Have You Mourned Your Pandemic Losses? I Just Started.

If you took no precautions during COVID-19 and have mostly returned to normal, this article is probably not for you.

During one of the worst spikes in COVID-19, I fled to California. Several of my friends asked me why. My reason was simple. I didn’t trust any Americans to wear masks and social distance the way I trusted Californians.

They did not disappoint.

Even in rural communities, I saw people walking their dogs alone with their masks on. When the vaccine arrived, I didn’t know a single senior in the RV park who hadn’t gotten theirs. They also constantly checked on us few youngins to figure out whether we had gotten the jab and how we could get access.

When I moved to Mexico, I was once again in mask heaven.

It was an amazing contrast from a summer spent in Wyoming and rural Colorado where masks were few and far between. Mexicans wore masks while riding their bikes, buying groceries and walking into restaurants. As a high-risk person, I felt safe. No one I knew got COVID-19 for the entire duration of my stay.

But now, even Mexico has relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines. I am often the only masked person here and in U.S. areas where mask-wearing was usually the norm.

Americans have moved on from the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, I got into an argument with an idiot on Twitter.

One person shared that they had foregone several recent events to stay safe as an immunocompromised person. The idiot then tried to troll the person for prioritizing their health. I responded to them to say that it was crazy how people had simply moved on from the pandemic, but that I was still taking precautions. The idiot chimed in to share that she missed going to the clubs and she was ready to get back to her life. So, the rest of us needed to shape up and get with the program.

She is not alone in this sentiment.

From as early as March this year, the NY Times reported that only 44% of Americans were continuing to wear masks. The NY Times also called out the CDC for “authorizing” Americans to take fewer precautions.

Essentially, Americans have acted on the one cultural value the country shares across almost all demographics: idealism and endless optimism. Sensational stories in the media might have you guessing whether this is an accurate description, but if you pay attention to actual American human behaviour, you will likely agree.

Need an example? Do you remember my post in 2020 asking what kind of delightful recession we were in? The economy was crumbling under a global health crisis and people were buying brand-new vehicles and burning through the housing market. Who takes on new debt during economic decline or deliberately buys stock investors believe will fail? Why, Americans!

When Americans want a thing to be so, it is so because they have wished it. Nothing else matters. Facts be damned. Americans want the pandemic to be over―and so, just like that, it is.

But this time, they are not alone.

Seniors and high-risk persons continue to take COVID-19 precautions.

The NY Times article confirmed that persons who faced the greatest threat from COVID-19 continued to protect ourselves however we can. I have four heart conditions, so that includes me. Consequently, unlike most people my age, I did not simply return to regular programming. I have continued to take the same precautions I always have.

Every so often, someone asks on social media whether there’s anyone who hasn’t yet gotten COVID-19. And, if yes, how did we pull it off? That people continue to ask this question baffles me when science has already answered it. Those of us staying safe continue to wear masks, wash our hands, sanitize our spaces, and reduce physical interactions with people outside our safe bubble.

Can COVID-19 still get past all that? Yes. But, the likelihood is small. Most of the high-risk persons I know have never had COVID-19. If they did, I would probably be referring to them in the past tense.

We wish we had the privilege to move forward.

Pro-science seniors and people with comorbidities would love to join the crowd of people returning to normal, but we don’t have that privilege. Health―especially in America―is a privilege that not all of us can claim. So is wilful ignorance, which runs rampant throughout the country. But, I have no desire to be infected by that either.

That said, I can hardly call my post-pandemic life a sacrifice. I bought my RV during the pandemic and have been on the road full-time ever since. I have travelled across America and Mexico with my cat and have met amazing people along the way. My family has come to visit and I have visited them. I have enjoyed campfires by the beach and listened to the roar of the sea under a stunning sunset. I have hiked, biked, kayaked, painted and everything in-between.

There’s still a feeling of nostalgia for life without restrictions.

Recently, I came across a song that brought me back to my 20s. I remembered going to clubs on the beach. Going up to the balcony to stare out at the Caribbean Sea and sip my rum. I partied very differently from other people in my group, but I enjoyed clubbing by the beach all the same. I also thought back to rock concerts and music festivals in Atlanta. Being crammed against other people, while we belted out the lyrics to our favourite songs.

When would I ever feel safe enough to do those things again?

Probably not anytime soon.

It wasn’t a thought that had crossed my mind throughout the entire pandemic. But, it has crossed it now.

Yet, the truth is I stopped going to rock shows a year before the pandemic hit. And, I hadn’t been clubbing since I lived in Jamaica. It’s not so much the things that I miss, but rather, the freedom to do them. And so, while I have lost very little and gained so much, I nonetheless mourn the carefree existence we had before the ‘Rona came to stay.

Do you?

10 thoughts on “Have You Mourned Your Pandemic Losses? I Just Started.

  1. When it comes to the pandemic response, our country seems to have gone through two phases. In the first phase we had a zero tolerance for Covid, with strict controls and lockdowns. Even when we stopped with lockdowns, we had vaccine and mask mandates. Just a month ago though, we dropped everything; there wasn’t necessarily a medical justification for doing this. Our people were getting tired of restrictions and the govt didn’t want to lose votes, I guess. Now we pretend like Covid doesn’t even exist. Cases have been going down recently but in the last six months more people have died from Covid than any other time, particularly the vulnerable. It seems when you let a virus circulate around you can only keep the vulnerable safe for so long.

    I don’t know what the long-term solution is, but any measures to slow down the spread should still be implemented on some level. Vaccines are effective and anyone who can get one should, but they aren’t effective enough. Maybe one day we will have a universal Covid vaccine, otherwise we will just keep playing cat and mouse with this virus. I was masking up until recently, and now I only tend to mask if travelling or visiting medical, but cases have been lower here recently.

    1. You are right about the government deciding to put votes over public health. I just can’t believe the CDC went along with it.

      I am still masking and following all the usual guidelines. I am more social now, but I still only meet people in outdoor spaces. Thankfully, the weather is conducive to that, where I am.

      Be safe and be mindful of those who are high risk and can’t afford to play cat and mouse with Miss Rona! One more death is always one too many. ❤️

  2. California (especially Los Angeles where I’m residing) is a lot different from when it was pre-pandemic: barely anyone wears a mask anymore. Even at my workplace, less than a quarter of my coworkers wear one…I still do my due diligence and mask up all day in the office, as well as when I go out to restaurants, bars, enclosed spaces…it’s wild just how badly people want to return to “normal” (i.e. pre-pandemic), but in reality “normal” doesn’t exist anymore– the pandemic has really rocked our society and things won’t ever be the same. The hope is that, with each passing year, COVID becomes less of a deadly virus and more of a common cold, but it’s going to take time. The 2020’s will definitely be the decade of the pandemic!

    1. Goodness, “decade of the pandemic”! You could be right. 😭

      I feel like these people never learned “delayed gratification” where you give up something today for more freedom and benefits tomorrow. We are ALL tired of the pandemic and we all want to go back to our old lives, but some of us have chosen to keep being vigilant and some of us haven’t.

      I’m glad to hear you’re one of the few, but I wish there weren’t so few of us still taking the pandemic seriously.

  3. I’m glad to be included in the 44% club!!! Have mask, will travel! Don’t forget to get your flu shot. Many people around where I live still mask up inside, and the people working inside many places are masked, but, the numbers of those masked are far fewer than a year ago. As far as I know, the CDC and the WHO, have not declared the pandemic over. In fact, I think I read recently a headline about a NEW variant making the rounds. People are still dying from COVID and mostly, still, because they are NOT vaxed. And it seems mostly those are still REPUBLICANS.

    1. Someone I know was recently hospitalized for COVID-19, so it’s very much alive and well. I’m glad to hear people are masking up in your area. I’m not seeing a lot of masks anywhere I go. I’ll keep wearing mine regardless! Be safe. ❤️

  4. As someone with comorbidities and advanced age, I am not living the life I did before the pandemic. I retired just months before the tragedy of COVID began. My retirement has been very different from what I expected. I lost family and friends to the viscous killer . I took as many precautions as I could pre=-vaccine. I still wear a mask EVERY time I leave my house. Here is Southern California, counties/cities have responded differently. The majority of people in my city still mask up. If I need to get something elsewhere, I don’t care if I am one of a few, or the only one wearing a mask. I choose to do my best to stay alive and healthy. I never go to crowded places. I still shop first thing in the morning when the grocery stores are almost empty. I have hand sanitizer hanging from my purse, and I use it before reentering my car. I am fully vaccinated including the 3 booster shots. It’s not over, and I have no desire to be one of the statistics. I’ll continue to protect myself to the best of my ability.
    I do mourn the life I thought I would be living at this stage of the game. I am grateful to still be alive to miss the things I hoped to be doing. I have found ways to be joyful that don’t include taking unnecessary risks.

    1. Hi Lauren! Thanks for taking the time to read and share your experiences. I am the same as you! I got my vaccines, still mask up, still sanitize before going into the car, wiping down groceries, etc.

      The hard part is meeting people on the road. I’m still young, still working, still finding my tribe after leaving my home country. It’s a constant vetting process for who got the vaccine, who has food hygiene, etc. I generally try to meet people outdoors and avoid sharing my vehicle with anyone else. I get strange looks for walking around with my hand sanitizer but that’s ok! Better safe than sorry.

      Continue to be vigilant! I’m hoping we both continue to beat the COVID statistics.

      1. Alexis, I too continue to be as safe as possible. I don’t think i have touched money in years now. Thank goodness for credit cards.
        I have two very small hand sanitizer bottles on a key ring fastened to my purse. So I am always prepared.
        Outside still feels safer for me too.

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