I’m supposed to be in Chicago right now. I’m supposed to be halfway through our Annual Meeting. I’m supposed to be going home to Wisconsin in a few days to spend time with my friends and family and kick off summer.
Sean and I were supposed to have the spring and summer here in Georiga to squeeze in as much exploring as we could before we leave here in September. We were supposed to go on a long weekend vacation in April. We were supposed to revisit our favorite restaurants.
There are so many sentences in my head that start with “supposed to.”
I’m not resentful of the fact that we’ve been forced to stay in, cancel trips, and stay away from the city center these past 10 weeks. The rational part of my brain knows this was necessary. Georgia is currently in the process of reopening, and they’ve managed to keep the total number of cases under 800 (at the time of this posting), so we can see firsthand the benefits of social distancing, the state of emergency, and general lockdown we’ve experienced since March.
However, that doesn’t stop me from mourning what was supposed to be.
I in no way want to diminish the sacrifices others have endured during this outbreak. My personal impact from COVID-19 has been relatively minor by comparison. Millions of people have become ill, and hundreds of thousands have died. Millions of people globally have been out of work since this ordeal began. When I think about those statistics for too long I get angry, frustrated, and outright devastated. Sean and I are lucky in that we have both been able to continue working and are able to stay mostly isolated from anyone that could get us sick.
I am still sad about our personal losses, though. I’m sad the outbreak and lockdown have essentially pushed me past the point of no return when it comes to wanting to go home. I started crying the other day over a bottle of dish soap that a friend left us. I had finished our bottle of (perfectly adequate) local soap and moved on to the bottle of Dawn that’s been under my sink for months. The smell of American soap was enough to make me have a minor emotional breakdown.
I’m fine. Really.
I suppose it’s normal to mourn your “old life,” especially when it was taken from you so abruptly. There’s a lot of talk about getting back to normal, but truly, I don’t know if that’s going to be possible anytime soon. As I pass points in time that were previously planned out, I’m having an easier time letting things go. I’m running out of “supposed to’s” and building a list of “hopefully’s.” Hopefully we will be able to travel a bit more before coming home. Hopefully our favorite restaurants will reopen soon. And hopefully we all can move forward safely for everyone’s sake.