It’s not a trick question, and I’m fully aware that the pandemic is not even remotely over – even though we’re all supposed to be panicking about the war in Ukraine now, and have forgotten about the pandemic, because, you know, we needed a distraction since it’s not really possible to stop society in its tracks because it turns out that the economy tanks, and who could have thunk that? I dunno, it’s a mystery.
But in the fairly imminent future I’m going to be going back to Sweden, where I’ve spent time but not met any of my friends since 2020. Early 2020, in the vast majority of cases.
And it’s suddenly occurred to me that I’m not the same person I was when they last saw me. For a start, it’s been two years, and two years of extreme stress haven’t been kind to my very-nearly-54-year-old self.
But the main changes are on the inside. I’ve become even more of an introvert in many ways. I expect that’s normal, given the events of the last two years. But I’ve also become far less tolerant of poor behaviour. I haven’t been able to meet the people I want to for two years. I’m buggered if I’m putting up with rudeness, bad communication or being taken for granted by anyone I don’t particularly want to encounter. I’d already been edging in this direction before the pandemic – so maybe it’s just an age thing, after all? – hence the question.
Are you the same you as before the pandemic?
For example, today has been a pretty good day. It’s even held a couple of pieces of good news, unlike almost every day in the last 700-odd. I’ve gone for a walk, worked sitting at a table in the garden, done a moving meditation that gave me a lightbulb moment, and listened to techno and birdsong simultaneously. That sounds like Jane. And yet… not quite.
How about you?