Featured Entries

Each week, we post a few journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.

In your journal, you can write whatever you want, however you want. When we feature posts, we want to protect confidentiality. Here's our policy:

  • We won't post any photos that include faces (even with masks!) or names.
  • We won't post audio that includes names or more than one voice.
  • We might edit text entries slightly to remove proper names – but this won't change anything you've written in your journal.
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Went to a minor league baseball game with my family. Kids got to run the bases after the game. Some people were wearing masks, most weren’t. Ambivalent feelings of enjoying a relative normalcy and some concern, especially since kids under 12 can’t be vaccinated yet.

Para algunas personas, la pandemia ha puesto sus planes de viaje en pausa. ¿Y usted? ¿Está viajando, o piensa viajar de nuevo? Si es así, ¿cuándo, dónde, y en qué condiciones?

Antes de la pandemia solía realizar consultorías que exigían visitar municipios del interior del país. Me gustaba mucho hacerlo porque tenía oportunidad de escuchar los puntos de vista de diferentes personas, además, conocía lugares lejanos.

Durante el año de la pandemia, fue imposible encontrar ese tipo de trabajo. Luego, ha surgido, pero, debido a las restricciones, todo se hace de manera virtual. Los traslados al campo son pocos y representan un gran riesgo, ya que mucha población rural no está vacunada.

En la foto se observa el Palacio Maya de San Marcos, Guatemala . En el 2018, fecha de la fotografía, estaba siendo restaurado.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Apples and honey for the new year....we just finished observing Rosh Hashana. And while it wasn't quite normal, it was far better than how we celebrated the holiday a year ago. Last year, we could only "zoom" for services, and it was just our immediate household for meals. We tried to make it festive, but it was hard. This year, we had the option if we were fully vaccinated and wore masks, to attend services inside. And we did! And it felt wonderful. Many, many people still chose to watch from home, so those of us who were there, were able to space ourselves in the sanctuary. And we had meals with friends and extended family -- outside in our yards. The weather cooperated. Not too hot and no rain. Beautiful blue skies to welcome in the new year.

Every year I say to friends and family, best wishes for a good and healthy new year. This year, like last, I emphasize the word "healthy"....I say, may it be a healthier year for all (for everyone, everywhere)! There is nothing more important.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This is the week of the rentrée in France, when everyone is back from holiday and schools and offices reopen. So I'm curious to know how infection/hospitalization numbers are going to be affected in a couple of weeks, because I'm sure there will be a rise. On the other hand, compared to the stories one hears from the US, I don't think it will be unmanageable because everyone is still masking and most indoor places require the vaccine passport.

Have you or people in your community been harassed, threatened, or attacked since the pandemic began, either in person or online? If so, what happened?

The school situation seems to be the worst, as far as harassment. There is so much division between people - adults and students - wanting to be safe, require masking, distancing, etc., and those who want total freedom. Our local vaccination rate is barely above 30%, and infections/hospitalizations are at an all-time high. Our governor has made it illegal for school districts to require masks or offer online school options. Within a week of starting classes, the schools had to shut down due to large numbers of faculty/staff/students contracting COVID or in quarantine. The schools were forced to use built-in "inclement weather" days for the shut-down, as there is no provision for COVID. I am at a loss how parents are treating the health and well-being of children and their local school employees with such disregard.

Has the pandemic affected your relationship with pets or other animals you take care of?

My dog has been great company during our lockdowns and now that I am back in class she is not getting as much of my attention as before. She seems to be coping though. I'm just so glad she was with me all those lonely isolating days. She is good company.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected how you feel about yourself, others, or the world?

I have become much more comfortable with spending time alone. In fact, I am starting to look forward to it. But I'm also learning to really appreciate those people I consider to be true friends. They have been wonderful to have in my life during this time.

Unfortunately, though, I have become more wary of other people --- not quite as trusting as I used to be. I don't want to be afraid of others and of life in general. My personal cocoon is cozy but I'm hoping I will be willing to venture out more and expose myself to new adventures --- like I used to do, pre-pandemic.

Talk about any new groups or communities you’ve joined since the pandemic began.

I joined a support group on facebook for people who have lost a loved one due to covid. I have found it to be a helpful and supportive group. It seemed others didn't really understand what i am going through, but folks in the group totally understand.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Tomorrow will mark my third COVID wedding. Simply typing that previous statement makes my head want to explode. How have I now gone to three weddings in the past twenty months? More importantly, how many more weddings will I go to that must adapt to the ever changing local and state regulations?

I honestly never thought that I'd wear a mask to a wedding. Or take a COVID test the night before. Or have to show a vaccine passport for admission. But here we are.

This seems to be the "new normal" - whatever the heck this is. I once thought COVID was going to a blip on the radar - one time event. You'd say "yes, I remember that one time."

Instead it's turned into a marathon - a never-ending marathon where just as you think you've hit your stride, you encounter another hill or obstacle (dehydration, get lost, cramps, etc.). Especially here in California where it's a vicious cycle of mother nature (the fires!), the politics (the recall election), and the pandemic. The state cannot catch a break.

Thinking back to this wedding tomorrow, I'm not nervous - not like the first wedding last September where I wore a face shield AND a mask. Or the wedding I went to in April where I'd had just half my vaccine dosage. No, this wedding is by far the safest. But like the state, I can't drop my guard.

I look back at the last twenty months and I'm exhausted. There are moments when I'm just mentally drained from it all. Given all the above, I've tried to take every day as it comes. Earlier this week I was interviewing a candidate and I remarked that I no longer think about things in "year increments" - I do it in "days and months." Otherwise, it seems too daunting. Right now, I'm just trying to live my life to the fullest that I possibly can.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Right now due to the coronavirus pandemic my stress is through the roof. As an OB nurse we now are seeing pregnant women that are very sick and in ICU. We’ve had 2 maternal deaths requiring emergency c-sections IN YHE ICU to save the babies. Nurses are not treated well at my facility and are leaving in record numbers only to be replaced by fewer brand new inexperienced nurses and travelers. Those of us still here have to work extra hard to train new staff and keep patients safe. Travelers also need extra training so we do more work and yet they are paid 2-3x what we do. It’s a broken system and for the first time I am afraid. If I or a family member is in the hospital, who is taking care of them? Every unit is short staffed.. now they want to mandate the vaccine which will just make more nurses leave. Outside of work my kids are away from home and I constantly worry about their safety. My extended family here is very divided on the vaccine/mask issue and spending a week with them was not a vacation! I am the only healthcare provider in the family yet no one asks my opinion or first hand knowledge of what’s going on. They choose to listen to mostly unreliable sources instead. And I feel disrespected and sometimes even defeated. I went to a winetasting event outdoors and they required proof of vaccination to get in. Some people didn’t have it and they were very vocal about their opinions. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but the divisiveness it’s bringing to our world its painful

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Currently it is Labor Day weekend and we are pretty much staying home and not going anywhere. This is basically because my son has been sick. Last Thursday he started getting sick and I immediately started to panic and think that it could be Covid. He was stuffy, sore throat, his chest hurt pretty bad and he had a fairly high fever. On Friday I took him to the doctor to get tested for strep throat and Covid. At the doctors office we were not allowed to come in the front door because of his symptoms. We had to go around to the side door, wait until they were ready and then they brought us in the side and straight to the room. They checked him out and then did a rapid Covid test and strep test. We had to wait about 15-20 minutes for the results. Both of the tests were negative. They said it was just viral and to push fluids and rest. So even though he doesn't have Covid we have stayed home this weekend and just hung out around the house. He isn't vaccinated and neither is my husband. Neither one of my parents are vaccinated either and we just feel like we shouldn't go around them with him being sick. I mean, what if the Covid test wasn't accurate? It was the rapid one and I don't know the effectiveness of that one? I don't want to ever be the reason that a family member or friend comes down with Covid. So I think it's best to not really be around people this weekend. Not exactly how I thought our Labor Day weekend would go. I was hoping to get together with family yesterday or today and have a cook out. Instead this is giving me plenty of time to work on homework that is due tonight! I am also laid off from work this coming week. So I will have a lot of time to get stuff done around the house. I work for Ford Motor Company and we are being affected by the chip shortage that is happening right now. Thankfully I can collect unemployment and also receive sub pay. I just have to wait a little longer to receive my money.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Major stories in the news feel weighty: the exit from Afghanistan, hurricanes bringing record rain and devastation, various states working to limit access to voting. Add to that the numbers of people - including increasing numbers of children - being infected by COVID or its delta variant. Of these weighty issues, we have the opportunity to help with one: the spread of COVID. Why do people still resist the vaccine? Why is mask wearing such a volatile issue? It's difficult to remain neutral on the vaccine and mask issue!

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

The coronavirus affected my life because I felt alone and isolated from my family and friends. I am a certified nurses aid/ nursing student at a hospital near Ann Arbor, Michigan so I had to isolate myself from my 2 year old son and fiancé for months. I was unable to have contact with my family or friends which caused some depression and anxiety because I wanted to protect them from this virus that no one had enough information about at the beginning. At the hospital I had been stressed and felt like we were losing a battle between running out of supplies, depriving our patients of familiarity/comfort, and being worn down from working long hours to cover short staffed shifts.

Being a student Nurse during the pandemic is an imaginable task not being able to see your peers or being able have personal relationships with each other. I have felt disconnected and unmotivated to learn from a screen without being able to bounce ideas off of other classmates. I had reach a point in my second semester where all I was able to is sit at my computer and sob out of frustration/devastation because I had worked immensely hard to study and felt I was learning nothing. I know i was not alone after discussing it with other student but the fear of failure was terrifying and being isolated at your own house not having any interaction was lonely and depressing.

Currently, I would say the situation is better I have not been isolated from my family since 2020 but there are still hardships especially at my place of employment. At the start of the pandemic I witnessed many families torn apart mostly the elderly who were admitted from care homes. It broke my spirit to know they were alone without there families to see them or that they have given up the will to fight in general. I think hospitals should have allowed loved ones say their goodbyes. I believe as a society we need to improve our communication and compassion for each other by calling or facetiming friends and family to implement some socialization to ensure mental well-being.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

My daughter started school yesterday: 6th grade, middle school. Even though she is in the same school, there are many changes and she was so excited throughout the summer to begin middle school. I am equally excited, but, of course, I am her mom and it is bittersweet. She's growing up and has continued to do so during a crazy pandemic.

We have the same sneakers and I took this picture, at her request, just for fun. I was thinking though, what's it really like to walk in her shoes: age 11, 6th grade, middle school, family, friends, just life. I hope my shoes can fit like hers. I don't think they do yet...it's something I'll have to work on.

Estamos viendo diferencias dramaticas en las tasas de infección, enfermedad, y muertes por COVID en diferentes lugares. ¿Qué piensa usted de estas diferencias?

Los casos graves de Covid son ahora en la población que eligió no vacunarse. El creer en cierta políticas es válido siempre y cuando eso no implique sacrificar la salud de los demás ni la de uno mismo.

Do you feel more healthy than you did at this time a year ago? Less healthy? About the same?

It's been a long journey since last March. My mom's death, Covid isolation, midlife issues, but right now I'm in a much better headspace. I just don't want to think about another winter of isolation ahead, but with the Delta variant uptick and now another variant, Mu, in 39 countries, I'm very concerned.

Additional Material
Does this time of the year feel different than it normally does, or different than it should? If so, give some examples of what feels different.

Pre-pandemic, at this point in the year, I would be looking forward to beginning the Fall season singing with two musical groups. The struggle between my desire to sing amd my desire to minimize my risk of contracting the coronavirus has been quite the mental tug of war, but health concerns have taken the upper hand. Once again, I will be participating with one group via Zoom, amd skipping the one that meets in person.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I was tested for COVID for the first time this afternoon. I have a sore throat. It's probably nothing, but because my husband works with kids, it's better safe than sorry in terms of knowing; so we can protect the kids from exposure if need be! I awkwardly walked through the drive-thru testing station, because my car is dead. No result yet, but the verdict is in that I was annoyingly twitchy with the swab up my nose, according to the nurse.

Does this time of the year feel different than it normally does, or different than it should? If so, give some examples of what feels different.

Celebration of India Day as an outdoor picnic.

We felt very wonderful to meet our friends after more than a year. Some friends had put on lot weight some lost weight. It was fun to see our friends.

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

He tenido una buena semana con mi familia. Por momentos parece que no existe Covid. Pero cuando algún detalle me hace recordar que todavía está entre nosotros, siento intranquilidad. Ojalá todos se vacunarán para acabar más rápido con esto, con esta intranquilidad.

Is there anything you feel you've gained as a result of the pandemic? If so, talk about that.

Lots of things! Forced improved communication with my partner. Deepened friendships with our bubble. Increased time to spend and bond with our toddler due to remote work instead of time commuting. New hobbies and habits that I enjoy—my little indoor plant collection, baking challah most Fridays, homemade pizza night with (bubble) friends, increased contact (through Facebook) with our parents. While I’ve missed seeing my parents the last nearly two years (and I know it’s much worse for them), I’ve learned not to take visits with them for granted, and to no longer begrudge airplane ticket costs and vacation days used to trek out to see them.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected how you feel about yourself, others, or the world?

We're about a year and a half into this pandemic, and I'm genuinely surprised about what I've learned about myself in that time: I'm not as compassionate a person as I thought I was.

There is a subreddit in which people post articles and photos of folks who were publicly anti-mask or anti-vaccination or both, and who subsequently ended up infected, hospitalized, or dead.

I have to say I'm surprised at the internal glee I feel upon reading these posts.

I'm not proud of myself about this.

Maybe I should try to tamp it down.

But reading about people who were virulently wrong about a public health matter, and then suffered as a result of their opinions...

The worst one was a fellow who did not get vaccinated, got infected, was hospitalized and died, leaving his widow with seven children. Someone commented, "It looks like he didn't believe in protection for any part of his body". I laughed. I'm a horrible person.

What do you think history books will say about this time? In your view, what's most important for them to include?

Sadly, I've thought about this quite a bit and I am confident that this time period will be reduced to a paragraph in a text book.

I think back to my high school US history teacher and how much history was "skimmed over" or distilled down to mere paragraphs. For example, I remember we spent about 2 days discussing the Civil War. At the time, I had little interest - it wasn't until my Dad took me to Lincoln's Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois that I became obsessed with the history - what caused it, who suffered, who lived, who died and how it foreshadowed coming wars. I learned none of that from my school. It was all self-learning - from many hours standing in Civil War battlefields, Presidential Libraries and museums.

So, I feel quite confident that if a four year war was reduced to two days, then an 18 month endeavor like the coronavirus will be a mere paragraph. I can see it now - "there was a new virus that most likely came from China that caused mass panic for several months. It resulted in a minor recession and the first practice of a basic universal income. And there was a bit of unrest with people not wanting to wear masks. Oh and a new president was elected. THE END."

Perhaps I'm wrong, I'd like to be. But I don't think it will be that much different. Guess we will need to wait about twenty years to find out.

Describe a normal weekday for you right now.

It may be strange, but I don’t feel like I have a “normal” or “typical” weekday right now and that may be more to my place in time than to the pandemic. I’ve been a super busy “stay at home” mom for over two decades now, but I don’t feel like that is an apt descriptor anymore, as my kids are now young adults. Yet, in the past year, I had one “boomerang” child who moved back in with us when Covid hit. We also had my elderly mother in law living with us for the better part of the past year. My husband and I have just gotten our “empty nest” back and are trying to figure out what that means for our routines.