What a year for romance. Twelve months ago, we’d heard the word coronavirus but it hadn’t become the imprisoning force that would expeditiously reshape human life. A lot of relationships broke under the stress brought on by COVID-19. Many relationships never saw their start—sidelined by that same monster.
In March of 2020, CNN published an article titled “Can Your Marriage Survive the Coronavirus?” The piece detailed the stressors brought on by domestic confinement. The author pushed communication, levity, and routine as the driving force in maintaining a healthy relationship. The same month, New York City divorce powerhouse Schulte Roth & Zabel reported a 50% increase in people seeking representation for divorce. Founding member, divorce attorney William D. Zabel said at the time that his colleagues were already reporting the same.
While dating apps have never seen more activity, dating itself slipped into a relentless lull. Cold weather and closed doors limited our options for 3D dating and brought about virtual dates, where we interviewed for the chance to date later. One of those proved enough for me.
I found that with each match came a new set of (mostly politically motivated) boundaries and expectations. People wore their beliefs and values on their (digital) sleeves in ways I’d never seen. People took a side and dug in. With confidence.
“Novel coronavirus” was the verbal packaging that I initially came across that described the contagion sweeping the globe. Novel meaning “new” and coronavirus meaning “doctor things,”—they were two words that would change life on Earth. We watched from half a world away as it crept across the ocean to our shores and it hammered down.
Taking in all the information I could, from a diverse body of sources, I formulated my level of concern and made a point to be respectful others’. I took a spectators’ view as the world changed around me—and I did my best to keep up.
One year later, we find ourselves in a similar holding pattern. I’ve purchased at least eight masks, and I still forget them in my car. I’ve struck out on hand sanitizer countless times, saturating my hands in a foul scent, or a watered-down consistency—I even broke the pump thing once. I spent too much on cycling crap. I went on a masked date.
I experienced mild discomfort. In hindsight, the toughest part was not knowing what we were up against. How serious is this? When can commerce resume? Am I pandemic-ing correctly?
And now we know. We have a year of data letting us know who is most at risk and why. A vaccine is rapidly making its way around the world. Restaurants and retail have adapted their facilities to allow for safe patronage. The world is united in the push to eradicate COVID-19 from human life.
2021 brings an opportunity to connect. It’s legal again. It’s time to make up for those connections that went unconnected. Reach out, it’s good for you. Sign in to that app and get swiping—or better yet, start over. New photos, new profile, new outlook, new year.
It’s time to be brand new.