Something strange has been happening lately, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s experienced it. Now that we’ve made it a full year into this weird Covid lifestyle, Facebook is acting as time machine of sorts, presenting me each day with memories from when it all began. Seeing these memories has led me to realize how much has changed over the past 12 months . . . and how much I’ve changed since Covid began.
You see, I’m an optimist by nature. In the beginning, I posted ideas for homeschooling (before virtual school became a thing). I headed up an old-fashioned pen pal matchmaking project for kids. I posted quotes and memes about how we would undoubtedly get through these hard times.
These are the Facebook memories I’ve seen so far. However, I know what memories lay ahead. As Covid continued and people raged about masks and conspiracy theories abounded, I lost my optimism, little by little. I became angry. Politics and online discourse of then-current events only upset me more, and as much as I’m ashamed to admit it, I often found myself arguing with complete strangers online. It was not a good use of my time by any means.
Eventually, I realized I didn’t have to participate in all the madness. I unfollowed news pages that would invariably pop up in my feed, just so I wouldn’t be tempted to respond to the comments. I pulled back on posting political content or even anything that might be seen as controversial. Because it just wasn’t worth it.
I didn’t delete the app because Facebook is still a way for me to keep in touch with family members, writing groups, and old friends, but I don’t post nearly as much as I once did. I’ve changed, mainly because I just got tired. So tired of all the hate.
The past year has been trying in so many ways. My kids have been learning from home almost the entire time. My husband had a terrible accident last fall where he broke his femur in multiple places. My mom has fallen several times and ended up in the ER at least twice. I know the past 12 months have been hard on everyone, and I don’t want to convey that I’ve had it worse than anyone else–because I know that’s not true. My heart goes out to anyone who’s dealt with extreme hardship or the loss of a family member or friend from Covid.
However, even as I consider all the bad that’s occurred, I also can’t think about these past 12 months and not recall all of the wonderful things that have happened. In some ways, it’s been one of the best times of my life because, since March of 2020, I’ve signed a contract for my first novel, completed edits on that novel, and also finished another book (my fifth completed manuscript), which I just sent to my literary agent.
I also had the opportunity to be a mentor in a contest called Author Mentor Match, where I was able to help another writer get her book into shape for querying. It’s been a great experience.
On the non-writing front, I was extremely bummed that my sister-in-law and I had to cancel our plans to travel to the Forever Twilight in Forks (Washington) festival last fall. However, Twilight fans still got a huge surprise in the form of Midnight Sun last August. It literally made last summer SO much better.
During these past 12 months, I have to say that I’ve enjoyed all this newfound space and time to slow down from the normal hubbub of life, especially in the evenings. While we used to run to sports practices, meetings, and school events most every night of the week, this past year, we’ve spent many an evening together at home, watching a movie, playing a board game, or maybe just reading (okay, it’s mainly just me doing the reading!).
A plus that’s occurred from my husband’s down time after his accident was being able to start our pool. We’ve been planning to build one for several years now, but he was finally able to start working on it this past winter. It should be completed by the coming summer!
I’ve cherished the few interactions we’ve had with family and friends over these past 12 months. An aunt and uncle and cousins I hadn’t seen in years came to spend the day with us last summer–outside, of course. My best friend, who lives out-of-state, came to stay for a few days while she was attending a local barrel race. We were also fortunate enough to have warm weather on both Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we were able to spend time with my parents outdoors.
While we haven’t been on a real vacation lately, we did take a couple of short trips to visit locations of my book settings, including Palo Duro Canyon, pictured below. So much fun! Overall, I’ve spent more time with my kids and husband this past year than ever and it’s been nice in many ways.
Yes, Covid and these past 12 months, in general, have taken much from us all, but for me, this experience has also pared down so many unnecessary things and reminded me of what is really important in life. For that, I will be forever grateful. I’m also looking forward to the rest of 2021 because I know there are good things in store–hopefully for all of us.