About a year ago, I wrote a piece focussed on the different stages of the pandemic. Now, a year on, we’re still here. Last year we had banana bread, Tiger King and empty toilet paper shelves. Now, in 2021, we still have empty shelves, but we are no longer hooked on big cats on the telly.
The year started off with a lockdown. January is depressing enough in the average year, but coupled with a deadly virus and being stuck inside the house, it wasn’t fun. On top of all that, we all had school, work, university, and general inconveniences to get on with.
But, then, we had a glimmer of hope as the vaccinations started to roll out. Our grandparents were heading into vaccination centres and we all held so much hope for 2021. No more lockdowns, we thought. No more lonely walks, we thought. Little did we know that the anxiety would continue throughout this year, despite the vaccinations.
Coming out of lockdown, there were doubts and anxieties from many, but also excitement from others. After over a year of housebound activities and isolating from our loved ones, festivals, gigs and events are all back on, but cases kept on rising.
Maybe the worst phase of all was the Matt Hancock phase. I remember seeing a scarecrow with Hancock’s face on it in a village local to us and it was funny, but I was fed up of seeing his face and name everywhere in the news and on social media.
Prince Philip’s death is, for some reason, something that sticks in my mind and defines Spring for me this year. It felt like everyone’s mind was diverted from the pandemic for one whole day, but it also led to a lot of division online. Jokes were passed among groupchats and some viral tweets were made, but most of all it led to divisions between anti-Monarchs and pro-Monarchs both online and in-person. Nonetheless, seeing the Queen sat alone with a mask on at the funeral is an image that I’m sure a lot of people will be stuck with when they think of this year.
This year, perhaps more than any other, has divided us. From anti-Monarchists to anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers, it’s odd. Walking into a supermarket and feeling a moral superiority because you’re wearing a mask and some people aren’t isn’t something I ever thought I’d feel, but it’s happening every single time. I can’t help it, but when I see other fellow masked-up people I feel a sense of solidarity.
Unlike last year, where many industries were shut down and many individuals were given a break from work, this year we were forced to handle pandemic anxiety alongside regular day-to-day life anxiety as we were expected to work as usual. But we are eight months in and this year will be over before we know it!
Things are looking up. Most people I know have been double vaccinated and seeing people out and enjoying themselves is something that seemed near impossible just six months ago. Masks may not be mandatory, but I’ll keep on wearing mine. Who knows where we’ll be at the end of the year – but I hope it’s better than the end of last year!
Image courtesy of Adam Niescioruk.