The usual discussion at this time of year is the proposed changes of our lifestyle – to be a better person, which sees us making all sorts of promises to ourselves, in the form of New Year’s resolutions.
The most popular promise we make to ourselves is to be healthier, this to be achieved by eating better, exercising more, stopping or cutting down on cigarettes or alcohol. The promises we make to ourselves, and sometimes to others, is meant wholeheartedly after the overeating and other indulgences that took part over the Christmas season.
We have been given all sorts of treats that we felt compelled to consume, it would have been churlish to disappoint out friends who had picked out yummy chocolates or a really nice bottle of wine to please our palette, so we over indulge yet again.
Come the start of the new year we have a new calendar, a new chance to live a better life, and we promise ourselves that this will really be the year that we change for the better.
That is my usual start to January, however, not this year!
I honestly do not feel that I have over indulged this year. It has been a long nine months since we got bogged down with the virus from hell. I feel pretty sure that most people feel that I do, sheer relief that this year has finally drawn to a close and next year can only get better.
The turn of the year coincides with the distribution of the vaccine and, although it is a mammoth task to get all willing participants vaccinated, we do see a glimmer of light at the end of the long, weary tunnel that was 2020.
Probably very few of us saw what was coming when China first started having parts of their population fall ill. China is half a world away and besides, the newspapers were probably blowing things way out of proportion. A couple of months later and a few other countries were reporting cases of the virus and it was possible it would come here. Vancouver has a large Chinese population and probably lots of them had been visiting relatives for Christmas and may bring the virus back here with them.
I myself was called to England, to nurse a very sick, very dear cousin after Christmas. My stay there turned into six weeks as my cousin’s condition worsened and she passed away. Returning home on 7th of February was a battle of the weather. Snow stopped flights and I spent two extra nights in Vancouver, waiting for planes being able to land in Penticton.
Two days later and I had resettled back into my home and was awake enough to watch tv and learn the virus was turning into a nightmare and much of Europe was in a panic. Over the next couple of weeks, things went from bad to worse and the whole world became involved, a real pandemic was taking hold.
By mid March we were shut down and life really changed for all of us. People were doing strange things, like buying vast amounts of toilet paper. One of my daughters was advising me to fill all my cupboards with tinned goods as there were going to be shortages, and our local stores had lots of empty shelves. I had always had a good supply of food in my cupboards and, as I knew how to make soup from next to nothing and had only myself to feed, I was not unduly worried and, sure enough, the “stocking up” spree was short lived.
Standing in line to get into the bank or the drug store was weird but, if you timed it right could manage to get your needs met without too much hassle.
Weeks led to months but finally people got the hang of living this new way and, joy oh joy, the outdoor pool opened in June. Apart from not seeing friends, life was not too bad, however, by September the need to hug and be hugged weighed heavily, I’m a social person and the telephone and email just don’t fill the need for company.
The thought of winter stretching months into the distance seemed dreadful and, worst of all, no winter holiday to break the monotony. However, the weather has been good and I have been well, the frequent hand washing and lack of mixing with others has kept away colds and other winter ailments so far.
One interesting part of the situation has been watching the interactions between the maskers and anti-maskers. There are always people who resist the “herd” instinct, whatever the situation and there are always people who will not follow rules, it is just the way human nature works. However, it is very unsettling to see people ignore the warnings to not gather in groups, a rather selfish attitude of “I’m OK, so why should I care about you?”
Rushing into taking unknown vaccines is rather scary. I was a teenager in England when the Thalidomide scandal hit. Thousands of babies born with terrible deformities, because their mothers took an improperly tested drug for morning sickness, indeed one of my cousins was born this way. Because of my age, I’m willing to take the new vaccine, I do not have much to lose as my children are all grown and I only need worry about myself. If I was a young mom, I would have to think twice about taking a rather new, untried treatment.
This has truly been a bad year for most of us, especially those families who lost a loved one and are also bearing the guilt of not being able to comfort that loved one, as they reached the end.
I look forward to this New Year with hope for a better world, I intend to deny myself nothing, especially the companionship of those I love and the feel of their arms around me, most specifically, the hugs of a grandchild. Let’s all pray for a better 2021 and a better “normal”.