Things will never be the same

I wish I’d known at the beginning of 2020 what was about to happen to the world and how it would affect me. I wish I could have made peace with my pre-pandemic life before it was gone forever. This is the letter I would send to myself while I was still living in the calm before the storm.

Dear Mel in January 2020,

Something big is coming that’s going to force you to work from home, which is something you’ve always wanted to do. You’ll love it at first: not needing to deal with people face-to-face at the office, getting up later because you won’t have to commute and getting to wear pajama bottoms at work meetings.

Unfortunately, the reason you’ll be working from home is that a virus is going to sweep the world. A lot of people are going to get sick. A lot of people are going to die.

The virus will be so contagious that people will need to quarantine themselves in their homes and wear masks to the grocery store. At first, you won’t mind quarantining alone in your bachelor apartment. You stay home alone most of the time anyway. If anything, you’ll be relieved not to have the pressure or expectation to go out and socialize.


This isolation will take a toll on you, though. As the months go by, it will be increasingly hard on your mental health. The loneliness will become unbearable.

I hate to give you this bad news, because I know you’re a very affectionate person, but you’re going to go about a year and a half without any real physical contact. You’ll sorely miss hugs and you’ll quickly realize there’s no replacement for them.

The strain on your mental health of not only spending all of your time alone, but also dealing with relentlessly negative news, day after day, will begin to impact your performance at work. In August 2021, you’ll resign from your job because your short-term memory, focus and motivation will have been stripped away by burnout.

I know you won’t believe me when I tell you that you’ll end up living in the suburbs. You never thought you’d be in the suburbs longer than a weekend.

You’ll start a new job a few weeks after your resignation. It will be a bad idea because you won’t be ready to work again. You’ll only last three weeks, and you’ll need to leave without notice, due to a mental health crisis. You’ll take yourself to the emergency room twice with suicidal thoughts. As you know, this is something you haven’t had to do in years.

After that, you’ll drift through the last few months of 2021. You’ll work a bit, but not much. At the end of the year, you’ll pack up and leave the city to live in the suburbs because you won’t be able to afford to stay in your apartment any longer.

I know you won’t believe me when I tell you that you’ll end up living in the suburbs. You never thought you’d be in the suburbs longer than a weekend. Trust me, though—not working full-time, and thus not being able to afford rent, will indeed lead you to be a guest in your friend’s home in the suburbs for a few months.

I’m writing this letter to you in May 2022. I don’t want to alarm you, but I’m still in that same guest room in the suburbs. You’ll have returned to Toronto for about a month in April to apartment-sit for a friend, but after that, you won’t know where else to go, so back to the suburbs you’ll come.

By the time you get here, you won’t have worked full-time since those three weeks in September 2021. As I write this letter, I’m still struggling with burnout. Yes, even still.

The silver lining

There is a silver lining from having lived alone and worked from home during the pandemic: You’ll write a lot. It will be the most creatively productive period of your life.

You’ll show your work to people and they’ll really like it. You’ll gain the confidence to build a website and buy a domain name. Not long after, you’ll start getting published on other websites. All that time spent alone and depressed in your apartment proves to be a great opportunity to take your writing more seriously.

See also

Forrest Rivers' dog Abbie

So, Mel in January 2020, if you remember nothing else from this letter, remember this: when times get dark and the news gets scary and you really feel like you need a hug, but there’s no one around to give you one, focus on your writing. Just write. Writing will be the companion you need to get through it.

It isn’t going to be easy, but once you get to May 2022 and look back, part of you will think that the isolation, depression and burnout you endured were worth it for the work you were able to make. They say that necessity is the mother of invention; it’s also the mother of creativity.

Happy writing. Stay strong. I’m waiting for you on the other side.

Much love,

Mel from May 2022

«RELATED READ» LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL: During the pandemic we have all had time to reflect on what holds meaning»

image 1 RÜŞTÜ BOZKUŞ from Pixabay 2 image by Ri Butov from Pixabay 

Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply
Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart