2020 is going to be a year that began with and ended with coronavirus.
Walking outside without a mask, seeing friends, having music jams in the park, going to karaoke, all seem like things of another era.
A lot of people lost their lives to this virus, and still more lost their livelihood and way of life as businesses and schools closed, income dried up, and all they could do was stay at home and grapple with the pandemic stress with no foreseeable light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel.
I started out optimistic, even as I saw others start to crumble, I tried to stay resilient, using what resources I did have creatively to make the best of a rapidly declining situation.
However, pandemic stress and the feeling of helplessness from wanting to do so many things, but needing to put the needs of others first gradually took its toll. I tried my best to stave off a C-PTSD flare up and was able to for several months, but after about 6 months I unfortunately did have an intense relapse. However even with flare ups and relapses, I now have a whole array of tools and strategies to manage, and I quickly thought of a plan to incorporate more meditation, and use a few seratonin-increasing supplements. I also contacted our family physician to let him know the situation, and he advised me to stay on the course I was on, but if needed he would refer me to a psychiatrist and help me to get a prescription as well. A different physician also advised me on how I could get a 329 card for medical marijuana, as cannabis has amazing benefits for anxiety and PTSD. Anyway, after a few short weeks of using the more natural methods within my reach, I felt a lot better and was able to regroup and refocus on my goals.
The pandemic has given a lot of us a gift of more time to slow down and stay at home. Because of that, I have been able to really reorganize and optimize my home so my family and I and the roommates we are able to welcome are able to enjoy it more. This year, both our shower and breaker panel needed total refurbishment which was an expense I hadn't planned for and wasn't excited about, but because of that I took the steps to refinance our mortgage to get a lower rate, consolidate some other debts, and streamline and optimize our finances as well.
Our libraries may be closed, but anyone with a library card can still access a wealth of information using the online resources, including various certification courses which I've been enjoying. Of course, watching interesting TV shows like Euphoria, Black Mirror, Impractical Jokers Dinner Party, and the new episodes of Archer and Superstore have been enjoyable and offered some laughs and escapes, but learning more about Microsoft Office, Social Media Managing, and Cryptocurrencies might actually serve more of a purpose in the professional world going forward. I mean, it's easy to get comfortable in a job, especially when it's a job I enjoy, but things always change and I am always happy when there's an opportunity to move forward and upward! If someone had told me 5 years ago that I would go from barely above minimum wage working as basically the one day neighbor island trip equivalent version of a Walmart greeter, to overnight shifts at a call center that usually only hires native Japanese speakers earning almost double the wages, I wouldn't have believed them! But now that I know it's possible for me to climb that ladder, I feel like there are a lot of other possibilities out there. So while I would be content to work at both of my current jobs until I'm a senior citizen, it's exciting to imagine what could be, and to never stop growing and seeking it out.
Even so, my online job search back in the spring led me to dead end after dead end and it was discouraging. The online work from home hiring pool was oversaturated and continues to be steadily crowded now in this new era. And the one section of the market that I did get various offers from, which is the Chinese ESL online tutor business sector, dried up due to my Internet speed being too low so I shelved that while I tried to find other solutions. However, since my main call center job has been work from home for over 6 months and is continuing in that way for the forseeable future, I realized my internet bill is now a work expense. So I made the decision to change our Internet provider to get a faster connection that would support my daughter's e-learning, future roommate's remote school and work, and for me, teaching online.
And our roommate finished her year abroad and went back to her home in China in October, which made our already socially isolated life just a little more lonelier, but luckily another friend of ours was planning to stay in Hawaii for a few months, so after they did their pre-tests and their quarantine in a private residence, they moved into our spare room. I have a companion to share wine and conversation face to face with, and Chinami has a girl around her age to share ideas and fun with. This year has been so hard on her, and seeing her light up again has made me feel so much relief.
So what does 2021 hold? New knowledge, new jobs, new friends, and this crazy new pandemic lifestyle. I'm ready for it!