If you would've asked me back in January, what 2020 would look like, I couldn't possibly have guessed that it would have gone as it has. I suppose no one could have anticipated for a global disaster of this scale and therein lies the truth that we really have no control in the grand scheme of things. It's a scary thought and one that I'd never fully considered until now.
Around the time that things started to heat up during the pandemic in the US, I had to make some quick and big decisions in regards to moving out of the city. My 'work family', a job I enjoyed and my close-knit group of friends were all in New York. Moving was a tough decision, as I didn't feel like I'd gotten the closure I wanted, however I ended up slipping out of Manhattan right before things got bad. What I didn't realize at the time of my (very) short notice move back to VA, was that in a matter of days-- the place that I'd called home for two years would become the global epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic. A city that was bubbling over with life in the scorching, smelly-trash scented summer months -- and equally bustling during the rosy-cheeked winters, was suddenly empty.
At the time of my decision to move, pandemic fears were just starting to hit the news circuit and hot spots were flaring up in major cities across the country. I was back in VA visiting Dan and interviewing for a new job. The idea of moving back home was something that was months off in my mind and I was planning on taking my time to say goodbye to New York and the life I'd built there. However things rapidly began shifting-- offices closing down, and there was rumored talk about shutting off the roads in the city. I knew realistically that if things got worse, I could end up stuck, away from family in Manhattan for months and potentially risk exposure in an overpopulated city. The truth is, I was scared.
Being the incredible support system that Dan has been since I've known him, he agreed to drive through the night with me that same day over 8 hours to New York City. The goal was to help me move all of my things out of my apartment in the Upper East Side before there was any potential of transit shutting down or risk of further exposure as the virus staked a more permanent claim in the city. We left after work on a Friday, got into the city around 3am, slept for a handful of hours, then woke up early to pack. We had his truck as full as we could manage and ready to go by the next evening, then it was another long and exhausting drive home.
I stayed with Dan in his former apartment for the rest of March while we fully quarantined for a 2 week period and I continued working for CafeMedia remotely. We were still early in our relationship and I truly believe that in a weird way, this disaster brought us closer. After 3 weeks living together, his landlord gave me one nights notice to move out-- citing me as a health liability for the other roommates. Luckily for me, the Roses took me in and gave me a comfortable and loving home to stay in during what would shape up to be a bumpy and emotional month for me.
Many of my friends got laid off in the city at the beginning of the pandemic (I didn't know yet, that in a few months I would be laid off as well). About a week prior to when I was supposed to start my new job in VA, I got the email that so many people have dreaded this year. Due to Covid-19 creating financial tension in the company, my job title had been cut and I would no longer be starting with the company.
Wrapping up remote work the next week and saying goodbye to a team and company that I loved (CafeMedia) was hard. Coupled with no longer having a job to move forward into, I felt lost. Navigating unemployment benefits was emotionally and mentally taxing-- more so than I had expected. Being questioned left and right, getting disconnected, feeling misunderstood and helpless. I didn't see any benefits for months. Having real bills, real struggles, and few job prospects made the weight of the world feel extra heavy.
A lot has changed since that time in so many of our lives, yet in a lot of ways-- many of the emotional dilemmas, fatigue and anxiety remains the same. Time seems to be marching forward quickly into a new season of the year and I find myself wondering where the past 8 months have gone. I'm sure that I'm not the only one feeling this way right now.
The past months have moved quickly in speed yet slow in rhythm. Leaning into November, I walk humbly into a new season of life-- unsure once more of what's to come. But after such a long period of shutting myself off and trying to find space to heal, cope, and breathe among so many changes-- I think the most healing thing of all is to come back to the things that make my soul feel joy. One of which, is writing from the heart and opening myself up to those around me. I hope you'll follow along as I jump back into sharing my story and experiences more in the months to come on this blog.
If you're having a tough time too right now, just know that you truly aren't alone. I'm right there with you, and I am sending you so much positivity right now. We'll get through this weird time and come out stronger on the other side.