Please, 2020, No More Sequels

New Year’s Eve, 2021. Tomorrow, we start the third official year of the pandemic. Would whoever’s in charge of such things turn off 2020 before midnight tonight? Please?

2021 seemed like 2020, Pt. 2. The pandemic plodded on, largely thanks to its biggest fans, anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers, who thought the only thing wrong with the pandemic was that it might not last long enough. While shouting about how they wanted to be free of the pandemic and its restrictions, they did everything they could to assure us all that it wouldn’t end. Thanks!

Wildfire season, again, entered and was the Drama Queen that literally sucked up all the oxygen in the room for multiple states.

Between wildfires and Covid, there was a theme to 2020 and 2021: breathing. Call it the era of Waiting To Inhale.

We’re still dealing with Long Covid here, 20 months later. Definitely better than I was a year ago, but the big excitement for me was getting on the waiting list for my health care provider’s Long Covid program (which hasn’t started yet). Now it has a name: PASC. Here’s a hint for those with Long Covid looking for a doctor: ask what that doctor thinks about PASC. My old doctor didn’t “believe” in Long Covid, as though we were talking about the Tooth Fairy. My current doctor? Filled in the acronym and proceeded to discuss the latest research she’d read about. This was the year I learned to advocate for myself. A friend who works in healthcare said, “Always remember this is a service industry. You are a customer and if you don’t like how you’re treated, you might go somewhere else, and we’re unemployed. If you need something you aren’t getting, speak up!”

A doctor is a business partner. You have to work together to improve your health, and you have to be able to both understand and trust the advice you’re given. You have to be able to communicate. You have to know that you are heard and your concerns are considered. If all of that isn’t true, you might need a new doctor — and don’t be shy about finding a new one.

My own personal pandemic is entering its fourth year. I was just getting over a mysterious and scary illness (that turned out to be a reaction to a virus), when I caught Covid. Yet I still believe the pandemic will eventually end. Mom used to say that everything ends, and if the bad news about that is that good things end, the good news is that bad things end. She also said “Better is always coming. The trick is to hang on until it arrives.”

So hang on. Keep masking when you should, get vaccinated if you haven’t, and cut yourself a big slice of slack. This decade has a lot of room for improvement. When things get better, you want to be able to enjoy it. So rest. Meditate. Listen to music and dance around the house. Pet a dog. Laugh whenever you can. Forgive as much as you can. Be the light until the sun shines again. You are more remarkable than you suspect and more glorious than you know. Give yourself room to stretch out and shine or incubate and rest, whatever you need.

And if you’re the person who should have turned 2020 off, you’re forgiven, but please flip that switch now, please and thank you.

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