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Marking My First Anniversary of Sheltering in Place

By Elena Karplus March 12, 2021 Lifestyle

March 11, 2020 will be added to the collection of significant dates in my life. It will mark the first day of staying home alone protecting myself and others from the menace of Covid-19. I have written before about the trials and tribulations of this time in solitude and the flickers of recognition that I’ve had of who I am.

The essay also covered what I’ve learned throughout my life to bring me to that point when all of a sudden, I was utterly alone and yet somehow able to stay calm and find balance. To be in charge of my emotions and wait it all out hoping for better days.

I’ve made each day count for sure. With little things, with big things, and most importantly with the normal ups and downs of life which exist with or without Covid.

Now with the added component of being totally isolated from the most important people in my life, unable to be visited or to visit them, and limiting my social interactions to seeing images of them on Zoom and hearing their precious voices on the phone daily.

Love from Everywhere

Throughout the year, I kept in touch with people around the globe, and all along I have felt an outpouring of love. It has felt almost like a ray of sunshine or strong energy pointing straight at my home. Straight at my heart.

While I allowed myself to indulge in sadness and frustration at times, I’ve recovered quickly to embark on my next project, on my next article, on my next recipe, on my next essential chat with a friend, on my next painting, on my next Netflix series, on my next moment, hour, day, week and month.

Becoming an Observer

In this year I have become an observer who can see without doing, without participating in that world that still exists outside the confines of my home. I have seen so much of the world sitting in my little cottage by myself.

There’s been strife everywhere. Families, including my own, grieving the loss of loved ones. Entire countries deserted and locked down.

Where I live, there have been changes of government, a new president, a first ever woman vice president, over 500,000 deaths from the virus and demonstrations on the streets of entire cities in protests sparked by anger and frustration.

I have also watched people being kind to one another. Helping seniors, helping neighbors. Teaching children. Cooking, shopping, fetching, and caring for one another. I watched art and music and creativity of expression all around me.

The world was turning with or without me and waiting for me to join in when it was safe for me to do so. In the meantime, I felt very strongly that my contribution to being part of the solution that we were all striving for was to stay home and support and allow the essential workers to do their job of keeping us safe and sound by keeping myself safe and sound and out of the way.

And Then Came a Ray of Hope

In a short nine months, scientists developed vaccinations, and in February I had my second shot of the Covid Moderna vaccine. It is hard to describe the joy I felt to qualify so quickly to receive it.

One of my friends commented that “there has to be some reward to being our age!” I am thankful for my “advanced” age for more reasons than that, but I agree that getting the vaccine qualified as a biggie.

While being the recipient of this jewel of science does not award me total freedom and requires me to continue to be cautious, wear my mask, wash my washed out hands and keep distance from other humans, I can now do some of the things that represent my daily routines before Covid.

Simple things. Important things. Reading my book at the beach. Going to the park for a walk. Buying my own groceries in the market. Breathing easier and, little by little, joining that world that I so love and yearn to be a part of.

The pandemic is not over yet, but at last there is hope that it can be in a nearer future if we all use what we’ve learned from our first year and keep moving forward with the knowledge that we’ve painstakingly acquired.

My Reward and Ultimate Prize

As I write this, my son, his wife, and my three grandchildren are driving from Georgia to see me in Miami. I can’t describe my emotions so I will just let you guess them, and you’ll be right, of course.

I still have seven more grandchildren and another three kids and their spouses to see, but like the vaccine, I know that will come even sooner than I ever imagined.

How are you marking this first year of Covid-19? What are your highlights and low points? What have you learned in this year of “observing the world go around”?

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The Author

Elena is originally from Argentina and has lived in seven cities on four continents around the world. She is a writer, an artist, the mother of four, and grandmother of 10. She travels extensively and lives in Coconut Grove, Miami. She writes about topics of interest to herself and her peers.

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