Friday, March 26, 2021


Thurs 25 March

It's warm, hot actually, and perfectly still outside. Not a ripple on the lake save those from the departing tail feathers of a lazy water bird.

It's Lockdown Weather (I think we might always call it that), and it feels uneasy.

Is it okay to claim PTSD if nothing really, really bad happened to you? Or is living through a lockdown, a pandemic, bad enough?

For like some kind of PTSD this feeling the last few weeks has been one of caution. Lightly skim over the emotions from This Time Last Year and they're manageable, weird but controllable - linger on them and you realise there's some black dogs lurking there.

A few weeks back it was the anniversary of the last day I did my job properly. The last day I spent in a venue with a group of people from various parts of the world, meeting and working together to advance a mechanism to tackle social injustice.

It was as the wave was breaking and things were changing every day. Some of the delegates pulled out at the last minute, opting not to travel. Some wore masks on their flights - the only ones in a packed airplane. The Sierra Leoneans joked that a few years back they were persona non grata (Ebola) and this time it was the Italians. We sanitized the pen in between registrations. The day after the event the WHO declared Covid-19 a global pandemic and the world started closing down. It felt like we'd slid through just as the gate slammed shut behind us.

The anniversary of that day was hard. I deeply miss my work. Yes, the income, obviously - there are few feelings as good as a whack of hard-earned FOREX landing in your account - but more than that, the purpose, the identity.

Similar to when a person dies, or leaves, there's a version of you which goes with them. That Molly has been missing for a year now, and I'm not sure whether we'll ever see her again.

I did a yoga class that pandeversary morning, tears leaking out the corners of my eyes, I came home and prepped for an important birthday the next day. I chuckled remembering how last year I got stuck in my car, full of helium balloons, on the way home from that event, on the other side of town waiting for the power to come back on so I could fill up with fuel and get home - I remembered how I thought that was hard, and frustrating, how trapped I felt then. I had no idea.

Fri 26 March

Every day these last few weeks has been a 'do you remember', a 'this day last year' - the whole world's been doing it. Every emotion is shared, yet also deeply personal.

This day last year we were going into hard lockdown. Today was the last day we could move unrestricted and from midnight tonight we were in what one of my friends recently referred to as Le Grande Slowdown.

Then this was deeply weird and cut through with the strangest mix of adrenalin and uselessness. This year, with some small glimmer of light on the horizon, this is deeply weird and cut through with a mix of grief and optimism. 

Realistically I think my career path has changed forever, and the loss there cuts deep. Idealistically in some ways we are facing a brave new world, and that's exciting. But for now, as we shadow-walk beside the versions of ourselves from a year ago, the emotions are big ones - and we should acknowledge them.

And as always, there's a meme for this...

1 comment:

Laoch of Chicago said...

It's globally been a dreadful year as a result of the pandemic. I am fortunate to be able to work from home so I have not suffured finacially from the pandemic but I think everyone, no matter how they are situated, has suffered mentally from it.

I hope this next year will be a good one for you and your family.