Computer screens have become our blackboards, our dining room tables have become our offices. Our friends exist on the other end of a cellphone and some lost loved ones live on only in our hearts. We’ve baked banana bread, watched Tiger King and taught ourselves quirky new skills. We stayed glued to the news and fought through bad mental health. We spent time with loved ones and joined virtual house parties with friends. We exercised at home, endured at home haircuts and attended Zoom meetings in bed. We’ve worried about ill loved ones and lost a few as well. We’ve survived a year of lockdown.
It’s hard to imagine a life before lockdown. Attending social events mask-free and being able to plan for the future without the threat of the rise in COVID infections. Life was busy yet calm, exciting yet boring. Life was good and bad, but it was normal for us. Life was as we’ve always known it. It’s safe to say that a whole year later, our lives look a lot different.
Before President Ramaphosa even announced that South Africa will have a lockdown, panic ensued. People hoarded way too much toilet paper and enough groceries to last the apocalypse.
People were scared and passed chain messages on WhatsApp that promised cures from herbal teas to avoiding meat. People lost their jobs and and businesses crumbled. We were all anxious and wondered how we were going to survive this uncertain new world we lived in.
A year into lockdown and that fear of the uncertainty still remains. We are still working from home and attending online classes. We still sanitise our hands every few hours and wearing a mask is starting to feel normal. We are still pushing through bad mental health days and isolation from loved ones. Some are still struggling to support themselves as finances remain tight and doctors and nurses are still fighting on the frontlines. We are still holding onto the hope that our plans will one day come to be when this pandemic is over.
On the other hand, a lot has changed since then. We have become more resilient people but also more gentle on ourselves. Since life has slowed down, we have allowed ourselves to appreciate the joy of the little things. Some have had the time to discover hidden talents or rekindle old friendships and others have made use of mother nature’s beauty by taking up hiking. Many of us have adjusted and endured and because of it, we’re a little stronger than before even if we don’t realise it.
A year ago, we wouldn’t believe all that we have had to endure, but we also wouldn’t believe how we pulled through when the situation got tough. Nobody can say with absolute certainty how long this pandemic will last, but we cling to the hope that things will get better.