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  • Writer's pictureKatie Gardner

Reflections on COVID, 1 year in

Hey all!

Wow. I really cannot believe it has been a year since this pandemic started and overturned all of our lives. So many “one year on” reflections have been published over the last few days, which I feel is vitally important. It allows us to look back at the massive upheavals in our society, the way we work, the way we view the government, race relations, politics, climate change, and so, so much more. Reflection is a time to take a deep breath and accept that this past year, simply put, has been bonkers. So here is my own personal reflection on my experience of the past year.

One year ago on March 12, I was trying to figure out if I should return to Philadelphia for my final semester of my JD and MBA programs. It had become real for me about a week before that. I had heard about COVID, especially as I flew through southern China on a return flight from a school trip to the Philippines in early January, but it hadn’t seemed like it would affect me. But on Tuesday, March 3rd, our school canceled all spring break programs. I had been planning to travel to South Africa as the culmination of a “Global Immersion Program” class, which I had luckily received a scholarship for, as I had been hoping to do one of these for several years. At the time, I was devastated that the experience was canceled (how silly these worries seem now), but quickly shifted directions and decided to visit my partner in Santa Monica and do some job hunting. So on March 6th, I traveled to Santa Monica. It didn’t yet feel permanent, as I didn’t officially move until June, but it was the beginning of my LA living.

The next day, on March 13th, I sat in a Starbucks in Downtown LA for almost 2 hours, waiting for a “coffee chat” with a potential employer. The individual had to keep pushing our chat back, as he was an executive with an electrical power provider, and they were going through emergency COVID meetings. Little did I realize those few hours in that Starbucks were one of my last times being inside eating.

Since those days, life has sped by. From finishing my last semester virtually, to graduating remotely while packing up my apartment in Philly. From spending four long, long months studying for the California bar exam, while working part-time and also job hunting, to turning 30 in the middle of all of everything. From taking the bar, to moving on to search for a full-time job. From finding out I passed the bar to getting that full-time job, all within the span of a weekend. And finally, transitioning back into an adult who works, albeit at home for the next few years.

This was also a year of education. Racism was catapulted into the limelight after several unforgivable murders showed just how unequal our society is, despite being a daily experience for a large chunk of the country. I, along with many other white people, started our journeys to becoming anti-racist. There was a small presidential election, and I got to play a teeny part by helping call registered voters in a few different states. Finally, I decided to embark on a huge educational journey: sustainability in my personal life in my new city of Los Angeles.

Now that my life is in a more regular state (which my addled brain calls "less exciting”), I've been trying to build in more reflection and meditation. I often feel as if I'm waiting for the next "big thing" or next crazy change, but for now, as life evolved into a new normal, it's all about being in the moment (as cliche as that sounds).

Sun setting on the pandemic? We hope!

This past year wasn’t easy, though I was fortunate to have a stable place to live and my good health, eventually even finding regular employment. Now that the light at the end of the tunnel is visible, and getting brighter by the day, I appreciate the incredible challenges of the past year. That being said, I wouldn’t want to relive it! Here’s to the hope of a brighter future.

Thanks for reading,

Katie @ Sustainably Yours, LA

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