I have to admit this Now and Then post is going to be a tough one to write. The end of the year will be pure shit. No Diwali and no Thanksgiving. Due to being at high risk, we have no pod, no bubble. It’s me, Bhavna and the kids.
I’m struggling to find a then and now photo.
Normally for Diwali festivities, we buy new clothes, decorate our home, and visit each other homes and break each night. On Diwali day itself, we would have a big get together and show the kids with gifts before visiting a Hindu temple. My wife’s father passed away in April from COVID. The family has a year of morning and celebrations are not allowed. COVID would prevent us from gathering anyway.
Except for 2019, when health challenges made things too challenging, our yearly Thanksgiving celebrations are always at my house. The pandemic ended that as well.
Before COVID, but after my surgeries, Bhavna and I planned several trips to vineyards and breweries in upstate New York. We planned to visit New Orleans, the Oregon coast, coastal Spain and Italy. Now, since winter is here, walks outside are challenging, and during the summer walking the neighbourhood was like playing a game of Frogger with pedestrians.
Before COVID, especially during my health challenges, we regularly had a family visit to just hanging out. Now, I see my sister-in-law while she stands on the bottom step, behind a mask.
Before COVID, on the days I worked from home, I would have lunch at the Brick Farm Tavern or PJ Pancake House with a friend and share a beer, laughing and having fun. I haven't seen my friends since March. In the beginning, we had after work Zoom "meetups" at least once a week. But that fell to the wayside as Zoom fatigue set in.
On the days I worked in the office in Iselin or New York City, I would take "coffee breaks" in the afternoon to walk and distress with co-workers. Now, I sit by myself for lunch, staring at a blank wall. My co-workers don't want to do "yet-another-video-conference" at the desk to catch up. Some have small children and use that break to help with homework. Our team seems more disconnected than ever, and we live too far apart to meet up for a social distanced park lunch.
Before COVID, we had two children away at college/university and excited about the future. Now, they're stressed out about what comes next. I don't know how to cheer them up and I have no relevant experience about surviving and graduating into a pandemic economy. Anything I say about the future would be a lie. I'm on the mentorship board for one of my colleges, and I can see seniors are scared and stressed. What do I tell them?
Many things were taken away to be replaced with nothing. I think the only thing that I'm thankful for is that I'm still alive and our adopted rescue cat, Alphie.
Submitted for the 100DaysToOffload project.