In March of last year, we started down the path of quarantine and lockdowns across the globe. In my own state, we were on lockdown with only essential stores being open for about 30 days. It was a rough time, especially because it happened during my birthday. We all managed as best as we could but what was supposed to last only a few weeks has turned into an entire year of masks, social distancing, and for some, staying home until this whole thing blows over. Here’s what our team has been up to this past year and how we’ve been handling things so far…
“This past year has been a haze for me. I lost my grandmother at the start of it all and I worked from home for about a month when Florida had their lockdown. I also had a birthday but honestly, I don’t remember what we did. I remember two gifts I was given (a backpack and a Baxter Stockman POP! figure). I remember missing my trips to Disney Springs and the theme parks and in their place, I played a lot of Animal Crossing (I bought the last copy the day before lockdown). I realize now I gained 10lbs, my mental health got better but also suffered in other areas. I wrote a lot for GeekMom. And I’ve backed off on my social media presence. I wish I could say I did some great things with all the time we’ve had that we couldn’t use to live our normal lives, but I can’t. I can say that I’ve survived and that’s a plus.” – Dakster Sullivan
“In February of 2020, I mentioned a book I had just read—A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen—that takes place after a global pandemic. At the time, we’d been hearing about this novel coronavirus in the news, so the connection was notable, but we were still a month away from lockdowns in the US and it still seemed mostly like a curious coincidence rather than ominous foreshadowing. Right after lockdowns started, I wrote about tabletop gaming at a distance, thinking we might need some temporary measures for playing board games while we waited for everything to blow over. I didn’t realize that the majority of my gaming in 2020 would end up being on-screen, and I’m grateful for the technology that makes it possible (though I’m still really looking forward to playing games in person again).
My family has made various adjustments, rearranging our house to make room for three kids in distance learning. My wife, a family doctor, still sees patients in person a couple of days a week, but we also set up a home office area for the days when she does video visits instead. A few months into the pandemic we upgraded our internet service for more bandwidth. We’ve been fortunate—we have the space that we can each have a separate space (more or less) for school and work, which has made it a little easier to “shelter in place,” and as a result, we’ve continued to stay home as much as possible without extending our bubble outside of the immediate family. There was always a bit of concern because my wife still needed to see patients at work, but now that she’s gotten her vaccine that has relieved a little of the stress.” – Jonathan Liu
“Here in South America, we watched the developments of the Covid-19 emergency with bafflement at first, and increasing horror, afterward.
Since a mandated quarantine was on the horizon, one year ago I took one of the last planes towards my hometown, to stay with my mom in the countryside. It was a bleak time because I had suffered the loss of my 4-year-old one year prior, and just the thought of nurses, oxygen, and hospitals made me sick with anxiety. We ended up staying there for 60 days, until May, not working very much, just… adjusting.
Since we live in an apartment, it was a wise move: my husband had to leave his office and start working from home, and by the time we all got back together, the routines were well established, and we learned to live with this thing. One year of an emergency cannot be fathomed as one, it’s the new way of living. We have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world, and we’ve learned to go out to play, to interact, to talk, with masks and sanitizer. My 9-year-old has learned about Among Us and Zoom, of course, but he also gets to play hide and seek at the local playground, and I’m grateful for that. Many kids are stuck indoors, in small apartments, and have been under a sort of “house arrest” for the entire year. That will take its toll, and we as parents have to be able to search for solutions, human interaction, and warmth because this is far from over.” – Mariana Ruiz
“One year of quarantine later, I’ve bought a house, sold a house, and moved (a block and a half away from the previous house); I started South Asians for Justice and Equity, a local social justice group; wrote a screenplay and script bible for a sitcom; tried my hand at dating for the first time in 28 years (didn’t go so well, but that’s okay, cuz I got material for the said screenplay); binged lots (and lots) of television; consumed many books and audiobooks; relearned to knit; and have rediscovered the joy of long phone conversations with my friends.” – Nivi Engineer
“I can’t talk about 2020 without talking about how much I still like all the members of my family. Together in one place so long with very limited access to excursions or out-of-the-house breaks, they are still the people I would choose to spend my time with. That’s really encouraging to me, that the people I Iove are still the people I like. That I love and like them as much as I thought I did. There were a lot of things that didn’t happen this year. My all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World was canceled. All of our vacations and camping trips didn’t happen. My 40th birthday celebration with college pals in New York is going to have to wait for 41. But with the ability to work home, I spent more time with my kids this year. They spent more time learning how to play with each other and take care of each other. Our house is just as messy, our laundry still undone, but I can count the days of this year in board games played, crafts accomplished and hugs, so many hugs. I can’t wait for the world to return to some kind of normalcy, but there are parts of 2020 that I hope never go away.” – Sarah Pinault