how long all of this is [still] going to last, but be sure to wash your hands, [wear your mask], and stay safe out there ❤

7 comments

  1. So true. My birthday is March 10 and my last outing was to go bowling for my birthday last year. Then the state got shut down and we’ve been in ever since with the exception of grocery shopping and the occasional Target run. Having had our vaccines we can now begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Cautiously stepping toward that light.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve worked throughout the pandemic either at testing events or now vaccinating events and kind if feel like I’ve missed out on this cultural phenomenon ‘working from home’ has become. It’s literally everywhere online; people talking about not leaving their homes for days/weeks/months, the dramas of video meetings, getting lost in the weird purgatory of home/work time/space… I have no connection to it and it kind of makes me feel like an outsider.

    This would actually make for a good post for my blog, but I’ve literally had no energy to write these days when I come home from work. I miss my blog…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Working from home isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Zoom meetings make me actually miss in-person meetings, and I *hate* meetings. How has your experience been with working at both testing and vaccination sites?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I constantly feel this very intense mix of extreme stress and success. I feel like I’m playing catchup with no real end in sight. I use up all of my physical energy and mental capacity as a public servant and feel my personal life (experiences and relationships) are suffering. I find myself saying “I don’t get paid enough for this” then offering to work late or cover a weekend shift. I feel like I and my team have been critiqued, bullied, and criticized more than appreciated, thanked, and supported and our so-called leaders in our state capitol (the ones holed up in their basements barking orders at us frontliners) are too proud, ignorant, or indifferent to acknowledge my district’s overachiever status and instead demands more more more while serving us roadblocks time and time again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am so grateful and thankful for those working at the testing and vaccine sites, and I’m sorry it’s been such a stressful experience for you ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

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