Fear and Loathing in 2020

Everyone has their own version of how it all went down in 2020. Some had it worse than others, but I think it is safe to say that nobody has had it easy. I was ready for 2020 to “Be my year”. I had a new job, a new found sense of confidence, and a new outlook on life. I left off in my last blog having celebrated my new job with friends. Everything was a whirlwind after that. When I got home that night I read that the first case of Covid 19 had been discovered in my county. The next day my boss notified me that until further notice we were all to work from home. Remember, I had only been there a week, so I was still training, and frankly not too sure what I was doing yet. Nobody had an idea what was about to happen. My life was about to take a detour, a long round about detour.

I worked at my new job for, count them with me, 3 whole weeks. After the first week of working from home I had a gut feeling that something bad was going to happen. I was now in the hospitality and travel industry which was at a complete standstill. Everyone kept giving me words of encouragement, that everything would be ok. But again, my gut was telling me otherwise. “Business Disruption Leave” they called it. The announcement came the day after my birthday. Hopefully we would be back in a few weeks they said. The pandemic was so new to us all that nobody really knew what it would mean. I was officially unemployed for the time being. I had never been unemployed before. I started working when I was 15 years old. I delivered a local paper call the Record Advertiser. I was terrible at it FYI. I tripped and fell often, I dropped things, and the papers would blow away down the street never to be seen again. Not my proudest moment as an employee. I was also notified that the animal shelter I had been volunteering at for about 15 years had put a pause on all volunteering. I couldn’t even go to a job that I didn’t get paid for! What was I supposed to do now?

It was so odd to go from having no time at all for myself to having all the time in the world. I had often wished for more time in the day. When I was working, I would leave early in the morning, and more often than not return at 7 or 8pm. I had time now, but space was extremely limited to my tiny apartment. I grieved like the millions of others that had lost their jobs. I felt paralyzed by anxiety, uncertainty, and sadness. I sat on my couch and moped. Full disclosure: I slept, ate, drank wine, and walked my dog- all in excess. I got on what felt like hundreds of obligatory zoom calls to try and be social, even though I really didn’t want to talk about what was going on. I felt bad, but I was also aware that many people had it much worse than me. I made myself practice gratitude for my health and the health of my family, for my ability to be able to feed myself, for the fact that I had a roof over my head and a warm bed to sleep in. Had I taken these things for granted my whole life?

Slowly but surely the feeling doubt started seeping in every crack and crevice of my being. I began to think about all of the decisions that I had made in the past few months, because well how could I not? In the end I knew that if I had to do it all over again I would make the same choices. I couldn’t fault myself for taking actions to make my life better. My 98 year grandmother said it best, “If you had stayed at your old company you’d still have a job.” I looked at her and I stated without pause, “Yes, but then I would be stuck…and very unhappy.” She just stared at me. Because of the pandemic, the aides that had been helping her were no longer coming. I was doing my best to help her out in the meantime, but as you can tell she has absolutely no filter. According to her I would never make a good nurse, such a confidence booster right?

It had been over a month, which felt like a year. It felt like the movie “Groundhog Day”. I would get up everyday and everything was the same. I can’t even remember what day it was, or what finally made me snap out of it. I got up one day and looked in the mirror, really looked. I realized I barely knew the person staring back at me. I used to have so many hobbies and interests. I let the craziness of life get in the way of what I really loved to do. I decided then and there that it was time to become reacquainted with myself. Time to start a new path, a path of self discovery. What did I enjoy now? Time to find out…

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