Pandemic Diary #88 – the end? (24 Jan 2022)

i’m starting to approach the end of the pandemic i feel…

i went out to a restaurant earlier this week and ate and haven’t bothered testing after. today was in a zoom call in a (mostly empty) classroom and took off my mask just to be viewed more clearly. i don’t really think too much about COVID when i’m thinking about traveling anymore, nor quarantining for a week. i still took two tests spaced apart.

i still appreciate not getting colds, so i will probably keep masking for a while. i worry about my parents. but i rarely look at case counts anymore. i checked wastewater levels and they’re going down.

i still won’t likely go clubbing for a while. but it no longer feels like a scary lethal disease. i don’t hesitate to just drop into stores whenever, or feel a heightened awareness of how close people are to me. i go to the climbing gym and will stick around even if it’s pretty crowded. for sure there’s no sense that perhaps packages or takeout food will be contaminated.

i think if i have forgotten a mask, i still wouldn’t go into a store or climbing. but my roommates certainly will. perhaps just force of habit at this point.

i’m in fact planning on having regular house parties with food. i’m not sure exactly how that will work, perhaps i’ll just have randomized testing. but i miss randomly meeting people and having interesting conversations and dreaming big. doing something to actively counteract the shrinking size of social circles and the migration of hanging out to the internet.

it’s weird to reflect on how this really prolonged the student stage of my life and exacerbated / amplified existing trends of being “behind” in my life (is that a thing?). i spent a whole two years prioritizing family, and now back in boston it feels like i’m still in year 4 of my PhD, but really i’m in year 6 (!). trying to close out my PhD also feels like admitting defeat of making something of use out of my PhD. impacting the world. having some grand vision of the future to get other people to buy into. a sense of excitement and opening of doors and possibilities, replaced by a sense of moving on.

perhaps appropriate given it’s lunar new years. let go of past self, welcome in a new self for this year. as my roommate put it: being brave enough to pursue the things that made me happy and make me laugh inside