Writing a journal entry about 2020, the year of COVID-19, has been an interesting and unexpected journey. A journey I’m still on, I suppose, since COVID-19 is still dictating our daily lives in 2021.

As I write the journal entry for this week’s writing prompt, I’m wishing that I would have taken more meticulous notes about everything that happened in 2020, and what I was feeling and thinking about as everything was unfolding. As I write this journal entry I’m also experiencing a lot of feelings at once: sadness, grief, loneliness, boredom, gratefulness, empathy, compassion, hope, frustration, annoyance… and the list goes on from there. And for me, it’s been interesting to note that as everything was unfolding last year, I wasn’t really noticing how everything, all the day-to-day routines and daily rollercoaster of emotions, were all blurring together and affecting one another.

It’s strange. I feel overwhelmed reflecting on all the things that happened in 2020. Yet somehow, I feel as if nothing happened at all. It’s almost as if I blinked and it was 2021. It’s almost as if I am in a state of purgatory, a state of suspended animation, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I guess this is the emoji I would use to express my current state: 😐

Full disclaimer: I have been fortunate compared to most in the world over the past year. I never had COVID-19 and I haven’t lost anyone to COVID-19. My daily routines haven’t even changed much.

Daily tensions and stress levels and anxieties are still strong and palpable when I have to go out in public with my mask on in 2021. And it seems as if everyone else is in a state of suspended animation, just like me. I get this sense that we’re all worried about something big, whatever that “something” is.

When I first started writing this journal entry about 2020, I started recapping the logistics of what I did and what happened. I looked through some of my scattered notes and notebooks for some details. And I scrolled through some of my personal social media timelines to remember what I was thinking and feeling at the time. It was shocking to see how much I forgot.

Next, I recapped and typed out the fact and fiction of COVID-19, and was instantly grateful I wasn’t exposed to half of the outrageous stories that were floating out there (and still are) when things first started changing. I also felt reassured about the decisions I made to be cautious and stay at home from the outset.

At this stage in the writing process this week I started looking at what I was experiencing alongside what others were experiencing during the outset of COVID-19, once it was officially declared a pandemic. It seems that most of us experienced, in some form or another and for one reason or another: confusion, worry, stress, and disappointment.

Now I’m starting to realize, a year later, that this state of suspended animation has almost started to feel… normalized. Which is worrisome… or is it? I am starting to wonder how long this suspended state in my life, our lives, and the world, will go on. We are now officially in the second quarter of 2021 with no real outlook of when things will go back to “normal” or if we want them to at all. And as I consider this, I’m not so sure that’s actually a bad thing after all. Uncomfortable, sure, but bad…not necessarily.

Employers and employees alike are starting to see the benefits of work-from-home arrangements. People (especially in the U.S.) are becoming even more aware of how necessary a work-life balance is, forever changing how we view both work environments and home environments. More attention is being drawn toward the social and economic disparities of women, children, essential workers, races, genders, voters, students, and many more humans who have gone unseen and unheard for far too long.

So, at this stage in my writing process this week, I’m starting to look ahead after looking backward on the past year. While I’m unpacking all the baggage of the previous year and acknowledging my present state of suspended animation, I’m also trying to look ahead, realizing that it’s been kind of nerve-wracking to do that for quite some time. However, while a lot is still uncertain, I am starting to feel at least a little hopeful for what changes are just over the horizon.

What has your writing process for this week’s writing prompt been like? Share with us in the comments at the bottom of the page.


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