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The 'Rona

Happy 2022! WOW! I can't believe we have been dealing with COVID19 for 2 years now! Like, isn't that just mad? I remember the first worldwide lockdowns and I thought "we will be back into the office in 2 weeks" LMAO. This virus was looking at us and having a swell time, it replied "gone where?" haha. Thankfully, there seems to be some sort of progress now.

I live in Toronto, Canada, and we have gone through so many lockdowns that I have lost count. We were in a lockdown for most of 2020, half of 2021, and even the whole of January,2022. It is sooo exhausting; I learned that even though I am part a home buddy, I don't like being restricted - I love being a free bird.

I am not sure if it is just me, but the lockdowns have shaped me in some ways. For example, we were forced to be away from friends outside our close-knit groups, you know those you enjoy their companies but only get to see at house-parties, summer BBQs etc. It has taken away the fun of randomly meeting new people at events who you share a good laugh and conversation with but with the absolute nonchalant vibe that you may never see them again. I miss that. I miss all of that.

2020 was supposed to be my year to spread my wings in this city. I had all these plans to find random communities to do fun stuff with BUT the 'rona had plans LOL. I think there is a new level of acceptance I have reached with what was supposed to be temporary. It is awkward to get back to my regular social life. It is weird reaching out after 2 years to say, "when is your next event?", "can we plan something with so-so friend groups?" etc. 2020 was all of us bored as hell at home, parents struggling with juggling their jobs while providing teaching and childcare services to their child(ren). Companies adding much pressure from the top, and most of us working ridiculous hours. I saw lots of couples break up and lots get engaged/married. I guess when you are locked up with someone so long, you may just have a clearer view. Some marriages became stronger, but others couldn't stand that test. One scary observation for me was the report of more incidences of abuse because abusers were not leaving their houses. There was also the issue of loneliness - especially those away from family and friends. There are people who already didn't have much interaction with others outside of work, so shifting to work-from-home may have caused more isolation for them.

BUT some people found new hobbies and turned it to cash - I love that! Others found new ways to have fun and live their best lives in-spite of it all. Remember all the verzuz challenge on Instagram, the #dontrush challenge? As in, Instagram and tiktok became entertainment channels. love it. I even learned to bake a carrot cake, braided my hair once, baked meat-pies from scratch once - all to prove to myself that I could hahaha.

Personally, I did not enjoy paying for full- time in person school and the school switching us online just 3 months after starting. I hated learning how to code online/ I also felt like it stole most of the experience of grad school from me. I cried when they made that decision :/. I also had to deal with some personal things that happened in 2020. Guess what? there were no real outlets! I was exploding inside >_<.

I think loneliness and isolation can be comfortable in an unhealthy way, you are only dealing with yourself, there are less risks of getting into conflicts too, but it can also eat you up. We are social beings and we need human interaction. While I am looking forward to getting back to some sort of normal, I am trying to see what may slowdown or hinder my success. For example, will I enjoy being back at the office? Am I ready to re-adjust to comments when I change my hair again (right now, I just have my camera off)?

You know one thing I am not looking forward to? The cramped busses / trains/ streetcars when commuting to work. OMGoodness! I hate those. I hate random people's bodies standing so close to me, I hate that some people don't take showers and you can smell their crunchiness, I hate that some include us in their telephone conversations, loud, speaker banging (okay maybe not all the time, I don't mind a little gossip/gist lol). I think Toronto is weird, and I don't enjoy not having a quiet peaceful commute especially early in the mornings. uuugggh! At same time, I think leaving my place to work a couple of days a week would be good for me.

I don't think the normal we will get (especially in Canada) will be like it was pre-covid, but I am excited about whatever I can get now. I am looking forward to travelling again, meeting strangers and laughing over a drink or meal. Enjoying mindless conversations with others, getting to embrace new experiences and cultures and food. I look forward to creating memories, those ones that have you staring into space, smiling "wow! that happened". I am looking forward to finding my normal back and expressing myself through various means doing so.

Abi Tobi

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