The CDC announced last Friday that the mask is no longer required in most cases. Today at work, it was officially declared that we no longer have to wear masks (we are all required to be vaccinated.) I’m very excited and honestly quite emotional!
My job has always required some mask use, as I work in a lab, but we are free to go maskless in the break areas, walking through the lab halls, a good portion of the day!
Of course, the mask mandate was temporary lifted last summer for a short period of time before omicron. It may sound presumptuous, but I’m going to go ahead and say that the worst is over now. Or at the very least, we can celebrate this little victory.
Obviously I am not an anti-masker and I understand why it was required for so long. But to see that it is no longer necessary is very relieving. It was not only a minor annoyance, but a symbol — a constant reminder that we are living in a pandemic, the disconnection between humans, a cautious and fearful new way of living.
I have tried not to write too many posts about the pandemic, trying not to dwell on it too hard, although I have definitely shared some thoughts on it over the past two years. But I do think it’s important that we remain open and talk about how all of us have struggled through this. I do not want to hear anyone say “it didn’t affect me” — like “I never went out anyway, I was wearing masks to the grocery store for the past twenty years anyway, I was living in a hole for the past two years anyway.” Oh please, this has deeply affected ALL of us! So let’s be honest and open about it.
We all know someone, personally or at least mutually, who has passed away or hospitalized due to Covid. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of these people. This was an absolute devastation.
Many people lost their jobs. Many people found out that they sadly can earn more money through unemployment. Many people were forced to move out of their office and work from home. Kids had to switch to online schooling. Parents had to balance homeschooling with full time jobs. College kids were robbed of their college years, what’s supposed to be the experience of stepping out into the real world and making new friends. Recent grads began their new jobs with no idea what their co-workers faces looked like!
I was fortunate enough to have a job that allowed me security, as an essential worker I was still able to come into work every day, and did not have to stress about downsizing. Working in pharmaceuticals, the pandemic actually had the opposite affect, in that my workload was doubled because my company was overbooking studies out of fear of losing clients. The pandemic resulted in an extreme amount of overtime. But through it all, I always told myself I would rather have to work extra than not have a job at all.
My job was really the rock that was holding me down through this whole situation, so my heart goes out to those who’s jobs let people go or forced them to stay home. Not only the pandemic, I went through a major breakup, plus moving to a new home, a new town, and most especially changes with my Mom. It’s been an extremely intense past few years. My job has been the only consistent, repetitious, reliable thing in my life. It’s what keeps me sane through the constant changes of life.
I’m a little bit antisocial, but even so, I couldn’t imagine being forced to work at home every single day. Especially because I live alone (with my cats.) You don’t realize how thankful you are for the slightest amount of social interaction until you are forced into a worldwide quarantine. Through this pandemic, I learned that I’m actually not quite as antisocial as I thought!
But even when you’re around people, to see everyone covered in masks, it certainly brings a stronger sense of disconnection. To have conversations without seeing peoples expressions or being able to clearly hear their voice because it’s all muffled is rough. I’m a quiet girl and at least half of my conversation is through my facial expressions. It really makes you feel that much more disconnected.
The pandemic really brought so much uncertainly. Waking up every day and checking the Covid stats. Unsure if there would be a spike or a wane, if the trend would be consistent or not, if the CDC would make an announcement or not. Things are still uncertain, but I am feeling optimistic that the worst is over.
When you’re going through hardship, you do not realize how much you were struggling until you look back from a distance. I do believe that the worst is over.