I’d stopped noticing the effects of pandemic life on a daily basis. I’d stopped being alerted to changes at the grocery store, in traffic patterns, in social media. I suppose that means I’d achieved an equilibrium of some sort, perhaps even a “new normal.” Today it all came slamming back. Today is the first day of school for kids in my school district. The grocery stores were bustling at 8:30am instead of empty because parents stopped by on the way back from dropping kids at school. I may have to adjust my shopping schedule to not have to dodge people in the aisles. The familiar patterns of my household have to shift to accommodate the fact that one family member is schooling. I am sad / afraid that people will get sick, while simultaneously not quite seeing what the big deal is about, while logically knowing that whether or not things feel normal/ safe I have a social responsibility to take action to prevent possible spread of illness. In some ways I’m feeling the way that I did back in March. Like all the feelings were stored in a cupboard in my brain right beside the back-to-school habits.
Right now Utah is experiencing a decline in Covid 19 cases. We’re not quite down to the levels we had in March and April, but the trend is that direction. But elementary, junior high, and high schools all welcomed students onto campus today. Next week the university in my town welcomes students on campus. The week after that the university in the adjoining town starts on campus classes. Given that combination of things, I don’t believe the decline will continue. Between the pandemic spike I expect to watch unfold in real time, and the increasing social noise because of the election, I’m going to have to reinstate (or invent) some mental health strategies. For today: I’m staining trim pieces for my pantry wall and I’m trying not to impulse spend on all the things.