Sorry folks, I know I’ve been awfully quiet.
I don’t know if I’m just genuinely busy with the trivia group/Aaron/getting back into a workout that includes both cardio and weights (aka takes for-ev-er) or if I’m just desperately dissociating to keep from focusing on the rising COVID rates and how many breakthrough infections I hear back. (I keep reminding myself that there has only been one vaccinated person in my in-person/online sphere who got serious symptoms from their infection.)
Whatever the cause, the last six weeks or so, I’ve just… had nothing to write about outside of my spending diaries/monthly updates.
I try to think about interesting money stuff and… come up blank.
Abstractly, I know we need to talk about the effects of the eviction moratorium. About whether another lockdown is coming and how that would affect folks and the economy. (Though I can say with confidence that the Arizona governor won’t issue another lockdown. He won’t even issue mask mandates and is withholding COVID-19 relief funds from schools that require masks. He’s greeeaaat.)
But I’m just uninspired or maybe just blocked by fear and emotional exhaustion.
Folks, we’ve been doing this dance for a year and a half (counting from March when lockdowns started and most people finally started taking COVID seriously). I had a rush of relief in April/May, of course, but I was still concerned about the vaccination rate. And then delta started being a real worry, and it was back to up-and-down fretting about risk levels.
Now that we’re admitting that aerosol transmission is possible, I have to weigh the risks of trivia events even more than before. After all, even if my group is vaccinated, other people in the restaurant (which have very strong A/C currents) won’t be. Are they infected? If so, are they contagious yet? If so, will enough droplets make it my way to get me sick?
And apparently indoors is no longer the only worry. My friend and her partner (who mainly associate only with other vaccinated people) both got COVID at an outdoor event. Both were fine — few to no symptoms — but eek!
So the smart thing would be to hole up again. But honestly I just sort of crumble mentally at the thought. Because I had genuinely thought that part of the pandemic was behind us.
We thought we could (cautiously) socialize again post-vaccine. We allowed ourselves the luxury of the idea that we could go back to a life that at least somewhat resembled our pre-pandemic world.
So the idea of going back to locking ourselves down is exhausting. But so is the worry of getting the delta variant.
Because the thing is, even though we’d probably get mild (or perhaps no) symptoms, that’s not a guarantee of safety. COVID-19 is brand new, so we have no idea what, if any, effects previously infected people may have down the road. While it’s unlikely to be a chicken pox/shingles situation or a Chronic Lyme disease, we have no way of knowing for sure.
And of course, there’s the issue of long COVID. There are people who were infected months and months ago who still have debilitating symptoms. The good news is that being vaccinated appears to cut the risk in half. But given that at age 19 I got a life-altering illness that usually affects people 40+ (and even then only 1 in 100,000 each year)… Well, illness probability is often less reassuring to me than it is to others.
So this whole quandary continues to be mentally and emotionally draining. And since my finances are doing okay, and I haven’t heard about any cool new apps or savings methods to talk about, I just don’t have a lot to say right now. Because I’m weary in a way that my chronic fatigue couldn’t manage on its best day.
When I thought I had COVID on my birthday, I was scared of course — but honestly a part of me was relieved. Come what may, I wouldn’t have to worry anymore about “what if.” Either it would be bad or, more likely, it would be okay (probably even long-term). I wouldn’t have to keep trying to weigh the risk to my health/anxiety of socializing again the risk to my mental health/anxiety of holing up again.
But I tested negative for COVID, so I find myself back to being unsure how much risk I can/should tolerate.
I wear a mask at the gym but not at trivia. Beyond the issue of making it slightly harder to discuss things, I usually order some food to help support the restaurant. I could just start ordering a soda and not drink it, I guess. Those are almost pure profit. And I could start bringing paper so we can all write down our guess for the answer. But at times we have to debate answers, which is hard to do on paper.
Meanwhile, seeing Aaron increases my exposure, though he’s not out and about a ton other than the gym and grabbing coffee/takeout. Honestly, I may have more exposure than he does, given that there’s a teacher who sometimes comes to trivia events and a frequent attendee is going back to the office.
I know intellectually that the safest thing would be to stay home. I could probably rationalize the gym since I wear a mask and do my best to stay clear of people (though that’s harder in the weights/weight machine area). But otherwise, logically I should halt trivia events for a bit and stop socializing outside of Aaron.
But how long can we keep going like that? Even if we get the delta variant infections under control, we’ve been told COVID’s mutations will invariably produce other extremely transmissible strains. And it’s pretty clear that the country as a whole isn’t going to reach herd immunity any time soon. Probably at all. (Though at least there’s been an uptick in people getting vaccinated recently.)
So at what point do we decide that we’ve done what we could to protect ourselves/others and try to live a non-isolated life again? At what point would we mentally/emotionally buckle if we don’t?
Do we wait for the vaccine to be approved for younger groups? Do we wait to see if we reach herd immunity (at least in our communities)? Do we all pool funds and move to New Zealand? (First stop: The recreated Shire from Lord of the Rings!)
I don’t know the answer, and it’s frankly exhausting. I’m sure most of you are drained too — especially those with younger kids. You have to try to stay as careful as possible while also accepting that you’re powerless to stop school districts from forcing exposure on your kids.
You folks… I don’t know how you’re all still standing/forming coherent sentences. In your place, I’d have broken so many times that I’d be down to a fine powder. So pat yourselves on the back if you have even an ounce of sanity left.
But even we non-parents are dealing with a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, which we have to balance against the mental health needs to socialize at some point. So given all that, who has time to write up frugality tips or talk much about money in general?
Not me, apparently.
How’s everyone else doing?