Just Like That

One long year ago, I spent two days working with fifth and sixth grade teachers. I spent one day with a friend exploring the orchid show at the botanical gardens. I spent an evening in a crowded gym listening to Peter Reynolds read his new book and talk about books. I stood in line, surrounded by people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, waiting for Peter Reynolds to sign my book. After being away from home for four days I drove home. I didn’t realize that was the last time I would be able to interact with people face-to-face for a year.

In January, we were getting reports of an illness in China. Cities in China were shut down. I wondered, how does that really happen? In February, the reports were about cruise ships being quarantined and turned away from ports, I wondered what was going to happen to the passengers and crew. In March, the reports of how many countries and people being infected were frightening, I wondered what I needed to do to stay safe. By April, I knew life, as I had known it, was totally altered and I didn’t see how/when it would go back to “normal.”

Just like that we were in the midst of a pandemic. Nothing seemed safe anymore. I couldn’t go to the grocery store. I couldn’t go to a restaurant. I couldn’t get together with my family or friends. The world may still be spinning on its axis, but my orbit came to a halt.

Slowly, over time, some things changed or adjustments were made. Masks and plastic gloves made it possible to go back to the grocery store. Curbside pick up allowed us to eat food that I didn’t prepare. Zoom brought family and friends into my house. These adjustments are okay for now, but I hope they are not forever.

Just like that life changes and we have to change too. I may not like all the changes, but I will change so that we can get back to our “normal” life. This is what I know for sure.

Don’t you have a story to share?


16 thoughts on “Just Like That

  1. elsie,
    This is truly beautiful. I paused at this line: “The world may still be spinning on its axis, but my orbit came to a halt.” I’m glad you keep writing.

  2. It was such a drastic change, and you’ve captured it so perfectly! Like you, I went to a crowded event (to see John & Hank Green!) just a few days before everything shut down, and it’s so strange to think about. What a year we’ve had. I like how you captured the progression.

  3. Just like that for sure…I wonder how it will be face to face without the Zoom screen? The hardest thing for us was not seeing family for almost a year. We are hoping to see Colorado kids in a few weeks and have a 10-year-old birthday trip now planned with Samantha, our oldest. Love reading your words. XO

  4. Hi Elsie! It’s so good to hear your writer’s “voice” after my approximately 2-year absence. I enjoyed your title as did so many others who have responded to your post because it reverberated so many things in my own life. “Just like that,” I stopped blogging. I hadn’t planned to but I just ran out of steam. And I can’t remember why. I kept thinking I’d jump on the bandwagon again soon, but it’s now been a couple of years I think. And “just like that” I’ve gotten interested in blogging again. So I thought I’d begin my reentry by reading some entries of familiar bloggers and responding to them. So here I am today, just like that. And pretty soon, we’ll realize that “just like that” we’re starting to return to our old ways. And some of us will miss this more leisurely pace of life. I know I will.

  5. Trina says:

    This is a great pandemic reflection. I continue to reflect on the changes that the pandemic has brought, too. I continue to think about how our lives were so different before the first shut down and how life has evolved this year.

  6. A wonderful pandemic post! (Not sure that wonderful and pandemic belong in the same sentence.) You captured so much of our year in a few paragraphs. I echo this sentiment: “These adjustments are okay for now, but I hope they are not forever.”

  7. That year ago seems so long ago. Remember when we used public transportation? Breathing all over each other. As amazing as it has been, it will be amazing to get out of this. I’m hoping we can be patient enough to let the vaccinations roll out before we all jump back into the old ways.

  8. Julie says:

    I’m reflecting on all the changes this month too, as March this year was harder than I imagined. Thank you for writing about this.

  9. Terje says:

    A year ago we could not imagine what waited for us. Some simple things became special. When many places are moving towards normal, Estonia enjoyed some normal during the summer but now is getting worse and worse. We have not handled the second wave well. I hope your life is changing only for better.

  10. “I may not like all the changes but I will change…” Well put. That is the truth and what life is now. So many ‘not likes’ having to be done and the fact that we’re coming up on that year mark is so surreal. I too have been thinking about those last few days before our worlds shut down, just like that. So good to see you writing again Elsie!

  11. Life does change “just like that” – the lessons of a lifetime, all in one year. I feel like more and more normalcy is returning, but then again, maybe that’s just spring! Nevertheless encouraging, as are your words. In the face of change, change we must.

  12. What a year it’s been, huh? Writing helps us process and documents our feelings and what really happened. We’ll look back a decade from now and wonder how we did it.

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