It has been such a strange year. I thought 2019 was a tough year because I had some personal stuff to work through. I remember being so grateful when the calendar flipped to 2020. It felt like I was able to breathe easy for a few minutes because I could package 2019 away.
Then came January, and we all know how it rolled out. My husband is in the medical field and a very astute observer of the "big picture." Way back then he suggested that I start stocking up on foodstuffs and household products that would last. I didn't quite believe him when he suggested that the virus that was closing down China would come here and have a similar effect. It felt like the plot of an apocolypse novel. I love apocolypse novels but I never wanted to live through one. I did what he suggested so when toilet paper, bleach, paper towels, and hand sanitizers dissappeared from the shelves, we had a solid stockpile. In March the girls school closed down for two weeks to help "flatten the curve," and they haven't returned yet. Our schools reopened in August in a virtual platform. In September they offered a hybrid reintegration of students into the classroom. We opted to stay virtual and see how the roll out went. I wanted less chaos for my kids and at that time I expected the schools to have to close down. That hasn't happened. The school is open, students are attending, and they've not had to shut to doors.
My girls will be returning to in-person instruction in October. While there have been perks to schooling at home, they can eat at their desks, they can go to clsss without shoes, they can vent to me when they feel singled out or corrected, there have also been losses. Both of my kids have felt isolated through this experience, just like every person who has taken to heart social distancing. They miss seeing their friends in real life and not through a screen. They have missed their teachers and the experience of be part of something bigger than themselves. They will never forget 2020, the year the pandemic stopped the world on it's axis.
This morning I saw news that the President and his wife have contracted COVID-19. One of the first posts I saw when I opened Facefook was a post from a friend who I think of as big-hearted, kind, loving, with a generous spirit. The post stated the fact, "HE HAS COVID!" The post did not give any indication about how the poster felt about this. It was a fact. Then I read the comments, being loved and liked beneath this post, wishing ill to a man and his wife. I realized that we really are living through an apocolypse. Regardless of political stance, how can a person with any sense of humanity wish ill or death on another? This is what social media has become. It is a place where people can be ugly and feel encouraged and celebrated to do so. It's a plague and it is destroying our humanity.
Several weeks ago I was in some distress over everything that was happening in the world. It felt like our country was imploding. I was walking a precarious ledge and was feeling the oppressiveness in my daily life. I want to be aware of what is happening in the world, I want to be an informed citizen. I want to cast my vote and feel confident that I made a decision. In order for me to regain my balance, I had to turn away from the screen. Every news channel has an agenda, even our search engines and social media have agendas. They control what information we see and therefore shape our opinions. They present "information" to roil our emotions. They roil our emotions to cause us to react and then they report on our reactions as if they did not have a hand in creating the climate that caused us to react. With that being said, I am unplugging for a while. I am physically removing social media from my phone. I will still support local author events but from my computer, which doesn't go everywehere with me. I'm tired of feeling tethered. I'm not going to watch any more theatrical "news." I will read the news from sources that I feel are unbiased. I will read nothing that begins with "BREAKING NEWS."
Perhaps all of that is why my kids are finally going to go back to school. They need to remember that we are people, they need to stay connected to their humanity. They need to remember that we are more alike than we are different. We all do.