As far as I can tell, today is the one-year anniversary of the last time I spontaneously went anywhere. The mall, in case you were wondering. Just because I wanted to. COVID-19 was already being discussed locally, and we kind of knew that trouble was coming, but I don’t think that on March 8, 2020, I anticipated just how much our lives would change in just one short week, because that’s all the time it took for gatherings to be limited in size and schools to close, and just a little while after that, our stay at home order was put into place.
Since that moment, every trip outside of the house has been planned. I haven’t been to the mall in a year. I haven’t been to a store other than Walmart, Target, Aldi, or the grocery store since then, and even those trips were scheduled, for specific reasons. We are able to attend church in person, in limited numbers with masks and social distancing, although there was an almost four-month period when we worshipped from our living room. And we have done a few outdoor activities in the last year, including visits to Cahokia Mounds and the Missouri Botanical Garden, but again, they were deliberate, planned outings…spontaneous trips anywhere just haven’t happened.
It has been a long year. It is difficult not to focus on all of the things we have missed out on, from dinners out to field trips to holiday traditions to family gatherings to vacations. And it’s hard not to focus on the other things we will still have to miss or postpone as the world tries to find its new normal. And while I’m grateful for the extra family time we’ve had over the last year, and the very unique memories we’ve made during that time, I hope that we find that new normal soon.