Today, my last day of being 66, I awoke to blue skies (skylight above my bed) after a week of rain/snow and cloudy days and it was a nice day reaching 80 degrees! But snow is forecast for a couple days out.   We are used to many days of sunshine in Colorado and it makes life seem more positive.  Today, I was able to eat on a semi-patio with a friend for lunch and enjoy a nice breeze and fresh air while we dined and chatted as we had not been together in over a year.

Who would have thought I’d even say or think I’d want to stay 66?  Not when I was younger for sure!  It’s an even number and just sounds better than 67 because that inches me closer to 70 which sounds like a much older start to a decade.  It’s all a state of mind, right?  Most of us don’t feel old, and may not act our age whatever that means.  We just endure a few more aches and pains and wonder where did the time go?  It seems to fly faster every year you age!  Of course, we all have many stories, and pasts full of challenges, triumphs and joys.  And this year I’ve been able to firm up plans for a goal I am working so that gives me a project for the future.

It’s been quite a year I must admit!  The 20’s came in with a roar!  Will we repeat last century?  Last year I was dining outdoors in my parking space with my son and this year I am able to go out with friends to restaurants again.  Covid hit hard with many restaurants and stores closing permanently.  This makes me sad as many were my favorites and there are few places left to shop for clothes.   Though I knew several who weathered the virus, many who lost family and friends, and know anti-maskers and anti-vaccers, I haven’t lost anyone close to me due to covid to date. My grandson had a bad case early on including pneumonia and hoping that it doesn’t have lasting effects.

Other than covid, I have two sisters who had other serious medical conditions in 2020. Thankfully, so far so good, but covid made it difficult as they couldn’t have hospital visitors and made us more reluctant to be around them in their compromised conditions. One can’t even get the vaccine!   And she had to travel out of state for care at the Mayo clinic, so we all helped in various ways taking care of her home, dog, bills and some traveling there to be with her for a week or more.

Thank goodness for pets during this past year!  As a single person who has spent much adult time alone, I treasure my three cats for the company they provided as we were home together during the lockdown for days at a time.   They saw me laugh and cry and gave me entertainment and affection. Even the trips to the vet for checkups were altered by not going in with your pet, instead the tech came to the car to retrieve and return each pet. Mine is now a household of seniors (me and the cats) and we are doing pretty well. There were a couple of times when I ventured out last spring for an appointment or groceries and found myself crying on the way home as I didn’t know when I’d get out again. Just driving around on the less crowded streets was an adventure and a change of scenery. I was so relieved when the craft and book stores opened again!

It was also a relationship-altering year.  I am lucky to have many friends and family. At first many called to check in and then those calls became less frequent over time.  During lockdown we weren’t supposed to get together, but only  a few friends would see me with masks and social distancing, but not often. On my birthday last year, one friend appeared on my doorstep in a mask and the big yellow rubber dishwashing gloves on and handed me a gift bag with toilet paper and paper towels in it. It was quite the site and I got a laugh and some useful gifts!  Some of us met in parks for meetings or meals when the weather was good.  I was also thankful my grandson was around many weekends for some company, conversation and help.  But overall, every individual has varying levels of comfort which I have to respect, even now, about getting together and it has weakened some relationships and strengthened others. Luckily, I am used to solitude, and keep myself busy at home and always have plenty to keep me occupied.

As you know, Zoom meetings became the go-to venue for all sorts of meetings and trainings.  Of course, I took advantage of other webinars as well and u-tube.  My yoga class moved to zoom and appreciated being at home during the winter months where you didn’t have dress up, take the time to travel to and from meetings.   But Zoom doesn’t allow for as much interpersonal relationships such as individual conversation and touching (handshakes or hugs).  Even my grandson’s basketball games were televised, which was better than missing them altogether, but he even agreed they are better in person with crowd’s cheering.  It was odd to just hear the bounce of the ball on the court and the squeaks of their shoes as they ran back and forth.  I think some zooming may continue indefinitely, but hopefully many meetings will return to in-person at some point.

Masks may be here to stay too like in Asia.  I agree that they are rather nice in the winter to keep the cold air off your face and nasal passages, as well as providing a barrier to those pesky cold and flu germs. I certainly made my share of masks this past year, having a wardrobe of masks for holidays and matching outfits, and made some for friends as well.

Historically thinking, I can’t imagine how lonely it must have been during the 1918 pandemic. Many people were isolated, as there were few cars and little public transportation.  There was no Amazon to bring you whatever you need, nor delivery services to bring you food to your door.  And other than chores, there would have been little entertainment like television, Netflix, computers, and cell phones. I imagine some may have died from hunger alone or unable to get to medical care that they needed. Certainly, we have better medical care now, and the vaccine was developed relatively quickly.  Given all that, we have little to complain about at this point.  We are after all, social beings.

And 2002 saw the elections and a return to some political sanity. It was a rough four years, and it feels great to put those behind us, and get the shovel out to clean up the mess left behind.  There is a lot that needs repaired and with things opening up slowly, perhaps more people can get back to work and recover financially.  Thank goodness the government stepped in to lend a hand, but many people need much more help!   Hopefully those of us who have a bit more have shared some with those who don’t.   Women faired the worse as they are often left to be caretakers, and often the first to be let go at work.

Let’s hope we’ve learned some lessons over this pandemic, and are better prepared for the future.  I know it’s been a more introspective time than most of us could have imagined. I remember thinking the shut down would only last a couple of weeks or a month. Now it has stretched into over a year, and really is not over yet.  I am not sure we can ever totally return to pre-covid days; it remains to be seen. Now, as tradition has it, the youth of today will have their own stories to tell their grandchildren about these times.

Next year will I wish to remain 67?

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