I’m not alone in feeling bleary from this Lost Year. Mostly, I feel like I’ve been abducted from my real life, by aliens, or an evil overlord, and am living out my days on a stage. It’s kind of like the movie “The Truman Show” but no one is running the show and there’s no audience. My bubble includes my four roommates (the husband and kids) and the nanny, so there’s never even a chance that a side-character could wildly nudge me and send me down a quirky path. I am a one-dimensional character in a Netflix original series with only one season.
When I think back on this year through various lenses and stages, much like the stages of grief, my year in quarantine has had distinct periods through which my muddled brain processes this new life.
Spending all of my quality time with the small screen, I now identify time periods by what show I was currently binge watching.
Ohhhh, that was when I was watching “Succession” and I hadn’t figured out how to get regular food deliveries.
The “Tiger King” really made me feel a connection during lockdown. Fun fact, I also thought it was a mockumentary for two shows!
Righhhhht! My Tudor era costume dramas (still on-going). That was when I was trying to pull off a magical Christmas when I couldn’t take the kids anywhere or see anyone and my strongest connection was with the Amazon Prime delivery person.
Here’s a dark shift: I’m in a cave. I see only the shadows of real life. Am I really living?
I’m safe in my cave. A Cave Bear Mama, roaring at anyone who tries to cross the threshold. But, I am claustrophobic hence the squeezing sensation in my chest.
There’s the Zoom School lens. Much of my life is live-streaming, thanks to the accursed Zoom (sounds like “Zuul”, the god of destruction, and I think that’s fitting.) In that element, I enjoy the little things where I can, like running the vacuum cleaner during reading time. And I really savor when I can catch the teaching losing her mind, trying to virtually control the attention span of second graders.
There’s the lens of “Which teacher was I most pissed off at?”
Mmmm-hmmmmm, “The Cheerleader”.
Yup. That was when I yanked my kid out of preschool because it consisted solely of youTube videos and complicated craft projects that required 60 minutes of prep time to net 5 minutes of my child using a glue stick.
There have been victories, though. I haven’t completely wasted my time.
The youngest is out of pullups!
The middle one learned to ride a bike without training wheels! (Of course, then the bike broke and I’m too nervous to take it to the bike shop.)
Our eldest was accepted into a private school that celebrates his special abilities and he’s getting A’s!
I very-nearly, not-quite-but-almost have IHSS provider benefits for the kids! It’s only been 5 months since I began the process, so, half-way there?
Some unique skills that I’ve not mastered, but definitely am pulling off with some level of competency include:
Giving a boy’s/men’s hair cut times 4! I cannot give myself a haircut. I had to learn that one the hard way. But, I can dye it many pretty My Little Pony colors with minimal damage to the grout in my shower.
I have used up a vast supply of my wrapping and craft supplies. Thank you, compulsive Cyn, for buying all of those discounted birthday cards at Marshalls!
I am feeling very hydrated by all of the free skin care samples I’ve been accumulating over the years.
I have rediscovered that I enjoy hiking! And you better believe I have been getting myself to the beach more. All those positive ions. Ommmmmmmmm!
I honor all of these accomplishments.
My biggest win of the year has been writing here. I had re-established my writing habit with the revival of this blog last February. I moaned that while I was supposed to have all of this spare time for writing but then I became a “learning coach” for my three virtual students. I have managed to eek out some words here and there. It’s not the first draft of a novel, it’s not poetry that I would show anyone, but these are words and ideas and I have rattled them from my brain and thrust them outwards to you, dear reader.
What continues to be a horror show does include some gratitude, a hard thing to acknowledge at the best of times. Our lives still rocket and spiral in far too many directions. I hope that much of what was valued and deemed essential in the past 20 years will fade and be replaced by smaller movements that honor life and the merit in each day. And I hope I come to the page with more regularity. Because writing is healthy for me and Zuul knows I need some balance.