A drop-in COVID vaccination clinic at the Langley Events Centre on Sunday, April 25. (Langley Advance Times files)

A drop-in COVID vaccination clinic at the Langley Events Centre on Sunday, April 25. (Langley Advance Times files)

Painful Truth: Exhaustion is the mood as pandemic approaches 2 years old

Everyone is tired, and tired of being tired


don’t know about you, but I’m tired.

The pandemic, from its point of origin, is getting close to two years old. Around November of 2019, there were a few people in China’s Wuhan province with odd coughs and fatigue, losing their sense of smell. The virus had probably been circulating a few weeks before it was noticed by medical professionals as something distinct.

In the time between the first emerging awareness of COVID-19 and now, we’ve packed in about a decade’s worth of events.

We’ve been on the sidelines of a U.S. presidential election, and had our own provincial and federal elections. We’ve been through a devastating fire season that destroyed an entire town, along with homes scattered across the province, coupled with a vicious heat dome that killed more than 500 British Columbians.

Kids were home from school for months. People hastily improvised home offices and learned how Zoom worked. Millions lost their jobs; thousands returned to different jobs. Nurses and doctors and care aides were ground down by endless toil.

Grocery clerks suddenly found themselves deemed essential and went to work at risk.

We’ve been wearing masks for approximately – forever.

We discovered that about 10 to 15 per cent of our friends and neighbours would rather “do their own research” than trust literally every credible medical expert and authority. Everyone now has a story of strained friendships and arguments with relatives stemming from this.

In my lifetime, the only comparable periods of upheaval would be the years around the fall of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11. But for the vast majority of Canadians, those were things we experienced through our TV screens, and unless we knew a victim in the World Trade Centre or a family member was in the military, we were unlikely to be touched directly.

Everyone has been hit by COVID-19. There was no escaping it.

Early last summer, we let ourselves consider what it would be like for the pandemic to be over. Vaccines were going into arms, case numbers plunged, provinces loosened restrictions. There was real, tangible hope.

Then the delta variant flung all those plans into disarray.

I don’t see many people, online or in the media, or in person, talking about plans for the future anymore. We’re happy that we’re vaccinated and we can see our families more, we’re pleased that our general level of anxiety is reduced, if not gone.

But everything is still a little broken, and diminished. We have to navigate a world like a floor scattered with broken glass, and all of us are barefoot.

READ ALSO: Painful Truth – No time like the present to rethink our car-centric cities

Someday, the pandemic will be over, but we won’t know that point until weeks, months after we pass it.

We’ll look back and notice we haven’t had to wear masks indoors for a while, that we haven’t flinched when someone comes closer than six feet in a store, that we made plans without hedging for the possibility that restrictions could derail them.

It’ll be a quiet ending.

I don’t know about you, but that’s fine with me. I don’t want a big party anymore.

I just want to be a little less tired, all the time.

Have a story tip? Email: matthew.claxton@langleyadvancetimes.com

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