In the dead of winter last year, all I could think about was how amazing summer would be. I couldn’t wait to lie on the beach again and see friends every single day. I imagined the city coming back to life and that it would feel like November 7th all summer long. But just a couple weeks ago, I looked up and summer was halfway over, and I hadn’t done any of the reveling I thought I would do.
Instead, every day seemed the same as before. I was still working from home; I walked to get coffee in the morning, avoided the subway, took walks. Now fully vaccinated, I was doing some more adventurous things, like going to a movie for the first time in a year in a half, and I went to the beach once, but where had the rest of my days gone? I hadn’t danced in the streets ’til dawn even once! And how was it already August?? I worried that I had completely failed at my triumphant return to the world, until I realized no one else around me was doing much, either. Everyone I talked to also felt that summer was speeding past, and that they hadn’t done anything worthwhile. It was so weird that we all thought we would have one shared experience, but instead ended up having a completely different one, all together.
No one anticipated having to collectively process 2020 — what it had done to our sense of time, how it had separated us from loved ones, how we hadn’t been able to travel to places we love or haven’t ever been yet. Instead of the triumphant return we hoped it’d be, 2021 seems more like an annex for the overflow of sorrow and frustration last year brought. We are living in this new, surreal world and trying to add back pieces of our lives, pre-2020. And with the arrival of variants, there is talk of future lockdowns and questions about what fall and winter might look like. Moving forward continues to be just as bizarre, non-linear and disorienting as the past year and a half, and it’s hard to know if we should feel hopeful or cautious. Maybe both. I’m finding comfort in letting this year be what it is, instead of what I’d hoped it would be — giving it time to unwind and then wind back up again.
Summer 2021 just wasn’t our summer, and that’s ok. We have time.
P.S. 13 readers share their joyful reunions and what unexpected relationships have you made during the pandemic?
(Photo by Igor Madjinca/Stocksy.)