We are two full months into 2021, and I am still convinced it is 2020. Leading up to the New Year, we were all so ecstatic and had somehow convinced ourselves that as soon as the clock struck midnight, instead of losing a glass slipper, our lives would immediately be better. We fantasized about COVID checking out as the ball dropped and returning to life pre-March 13. As unrealistic as it was, I convinced myself that all I had to do was make it to January 1 and everything would miraculously be that much better. I blame TikTok for this, actually. Video after video on my “for you page” was full of 2021 dreams: trashing our masks and hugging everyone as far as the eye could see. There are a lot of fantasies about “the day the pandemic ends” but the reality is, it wasn’t January 1.
My subconscious seems to still be living in pre-2021 though, because it wasn’t until last week that I realized I hadn’t written 2021 once. I was taking notes for class when I started daydreaming about what day it was; don’t ask me why, but I did. I started thinking about how crazy it was that it has been almost a year since everything changed and, absentmindedly, I looked down at the date on my paper: 2/12/20. It wasn’t until that very moment, a month and a half into the New Year, that I realized I had been writing 2020 the entire time. Slightly panicked, I flipped through my past notes, papers, and even my daily journal, and the number 21 was nowhere in sight. You’d think I would have at least written it on January 1 in my journal, but no, not even then.
I once saw a meme saying that there was no way people would forget to write 2021 as the date because they were so happy to finally be rid of 2020, but apparently that was not the case for me. I was so caught up in the idea that life would go back to normal on New Year’s Day that, when it didn’t, my subconscious decided to pretend that it was still 2020. A large part of me wanted the pandemic to stay tucked away in that unspeakable year, that it wouldn’t follow me forward, but it did and here I am. Less than a month away from the one year anniversary of the lockdown, I am finally coming to terms with the fact that the “new” year has really just been more of the same: political unrest, racial injustice, raging pandemic, online school. It hasn’t ended, but at the same time, it was foolish to think that it would; nothing can change unless it is worked toward, not just hoped for. We can do it, though, and of course, we need hope to make change, so stubborn old me is still holding out for summer 2021; maybe that’s when the switch will flip.