New year, same pandemic

I love the start of a new year. The idea of a fresh start excites me. And I know that new year’s resolutions are cheesy and unnecessary, but I think they’re fun. I like to make plans and cross goals off a list, I like to have some sort of direction to go in, even if it’s self imposed. Plus, January is my birthday month, so that helps with the good vibe.

But starting a new year in the middle of a pandemic just doesn’t hit the same. I’ve been waiting this entire month for that feeling to kick in. That rush of excitement and ideas and plans for what’s to come. I guess it makes sense that it hasn’t yet, considering I’m still stuck isolating at home and will be for, at minimum, the better part of 2021 since disabled high risk people aren’t being prioritized for vaccines.

But it bums me out, because in a weird way, I feel most optimistic at the start of the year. By December, my brain is in full bitter, sad mode. But when the calendar reaches January, a switch in my brain gets flipped and that bitterness turns into a naive hopefulness. It’s been a hard year… for everyone. 2020 sucked. And I guess right now, I just really wish I could get back to that naive hopefulness.

Every day feels exactly the same. Nothing ever changes, and if it does, it’s usually something terrifying. I feel like I have to brace myself for a panic attack when checking the news. I miss my friends, being outside, leaving my apartment. Heck, it’s so grim that I even miss going to the doctor. Or at least, I miss knowing that I could if I needed to.

It’s more than just feeling isolated at home, too. It’s knowing that I can’t leave my home without risking my life. That not only could I wind up sick, but I could be denied treatment from hospitals rationing care. And to top it off, it’s knowing that a very large part of society is unwilling to care about anyone but themselves. They will not stay home, they will not wear masks. Even if it means their actions will kill someone else. All of that weighs on you before long, and it’s not an easy thing to grapple with.

Usually, I share my goals for the new year and how I did with last year’s. I’m not going to do that today. Partly because I was so unsuccessful that it’s depressing to reflect on. But more because I don’t feel like making myself feel bad for not accomplishing more during a global pandemic with a wannabe dictator in charge. (Look at that, I did find something to be hopeful about – Trump is out! Oof what a relief.)

The good thing, though, is that a new year resolution is no different than a goal made any other time of the year. A goal is a goal, and you can set or accomplish them at any time. Starting on the first is satisfying, but doesn’t mean any more than starting in February, or August, or December. So I’ll keep going with the goals I didn’t hit last year, and set some new ones as I make it through 2021. We’ll see how it goes, because honestly, that’s all any of us can do right now.

Consider this post your reminder (and mine) that we’re all doing the best we can in a shitty situation that was forced upon us. You are more than your productivity. Your happiness is more important than items checked off a list. Rest is important. Relaxation during times of immense stress is valuable. One day you will feel up to tackling a new, daunting goal again. But until then, there is nothing wrong with doing what you have to do to get through the day.

Stay safe, I’ll talk to you all soon.

4 thoughts on “New year, same pandemic”

  • Happy birthday, Karly. You look so young — you have really beautiful skin. I’m really incredulous that disabled people aren’t high up on the priority list for the vaccine. They should be. People without disabilities should be able to ward off the virus better. Have you thought about writing directly to the White House, to the President or to Dr. Fauci, stating your opinion? It couldn’t hurt. You have a LOT going for you, Karly — you’re bright, you’re beautiful, you are well informed and think about things. Anyway, I’m one of your fans.

    • Thank you for your support! I haven’t thought about writing directly to the White House, I assume it would likely go unread ignored, as they must get overwhelmed with people trying to contact them. I do know that a lot of activists are trying to raise awareness for this issue, and I’m just trying to hope for the best at this point. Thanks again! Stay safe.

  • And to top it off, it’s knowing that a very large part of society is unwilling to care about anyone but themselves.
    This weighs heavily on me as well. I was fortunate enough to be involved in fund-raising for victim’s families after 9/11 and the generosity I personally witnessed warmed my heart and nurtured a faith in humanity I hadn’t felt prior to that moment. In a lot of ways, 2020 eroded quite a bit of that faith. But, ever the optimist, I’ve tried to find rationale beyond “people are garbage” to explain how the same exact people that gave me so much hope and inspiration could also be so undeniably selfish and lacking in empathy. I’m starting to realize that a culture that rewards greed and exploits generosity spirals to a place where it literally becomes all one can do to focus on protecting “me and mine”. Generosity and empathy become a luxury. So much so that I myself am cognizant of the real-world cost (in time) that crafting this very response will have on my ability to sustain a struggling business during a pandemic.

    But, as you stated, “happiness is more important than items checked off a list” and knowing your social interactions may be fewer than my own during these trying times, I’m hoping that simply knowing your words continue to touch others and provoke thought might bring a tiny sliver of light into your day.

    Anyway… Seeing you have a new post always brings a little joy into my life and I’m hoping that knowing a total stranger is sending good thoughts your way brings a little joy into yours.

    • Thank you for such a thoughtful comment! Our culture has definitely bred a chunk of society that I think is not only cruel but dangerous. America is so in love with individualism that we forget about community and the importance of protecting not just yourself and your small circle of loved ones, but everyone as a whole. I’m hoping that with a new administration in power, and with how horrible last year was for everyone, maybe we can start to make some changes. At least I know the people I care about the most in my life are good eggs lol. That’s a small comfort. I appreciate your support! Stay safe.

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