It's been one year since the pandemic first began. Truly, I cannot believe it. At this time last year, we were being told "stay home for two weeks to flatten the curve" - it's hard not to laugh in disbelief at that now. I look back at the weeks leading up to the pandemic and cannot believe how different life was. I went to the movies! I took public transportation! I went in to a store mask-less! All of that now feels unimaginable.
When we go through an unexpected trauma, we look back at the time leading up to it and feel amazed at how unaware we were. Grief expert David Kessler compared the pandemic to a grieving process. And like the grieving process, we never knew how good we had it until it was gone. I never realized what a luxury eating out with friends was, until it was taken away.
It's a challenge to not become overly cynical about this year and question its worth. Why? What was it all for? On a large scale, I think time will tell how this will change our country. I encourage the clients I work with to consider who they were at the beginning of the pandemic and notice any growth that happened. For myself, I've learned to surrender more. We only have control over ourselves and the pandemic has definitely belabored that point. Plans went out the window this year.
What I've also tried to embrace this year is gratitude and focusing on the things in my life I am thankful for. Given what a challenging year it was, it was easy to give in to cynicism. What helped me get through the challenging days was gratitude and reflecting on all the things I do have. I still have my health, my family, my work, my fur babies and my friends. That's a lot, considering how much loss there was this year. I'll carry that practice of gratitude with me forever, because I know how it helped me. Moreover, I can only imagine the immense gratitude I will feel once we are able to go back to normalcy, like being able to hug a friend worry-free.
If you experienced a loss this year, my heart goes out to you. Any anger and sadness you feel is completely valid. Even if that loss occurred at the beginning of the pandemic, the emotions can still feel just as strong. This was a year of grieving and still is. And there is no expiration date on grief.
So one year in to this pandemic, I send healing to you and your loved ones, however your process has looked. And here's to better times ahead. Please be well.