Exactly one week ago, almost to the hour of me writing these words, I finally tested positive for COVID-19. By all accounts and on a severity scale of one to ten (one being no symptoms and ten being the most severe fatal variety) I would rank my infection experience at a 4 or maybe at most a 5.
There were a few hours in the middle where I considered asking my wife to take me into the hospital, but that feeling was short-lived and a good-night-sleep later I was back to slouching it off on the couch and sick-napping through a Netflix marathon.
This morning I feel almost normal.
I mention here for two reasons.
First, I feel like I need to explain why I haven’t posted in over a week. (Answer: I was sick.)
But second, this was a blog (and now blossoming project) that was conceived out of the rippled effects of this global pandemic. I can’t say for certain, but I doubt you’d be reading any of these past three-hundred and twenty-five posts if it were not for COVID-19. That pandemic provided both the space and motivation for me to start a little more self-evaluation and personal reflection and refocusing of priorities… and all those fancy things that make one take stock and dive into a new hobby, or reinvigorate an old one… even if it was just me stanning on cast iron cooking and raving about trail running adventure.
Living through the pandemic, which we’ve all done in some shape or another, has likely left an indelible mark on each of us, the scale and scope of which will only be understood in time.
For me, living through the pandemic in the first year of that event was marked not actually by a personal infection but rather by being on the front lines of my job, putting in erratic twelve hour days, burning out, being crushed emotionally and physically by the effort and the decisions and the reactions and the uncertainty of it all. I pounded a stake into the metaphorical sand and anchored myself to words and ideas and a reinvented self that I projected outwards through this space. It may have seemed trivial to those who were reading, but this was me tethering myself back into reality and hand-over-hand pulling myself back towards normal.
None of it is over. Many others have their own COVID stories to conclude, but I realize that by living through the actual infection, even a mild version I’ve kind of put a pin in my pandemic adventure, at least the first volume of it:
Learning about the pandemic, going through lockdowns and panic and societal shift. Working from home to avoid catching the damn virus. Mountains of PPE, masks of every shape and colour. Three vaccinations. Symptoms and tests and dozens of negatives, false alarms. The slow toe back into the new reality of post-COVID life, work and play. Demasking and lowering defences and then finally getting the damn virus and taking it on the chin for seven full days of fever and cough and headaches and utter fatigue, until…
And in the blur of that two-and-half-years-long story, learning a lot about my own self, what I believe in, cherish, value… and how I want to write the sequel to it all.
The storm has passed. At least, my storm has, and I’m just pausing here for a deep breath — literal and metaphorically — as I look around and ponder where next.