Reflections on reflections: Looking back a year ago

Congratulations on surviving the year. Every human on Earth is coming up on our own one-year anniversary of when our lives changed in irrefutable ways.

Mine was March 1.

A year ago, at what I thought was the end of two weeks in self-quarantine, I fired off a quick reflection. It’s amusing and telling to revisit it again a year later:

Looking back now, it’s stunning how tiny the numbers were from March 1, 2020 — my first day of quarantine.

From the wayback machine: March 1, 2020. Look at those case counts!

Last year after two weeks I was feeling uncertain about two weeks more. I had no way of knowing that 52 weeks later, I’d be at home, and still yet to have set foot in the office.

Reflections that still hold up a year later:

  • Indiscriminate discrimination still sucks (duh)
  • Individualism is in direct conflict with the interests of the group. Societies where the benefits of the group supercede the freedoms of the individual perform better in collective crisis such as a global pandemic.
  • Universal health care is in everyone’s best interest. Basic healthcare for the masses is in the best interest even for the most fiercely independent.
  • America was in bad shape to manage a pandemic. What I wrote a year ago indeed came true: “This lack of universal health care is likely to play out very badly in the US with respect to containing the spread.” Come on, America, let’s fix this, for all of our sakes.

New insights a year later:

  • Managing mental health is as important as physical health. In the Netherlands, efforts have been made to allow and encourage people to get outdoors and find ways to support mental health. Common awareness of mental health topics has vaulted in social consciousness this year everywhere I look.
  • I long for things I once took for granted. Collaborating face-to-face with my colleagues. Unrestricted travel. Making plans. Live music. Hugging. Bars.
  • Humans always adapt. We find a way to get by, even if it sucks.

But, I don’t think I can take another year of this. Bring on the vaccines.

American in Amsterdam.

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