I almost missed it, which already makes clear how very different this year is from last year when I watched the pandemiversary coming for weeks and pondered how to properly mark the occasion. This time I was too busy to watch for the arrival of the specific day. Too busy weathering the ongoing massive/pervasive shifts in how the world functions. Too busy wondering whether the rush to declare pandemic over is reasonable or foolhardy. Too busy trying to keep half a dozen projects moving forward simultaneously in the hope that I can begin to replace the income we lost because of all the projects we didn’t do in 2020 and half of 2021. I only remembered to notice the day because I saw a tweet at 11pm. Then I didn’t get this post written until the next day.
Is the pandemic over? Only time and statistical analysis can really say for sure. Opinions vary wildly. My own opinions vary wildly from day to day depending on which direction my anxiety is leaning. One thing I am certain of, I am tired. I would dearly like to finish some of these projects I’m pushing forward. I would like to feel more stable and secure. It would be very lovely if one of the things that moves into the “finished” category is the pandemic. But I don’t actually control that. Alas.
But for future reference, here is a list of ongoing pandemic-caused effects in my life:
- Soy Sauce Flavored ramen has been unavailable for two months. Store shelves regularly have gaps where the store has been unable to re-stock an item. I vaguely remember that prior to the pandemic, this didn’t happen. There is plenty of food in the stores, but not always the foods that are on my list.
- Worker shortages abound. We once ordered a pizza that never arrived because the store was so understaffed that they couldn’t keep up. Another time we had to pick up the pizza because there was no delivery driver. Wait times everywhere are longer. Customer service is less available. I’ve learned to be extra patient and to lower my service expectations.
- Gas prices are higher than they have ever been before in my adult life. Yes, some of this is caused by Putin’s war on the Ukraine and economic sanctions, but much is because production was shut down because of the pandemic and then production couldn’t be brought back up to prior levels because of worker shortages.
- Food prices are going up too. And the rent on my warehouse. The increase in the property value on our house means that property taxes are going to hit us hard this fall. Every bill, every expense, I wonder not if it is going to go up, but by how much.
- Everyone I know has spent some time in the past few years re-evaluating their priorities and reconfiguring their lives. This is going to take several more years to shake out.
- I am both heartened by the way I see many people showing up for each other and being good, while also being saddened and discouraged by the lack of empathy displayed by other people.
Even if the pandemic is “over” in terms of infectious illness filling up hospitals and causing deaths, we still have years of adaptation ahead of us in coming to terms with everything that has permanently changed and everything that is still in the process of shifting.