A year ago this same day, BC declared a state of emergency in response to Covid-19. Schools and daycares were to close immediately, without any re-opening date planned. Soon, restaurants, places of entertainment and other non-essential services were also shut down. Thousands of people lost their livelihood overnight, myself included.
Airplanes were grounded and thousands of people scrambled to return home; others had to cancel vacation plans and weren’t sure if they would be refunded, myself included. On a side note, I was fully refunded…last week.
Although BC never officially had a lockdown, it definitely felt that way. Many shops operated at reduced hours, and with not much to do, we had no choice but to stay home.
I also remember that I needed to buy groceries on this particular day. Upon arriving at the supermarket, I was shocked to find most shelves bare. I had never seen this or experienced food insecurity in my entire life. This situation would last for a few weeks.
The first 3 months were the hardest
Like most people and governments, I was totally unprepared for this. The things I took for granted disappeared overnight. Suddenly, going to a store was stressful. I couldn’t see my friends and family anymore. I couldn’t do most of the activities I enjoyed. I felt isolated like never before. I no longer had any income. I saw my retirement portfolio took a nosedive. I found myself home pretty much 24/7.
Resilience and adaptation
As unpleasant and stressful as the above points were, I adapted. I definitely was able to do so and be resilient since last year. More than I thought I could be.
Our governments quickly implemented several emergency financial programs, like CERB. Coupled with my savings, it was my financial lifeline for 6 months.
Then, I deferred my mortgage. Doing so allowed me to keep my condo, stay in it and get back on my feet, financially.
My home became my sanctuary. My unexpected free time allowed me to make giant progress towards obtaining my MBA. For the first time, I saw my singledom and childlessness as a blessing, rather than the usual curse. I also finally realized there is more to me than my relationship status.
I started taking better care of myself. Without any particular diet or effort, I lost 20 pounds! The only things I did was cooking pretty much all my meals from scratch and walking on a daily basis. I hadn’t been that fit in a very long time.
I also realized how senseless and mindless I could still be with my money, at times. And I am a personal finance blogger! The pandemic showed me I don’t need to spend that much to meet my needs and some of my wants.
The social aspect, however still proves to be challenging. I have limited face-to-face interactions, and I crave these! I realized I didn’t have as many friends as I thought; it was bittersweet.
Hopeful for the future
My perspective has changed. Items or matters that I previously considered important or urgent, no longer are today. I find I have a lower tolerance level for people getting wrapped-up about inconsequential matters.
I also know that I both need and want a better social life, with more fulfilling relationships. This is something I am definitely going to work on, once conditions allow me to do so.
I am itching to travel. I am a lifelong traveler. I now know for sure this won’t change.
I won’t go as far as saying this pandemic was a ‘blessing”. It definitely is a tragedy that claimed 2.6 million lives and impacted billions of others.
But there were some silver-linings, particularly at personal levels. We needed to slow down. We needed to appreciate what we have more, and reflect on what’s important. It’s exactly what I’ve been doing over the last year.
Now, I am waiting for my turn to receive the vaccine. The end is near. I survived, and perhaps even thrived a little.