As we’re coming up on the anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the United States, it’s been wild thinking back on this past year.
In some ways, it was the longest year of my life. But in other ways, it feels like no time has passed at all. I think that’s because I’m used to using external events as a way to mark time. So when you’re inside? Well, those normal markers are gone. True, you can attend things virtually (in a very 2020 moment, I attended my father’s funeral using technology). And I’m SO grateful for that. I keep thinking about how much harder this would have been in 1990. How much more isolated I would have felt. (Or inadvisable risks I might have been driven to take.)
But the virtual experiences really DO lack some of the immediacy that external events usually have. And there’s no getting around that.
Anyway, I’ve watched these past 12 months as my friends all went through their own struggles. We have all cracked up for a moment or two. At different times, in different ways, and at different moments.
I hear from some of my friends semi-regularly. Others I’ve barely heard from at all.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve been really overwhelmed lately with everything going on in my life. In addition to the pandemic, I was affected by the Texas blackouts that came in and took away the electricity and half the water in my state and made the statewide food situation truly bizarre for a few weeks. I also had a few other things going on, personal stuff but it hit me harder than normal because of the twin disasters.
(For what it’s worth, things could have been much worse for me, and I’m grateful that they weren’t. But I’m still exhausted from living through the chaos.)
I think it’s turning around. But for a while, I was really quiet. I withdrew a bit. And when I did, I felt like a bad friend.
Which is really silly. Because if ANY one of my friends were going through that and told me about it, I’d say, “No problem. I understand that you needed to be by yourself for a bit. You’re not a bad friend.”
So I thought I’d go on the record today and just be official about it: I am granting blanket absent friend forgiveness.
This past year has been so hard for so many people. At different times and in different ways.
I think we all get a mulligan.