I’ve stopped saying it can’t get worse because I kept being proven wrong. I guess that’s what happens when you are living through a pandemic. It’s not like I have a lot of experience with something like this.
I actually feel like I’ve been affected by the pandemic more in 2021 than I was in 2020. In 2020 it was like we were all in this together even though some people neither wore masks nor stayed 6 feet apart. But most of us seemed to care, we wanted to support the businesses that were able to stay open, and to help those who found themselves abruptly unemployed for no fault of their own.
We even seemed to have hope a year ago, knowing a vaccine for this coronavirus was on the horizon, and holding the belief it would then speed the demise of the pandemic.
I feel less hopeful than I did a year ago.
I feel like I’m going to continue to be learning the Greek alphabet for the unforeseeable future, what with all the names of the virus’ variants. While delta and omicron are the better known, the World Health Organization has also used alpha, beta, gamma, lambda and mu for other strands.
I’ve resorted to asking people if they are vaccinated before they are allowed in my home. If the answer is no, they wear a mask or aren’t allowed to enter.
I have declined social gatherings because I didn’t want to be indoors around people who I didn’t know their vaccination status.
I’ve only massaged people who are vaccinated.
I continue to wear a mask in stores and the like.
I worry about next summer’s family reunion that was originally scheduled for 2020. A reunion that I am hosting in Lake Tahoe. Many family members are anti-vaxxers. Do we ask people to identify as vaxxed/unvaxxed and then let everyone decide if they want to hug, mingle, be close to each other? Do we wing it and become that large group gathering known as a super spreader? Do I stay home? Trust me, the latter has been on my mind for months.
What brings me hope is that my close friends—wherever they live—are vaccinated. This is leading me to already have more plans on the calendar than I had in 2021. OK, so that isn’t really saying all that much. Still, it’s encouraging.
While the future social gatherings with vaccinated friends brings me hope, I also wonder if as a society we are not only becoming more divided philosophically and politically, but now physically. How are we to overcome our differences, to understand each other’s points-of-view, to find compromise if we are self-segregating based on a vaccine? I don’t have that answer.
All I can do is try to listen to those I disagree with, to not shut them off, to invite conversation. We may not change each other’s minds, but maybe we can find a way to appreciate, respect and live together in this world without name calling, threats or violence.
2022 will be what we make of it. All we can control is how we react to things. Remember, you can disagree with someone without being disagreeable.
Happy New Year!