Time Flies…whether you are having fun or not. Although, if I’m being honest, the nine months (count ‘em, 9) since I last posted here have not exactly flown by. When I went to write this, I found something I’d written in July 2020 that had never been posted. Unfortunately, it is still pertinent, so I just put it up before this one with a disclaimer on my tardiness.
We had all hoped that by now things would have gone back to pre-COVID 19 “normal,” whatever that means, but alas, not so much.
For me, some things did get better. I completed the first draft of my mystery novel Legacy of Lies and am trying to complete the final manuscript so that I can publish this year. I finished most of the first draft of my passion project about WWII Los Angeles, and I even have the SFD (shitty first draft) of the second book in the mystery series, yet untitled (thank you NaNoWriMo).
The usual benchmarks of a year passing just slipped by…school starting, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year. I saw no one and did nothing other than bake and put on more pounds than I wanted. At least my annual pledge to lose weight and get fit still applies to 2021.
We were very blessed that none of our family and friends are among the more than 500,000 Americans who died of COVID 19 in the past year. We did know a few people that became ill, but they prevailed and seem to be doing alright. We managed to stay well and have received our first Pfizer vaccination, although I believe the jury is still out on the long-term efficacy it will have. Our families and friends were cautious and I think that explains the few cases we saw (for one thing, many of us are in the older “high risk” group and took great pains to stay safe).
The big picture for our economy, our mental health, and the world is still very cloudy. We won’t really be able to perceive the damage that has been done until the dust settles and that looks to be some months away.
There are days when I feel particularly rootless or anxious, but I cannot put a name to why I feel that way. Even before the pandemic I was retired and didn’t necessarily spend my days in fruitful endeavors. I puttered here and there, read, wrote, baked, chatted on the phone…Mostly what I do now, but I didn’t feel so constrained and concerned about what happens next. I’ve had to cancel a few trips, and missed some of the holiday get togethers, but the level of change in my particular life does not equate with the anxiety and displacement I feel.
Maybe it is because I am older and am more aware of the shortening of my days on Earth. I remind myself that my income, though fixed, continues to come in and I am not so dependent on the vagaries of choices made by other people. I don’t have young children here whose schooling and social support I have to be concerned about. I do worry about my grandchildren and the burdens their parents bear during this time, but it is a step removed from me.
I just finished reading Jessica Gruder’s book Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century. The non-fiction book was published in 2017 and documents the large number of formerly “middle class” Americans who have been pushed out of our society and have taken to living in campers, RVs, trailers, cars, and whatever else they can rig up to house themselves. They roam the country working temporary jobs that underpay and overwork them; sugar beet processing, Amazon fulfillment centers, and campground hosts. Many of them are my age, and older, and they have no other recourse, no savings, little social security. Those who once owned homes and had investments and savings lost them because of the 2008 economic crisis and never recovered.
I fear that the two years of COVID 19 will not have improved this situation and many more people will have been pushed out of the mainstream of our economy.
Maybe this is the source of my angst and discouragement. Though usually considering myself an optimist, I can’t help but think that the country, and the world, are in a much darker place than we even think.