By Katherine Wright

It’s February now, which means a lot of things. For one, 2021 is already well under way. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and the weather is freezing but also promises warm weather and a return of spring. And daylight will — hopefully — stay with us a little while longer.

It also means we’re rounding the one year mark since the pandemic hit home, which is wild to think about. The concept hasn’t sunk in for me yet, and it probably won’t until March. But one year ago, we unknowingly spent some of the final weeks of normalcy for a long, long time — longer than any of us could have anticipated.

It seems like last February encompassed most of the concrete memories I have from last year: the in-person classes I went to, the activities I did, the line I waited in every morning at the Warren Towers Starbucks, etc. It’s memorable because of how normal it all was in juxtaposition. I didn’t think twice about it and even had the audacity to complain.

So, within the past year — from February 2020 to February 2021 — a large chunk of my memories are from those early months last year. After that, it’s a blur of watching television, attending Zoom classes, reading emails about “our new normal” and waiting for everything to go back to the wonderfully-boring normal we now long for.

I’m glad we couldn’t predict how long this would last back in March. I remember having conversations with friends and family about how we wanted a concrete end date so we could get used to our new situation and find comfort in its eventual extinguishment.

But I’m not so sure it would have been very comforting. At least not right away. As much as the unknown was tormenting, I also think it would have been shocking to know well into 2021, “quarantine” and “social distancing” would still be very much a part of our vocabulary.

Of course, things are more hopeful in many ways now with the vaccine, the slowly-approaching warmer weather and our adaptation to a socially-distanced lifestyle. But I certainly don’t think we would have handled it well if we knew just how long the pandemic would last, and how it’s still here. I can’t stress “still” enough.

But we made it this far, and the situation is looking up. So until it’s over, I’ll settle into my Zoom-based everything — classes, meetings, birthday parties — and look forward to the day I can go back to complaining about the long lines at Starbucks … but secretly savor it.