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A year ago

I had just gotten back from what would turn out to be my best timed ever and also last vacation. A few girlfriends and I went away for a weekend. We had been hearing some rumblings of a new virus but it hadn’t really popped up in the states yet, so we weren’t too worried about it.

If you had told me a year ago that my salon was going to close and I was going to go into business for myself, I’d probably have laughed. Instead, here I am looking back at the monumental amount of changes I’ve seen in the last year.

I remember hearing rumblings about problems in other places towards the end of February. Into March I started hearing more about things popping up in the US and getting closer and closer to where I lived, but I still wasn’t overly worried yet. I think what blew my mind the most at the time was how quickly everything seemed to spiral.

On Friday March 13 we went out to dinner for my brother’s birthday. We had had plans to go to Medieval Times to celebrate on Saturday the 14th, but while out at dinner I got an email that they were suspending all shows for the remainder of March. The poor woman I talked to sounded like she had been yelled at a lot by the time I talked to her, so I politely requested my refund and tried to offer moral support.

Tuesday the 17th my company announced that starting Thursday the 19th all salons would be moving to shortened hours, and on Thursday the 19th they announced that they would be temporarily closing all locations for 2 weeks starting on Saturday the 21st. Which really did work out because the governor of my state issued a stay at home order on Friday the 20th that also went into effect on Saturday the 21st. So much had happened and it had only been one week.

There was so much fear and uncertainty leading into the second half of March. The transition into full time stay at home parenting was made a lot easier by the schedule that my husband’s work had given them, where he was home for a week at a time. Not that we were going anywhere at all, but it can be overwhelming to be the only person responsible for a 10 month old without getting any breaks or interactions with other adults. I did experience some relief at not feeling like I needed to be compulsively checking the news for updates and could take some time in the morning to check the news with my coffee and try to spend the rest of the day enjoying the time with my husband and small human.

Moving into April I was still in close contact with my salon team. We had all grown very close in the time we had been working together and it was hard for us to go from seeing each other all the time to just messaging on Snapchat. I knew in my gut when we closed our doors in March that it wasn’t going to be just the few weeks we were initially told. Salon business had slowed down so much leading up to the company’s decision to close (even before the governor had done so) that there were issues with paychecks. This left me feeling like if doors weren’t open again by the end of April that they probably weren’t going to open again, and I was right. But at the beginning of April we joked, because what else could we do really? We took bets on when we thought we were going to reopen, varying from the beginning of May to almost Labor Day, and kept each other up to date on what little we were up to.

I got really into plants and decided to document my quarantine on Instagram. I ended up being home from work due to Covid shutdowns longer than I was on maternity leave the previous summer and definitely had some mixed feelings on it. One thing that became abundantly clear to me was that being a stay at home parent was not the career path for me. I had already had a lot of respect for anybody who chose that path or was fulfilling it because it was the best choice they had at the time, but this really gave me a whole new perspective on it. You’re all saints. Every one of you.

So much has happened, and yet nothing has happened all at the same time it feels like. A year in I’m proud of how we’ve held up. Sometimes it feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and sometimes it feels like we’re going to be stuck in Covid awareness forever. I’m definitely feeling a lot more optimistic about what can potentially be achieved as a society after watching all the events of 2020 unfold. A lot of not great things happened, but there was good in there too. I’ve been incredibly fortunate, and I don’t want to take that for granted when I know that so many haven’t had the same. It almost feels wrong to feel ok with where I’m at. I’ve had a lot of time to focus on my perspective and the kind of person I want to be in the world, and I’ve been slowly working towards making those small goals realities. I’m excited to see where this year takes me.

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