I am getting my second COVID vaccination shot this week.
And my God, I can’t wait.
It feels like the end of a very traumatic moment. A very long moment. And I know that me getting the vaccine doesn’t really change the world. There are still countless people that are still waiting their turn. I also hesitate to use the word ‘traumatic’. Considering that there have over two and a half million COVID related deaths in the United States alone, and people have lost loved ones, their jobs, their savings, or their businesses, I have been very, very fortunate compared to others.
As we as a world start to turn the page on the last year or so, it’s not unusual to assess our lives and look back, and look forward. I know I have changed because of the last twelve months. I know I will not live forever and I know that life can change in an instant but if learned anything recently is that something from out of nowhere can impact our lives and our worlds in ways we can’t really fathom. When I first heard of COVID, before there were cases reported outside of Asia, I assumed someone in the United Stares would likely contract it but I never imagined that impact it would have on schools, restaurants, shopping it would have.
Not only I couldn’t predict how leaving the house would be affected, I also couldn’t predict how my outlook on my life would change.
And I KNOW I am fortunate, I know it sounds dramatic (and potentially inappropriate) to think of my experience with COVID in this sense, but I imagine this is what one might feel when they have a second chance at life or recovering from what is a near-fatal disease.
We die a thousand deaths in our lives. We go through a thousand moments where we feel life is going to change… but it doesn’t. There have been times where I made a mistake at work and I thought for certain I was going to be fired and I lived in fear and died a thousand times before my boss let me off the hook and I kept my job with little or no consequences. My “deaths” were fortunately for naught.
Over the past year I have had about a dozen COVID tests and I thanked God for every negative test. I had myself tested out of precaution but also because I was afraid of a lingering cough or having a symptom. While I waited for the test results I died a thousand deaths. What if I did have COVID? I started to think and plan for my real death, to be honest. Conversations I would need to have with my wife, my friends, my family. Conversations about money, legal issues, and other sensitive and difficult subjects. I thought about what I would do if the test was positive, but I also thought about what I would do if the test was negative. I believe this is the ‘bargaining’ part of grief.
When the tests came back as negative I always breathed a sigh of relief, and was thankful that my, ah, contingency plans would not have to be implemented. As things with COVID continue to trend in the right direction (although it’s still rocky) I am starting to feel a mix of excitement that the end is in sight, but I am also introspective. As in, what next?
Between the negative tests and getting vaccinated, I truly feel I have dodged a bullet. Multiple bullets. Cannonballs. In an overly dramatic way, I have been given a second chance, so to speak. So, what do I do with my life now?
About a year ago I started to think about what I would do “all we have is who we are” , what I would wear when this was all over. A year ago anything close to an end seemed impossible and so far away, yet here we (almost) are. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the hang ups about my body stop me from wearing a dress if I wanted to. And I did! And then I wondered if I should do a lingerie shoot. And I did!
But all shallowness aside, I made a promise to myself (there’s the bargaining part again) that I would do… MORE when this was over. But what does MORE mean?
I would love to know what the last twelve (or so) months have taught you. What are you going to do?