Hello and happy Friday. Wanna know what I did yesterday? I WENT TO THE OFFICE for the first time since my laptop was acting up in October! I took the train and sat in the mostly empty office and had a frigging blast away from construction noises and lawnmowers and barking dog and delivery drivers and my monotonous, depressing, and isolating work from home life. We’re still wearing masks at work, but at this point you could tie a smelly gym sock around my face and I’d still goofily grin at getting away from this adorable little workspace that I once loved but now despise and work from home ‘breaks’ that are really just opportunities for me to clean something.
I am not in commuting shape. There are many staircases associated with a public transit commute to work. I used to fly through the stations and streets. Not yesterday. I’m making strides to be better though. I’m walking almost every day again and doing exercises meant for sedentary people who don’t move. If the slipper fits…
On Wednesday, Mom & I went to dinner at the place we ate at right before everything shut down. It was a nice little homecoming.
This week’s Friday 5 theme is Twenty-four months, which roughly refers to when this worldwide pandemic started. I was pretty angry in last year’s Twelve months post. A year later, I’m sad.
Pandemically, my life is so much better than it was this time last year. Everyone I care about is fully vaxxed and boosted. The mask mandate here in NJ was lifted months ago and my county is at a low community level of infection. (according to measurements that may have been jiggered to lull us all into feeling more comfortable). I’m going out to restaurants again, going to the beach, went to WDW, going into stores. Taking the mask off where I feel comfortable and putting it back on where I’m not or where I’m told to wear it. I’m giving blood again. I’m going to conferences again. Planning travel.
So why don’t I feel proportionally happier? I don’t know.
- In what way have these past two years made you better?
You know how people can take a quick nap? I have mastered the quick and quiet cry session. I can still wail for days if I want, but I can also stifle my sobs and eyedrop my way back to normalcy in minutes. Not the positive answer people were likely looking for but here we are.
- In what way have these past two years made you worse?
I am a much sadder, angrier version of me and after all this time of people continuously gaining clout and power by showing their asses, I don’t think I can ever go back to believing the best of people ever again. I believe everybody deserves to be safe, loved, and warm but some of these anti-science, anti-compassion troglodytes are seriously testing that belief.
I’m afraid, really afraid, that this all happened at a pivotal age for me, where I was at the crossroads of either being a happy older person or a sad and angry older person who ends up turning water hoses on children and swerving to hit squirrels. I’m afraid that the last 24 months of pestilence, famine, and now war shoved me down the path I didn’t want and that it’s too late for me to go back. (I have not yet doused a child or skooshed a squirrel.)
- In the first six months of the pandemic, what was your most effective form of escapism?
Watching Instagram reels of happy people rollerskating. Videos of vacations. Stardew Valley, where I sat my little farmer at the town’s bar every Friday night and people watched until every happy little person went home.
- What remains part of your life from those first six months?
Working from home, sadly. Yeah, I’m the person who wants to go back. I’m the one roundly being made fun of for not having friends outside of work or wanting to be the office Karen or forcing people to celebrate coworkers’ birthdays. Fun fact: I am (was?) part of the committee that set up events for our coworkers to have fun at. But my real life friends are geographically or situationally far away so, yes, I did get a daily dose of social satisfaction from going to work every day. I really enjoyed the company of many of the people I worked with, and now we’re a bunch of bored faces with pained smiles in Zoom video call squares.
Our return to work date is TBA, but it will never be the same. If you want to work from home forever, I hope you get to do just that. But the flip side of that is maybe we can stop mocking people who want to go back in some capacity. Our reasons are sometimes pretty good.
On a better note, we’re still doing movie night on Fridays. I don’t hit every week anymore (sad & tired sometimes) but I try to show as often as I can.
- What do you envision for yourself in the next year, and how are you feeling about it?
Faking a smile with my coffee to go.
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