Remembering life before Covid: We’ve passed the one-year anniversary since the pandemic came and changed our lives forever.
It’s a milestone few people could have guessed we’d be marking already. As we reached this moment, we’ve also reached the milestone of half a million Americans lost. The total is more than those lost in the Civil War, both Union and Confederate.
Around a year ago, it was still called the “novel coronavirus,” but now it’s anything but, a part of daily reality. For many, it hadn’t yet sunk in that the pandemic was even real a year ago.
Can you recall when you realized? What was happening a year ago today, before COVID-19?
Life Before Covid: The ‘Before Times’
For The Week contributor Jeva Lange, reality set in quickly after New York went into lockdown.
Looking back at life before Covid, she remembers how it went from no person-to-person cases to a city in total lockdown by March. Suddenly, mundane things like toilet paper were like gold.
“I’d been in strict quarantine in my Queens apartment — searching for toilet paper and hand sanitizer on sold-out websites — for 16 days,” Lange wrote.
Today, she remembers the last time she went to the theater, which was an almost daily event in the “Before Times.”
Every day, we remember things we did without a second thought in those golden Before Times. In those days, nobody had a clue what was coming as leaders played down the threat.
Now, each day you get another reminder of “the last time you ________.”
The Last Time You _______
Can you remember the last time you went to a crowded party? It’s all gone so fast, and we are collectively grieving the loss of what could have been. As Lange says, “it’s a moment for reflection. You’ve survived a year in a pandemic. You’ve already carried this anxiety, this grief, and this pain so, so far. Your anniversaries count.”
Looking back, we remember what life was like with gratitude and a realization of how much we took for granted. But also, we can give ourselves credit for surviving the ordeal, months without any relief in sight, not knowing what to expect.
We imagine all the places, the memories, the friendships, and experiences that could have been. For some, they have lost dear loved ones and must carry on now with only their memories.
Life Before Covid
Here are a few of the memories people have shared about their “last time” experiences. As we resume getting back to relative normal again, we will have a profound appreciation for each of life’s little moments and each other.
Actor Brian Guest says that going forward; we’ll remember the years before 2020 a little differently.
“Sorry to mess up everyone’s calendars, but every year before 2020 is now B.C. Every year after is A.D.”
Musician Eduardo Bortolotti shared his memory of playing fiddle together with other musicians in person.
“Once upon a time, there was a world without limits and full of fiddlers.”
For Angela Veitch, what she misses is a warm embrace. It’s something we are all looking forward to, the simple, wonderful act of hugging friends and loved ones.
“What I miss the most about the #beforetimes is the hugs.”
For Vox internet culture reporter Rebecca Jennings, she remembers the attraction between strangers in a crowded airport.
“I miss going to the airport and having sexual tension between you and anyone who’s remotely your age.”
For Twitter Canada’s Greg Gerber, he misses the airport too, but for totally different reasons. See the quote below.
For LA punk rock band, The Dollyrots, life before Covid meant you could walk the red carpet with a furry friend.
“From the #beforetimes, when it was safe to take your dog for a walk on a carpet in public!”
Below, we share more of the memories #BeforeCovid. Take a moment to remember life how it was, as we look forward to getting back to those times again. May the year ahead bring you joy, hugs, and many new and wonderful memories.
Tina Gray is a freelance journalist, theatre enthusiast and aspiring author. She has a passion for telling stories through various mediums and regularly writes for various online publications. Her short stories will soon be published in her first volume. Currently, she resides in the San Fernando Valley and is studying screenwriting.