Monday, January 8, 2024

Post-Pandemic Hangover

It’s nearly four years since our lives took that big swerve into the pandemic. Has yours gone back to the same as before? Or are there new normals? Any silver linings?

Brenda here.

Happy New Year, everyone, and welcome to Eric Beetner and Harini Nagendra!

We were saying this holiday season that it feels like ages ago since we were in lockdown but it truly hasn't been that long since we were confined to our homes and couldn't gather to celebrate together. I got used to staying home during the pandemic, contacting friends and family through Zoom or by phone, and generally embracing the reclusive lifestyle. I've found this a difficult habit to break.

We were fortunate to have neighbours who dropped by regularly during those years (3?), and we got in the habit of meeting outdoors, spaced apart, even during those cold Canadian winter months. We each bought a gas fire pit and my husband tarped in our back deck for protection from the snow and wind. (with appropriate spaces for air flow). We still meet most often outdoors, although the winter meet-ups have all but stopped.

My daughter in our 'covid hut' in February (gas fire pit in the foreground)

I got used to wearing a mask indoors on those rare occasions I ventured out, and lined up for every Covid vaccine available (now up to seven shots). I don't wear a mask much anymore except for medical appointments and the like. I figure if I get sick, I've got enough immunity to weather the storm.

We were fortunate at the start of the pandemic to have Zoom, and I watched a lot of webinars this way, many hosted by Sisters in Crime. I also launched a book and took part on panels via Zoom. My local crime fiction group, Capital Crime Writers, still has guest speakers using Zoom as do other organizations, and I tune in when I can. My last book launch for When Last Seen was a party at Irene's Pub, although I'm reminding myself to also make use of Zoom next time around.

As for silver linings, I wouldn't say there was much about going through a pandemic that feels like a blessing on first blush. Too many people lost their lives or lost someone close to them. Too many suffered and continue to suffer with the after-effects. The terror of those first weeks in lockdown is something I hope we never have to experience again. Yet I know that we've come out stronger with even more appreciation for the people in our lives. I for one don't take this life for granted anymore, and try to live every day to its fullest and to accept more invitations - to go outside my comfort zone. Still, it's nice some days simply to snuggle in with a good book and let the world carry on without me taking part - if anything, the pandemic has made this a more acceptable pastime!


Instagram & Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor

X: brendaAchapman


Catriona McPherson said...

I was just reading two books set in 2021, Brenda, and both of them had people saying "Are you vaxxed?" and then flinging off the masks, feeling bullet-proof. That was a nice moment, wasn't it? If we had known then how much more of it there was to go . . . Cx

Brenda Chapman said...

The vaccines have saved lives, no doubt about that. Yes, Catriona, we had no idea how long this would last. We believed at the start it would only be weeks!

Susan C Shea said...

When I think back to March 2020, I think it was so weird and such a life changer. But when I was in the midst, my brain just adapted and I went into sure-I'll-wash-the-full-milk-carton mode. You, maybe because you're in Canada, had a lot more vaccines and boosters than we here in the US were offered. I still mask at the grocery store, the doctor's office, etc - inside, closed spaces with people. Not outdoors at the farmers market anymore, although I did during the strange, confusing times. Stay well, stay productive, and happy new year!

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Susan and Happy New Year to you too!