A chronicle of the last two years

I read something the other day which said something like “two years ago in January 2020”, and it stumped me. Are we already two years later?

January 2020, I went up to see a friend in Edinburgh with narry a worry. February of 2020, I went with a friend for a ski trip to North Italy over a long weekend. It was the early moments of Covid, and at Milan airport people were having their temperature taken. Two days later we had guidance to suggest anyone returning from that region should self-isolate, which we dutifully did for 14 days. A week later we were all given the order to stay home.

It is genuinely astounding to me that we are now two years into this pandemic, and we’re still unsure what this means for the future.

I quickly learned that I hated everything about lockdown, even though I had a lot of privilege. I live with my parents, so I wasn’t alone and thankfully neither were they. I could work from home with relative ease, and our team were finding ways to come together virtually in good ways. I live in an English village with a lot of fields and forests around us. I wasn’t furloughed, so could continue to work.

By nature I am a people person. I have always enjoyed the hustle and bustle of life. People doing people things. Going to the shops. Meeting friends to hang out. Last minute plans. Getting on the tube. Being in an office. All of that and more like that energises me thoroughly. To not have any of that quickly depleted my levels of resilience. Even after restrictions started to be lifted in summer of 2020, I was so cautious of everything.

We were literally told we could not trust those closest to us for fear we could pass the virus to them. Covid-19 was running rampant and there were 1000s of deaths a day. A day. I read that back and I am floored.

I have innate trust in those I meet. To be told, repeatedly, that others were now dangerous to our health… I need a moment.

We knew so little about transmission of the virus and how to mitigate against it. Wearing of masks we were initially told would be ineffective, and eventually told they would be vital for going to shops, restaurants, etc. Social distancing was important, and then we had inane and hard to understand rules about how to respect that. Friends of mine refused to see their family members because they didn’t want to indirectly infect them.

In the height of all this, we also had news of the killing of George Floyd, and the outpouring of support and raising of awareness about anti-racism. We were learning that lockdown and the virus were hitting ethnic minorities and the poorest harder. Inequalities in society were heightened like never before. It genuinely felt like the fabric of civil society was now broken.

Then came the second wave and it hit us all hard. We went back into full lockdown in January 2021. One whole year had passed, and we were no closer to returning to any level of normal. Who even knew what normal meant anymore?

The early days of the vaccinations were so significant. Much was made of the speed at which the drugs were manufactured and the concern about testing of the vaccinations. And thankfully, the science was reliable and vaccinations have helped reduce the severity of illness.

For the best part of the last two years, my children have been faring far better than may be expected. They’re young enough to be resilient to most illnesses, but I think benefited from spending time with their mother some days of the week, and with me at other times. And when schools re-opened fully, they adjusted as well as they could. I rather think it’s parents who were more perturbed about the schooling than the kids. I’m not talking about those studying GCSEs, ‘A’ Levels, or other higher education. Clearly there were decisions made that affected education negatively in many ways.

In summer of 2021 we had a family holiday at Center Parcs for a week. It was a fab holiday break, and am grateful we had that planned. Ordinarily as a family we have regular breaks abroad, but with various global restrictions it just wasn’t feasible to do.

And later in 2021 we had the murders of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa due to male violence, and reminded once more about the ongoing problem of male violence itself and male violence against women in particular.

Over Christmas and New Year, I gave myself complete downtime. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. And coming back to a regular routine of work is much needed to start to restart and refill those goal-setting and goal-achievement buckets. But I’m giving myself a wider berth and self-compassion for how this all goes in 2022.

This blog post is more of a reflective piece. A short chronicle of things that have remained with me in the last two years.

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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

One thought on “A chronicle of the last two years”

  1. Thank you, Sukh. As much as I sometimes don’t want to reflect on and remember the last two years, it’s important to do so, I think. It’s respectful, and helpful. Reading your thoughts and experiences provides me with a sense of solidarity, lessens my feelings of being alone in how I feel and what I’ve experienced (as the daughter of a clinically extremely vulnerable person and the wife of a person with a compromised immune system, some of my friends don’t understand the extreme restrictions we have had to put on ourselves as a family), and helps me process. I agree with you, it’s truly astounding what we all have been through as individuals and as societies. Unfortunately I’m still left with a lot of frustration and anger but I know that’s normal too. Hopefully this year will bring more hope and positive change than the last two.

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