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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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2020 Defined As…..


I read that one of the most “Googled” words in 2020 was “pandemic.” The World Health Organization defines the word pandemic as:

‘A pandemic is defined as “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people. The classical definition includes nothing about population immunity, virology, or disease severity.’

I decided to see what the “official” definition of the word “home” is, so I checked Webster’s dictionary. Home is defined as:

‘A place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives; a family living together in one building, house, etc.: a place where something normally or naturally lives or is located.’

When you put these two words together, I don’t think that what we did in our homes in 2020 was living “normally” or “naturally.”

I, for one, was not prepared for how the year 2020 changed our perception of “home.” Our homes became our children’s school, our favorite new restaurant, our remote offices, the place where we went on our “stay-cations,” and the safest place we could be.

We were suddenly disconnected from being in the outside world. We could only watch it go by in the news or on social media.

It wasn’t just the virus. 2020 was like a sleeping volcano—with hate and destruction bubbling up under the surface until it finally exploded into “Say his name,” “BLM,” political tension, a dramatic election, and bells ringing around the world to herald in a new administration. I didn’t think things could be any more strange, but then we started to speak a new language.

Suddenly, we were “self-isolating and “sheltering-in-place.” Cities across the world were in “lockdown.” We couldn’t just go to the grocery store and shop; we had to “social distance” until we could “flatten the curve.” We became a “touchless” world and relied on “remote contact” to stay connected to people, and we did it with “Zoom.” Our children said they were “WFH,” which I didn’t understand, but immediately mixed up the initials and thought they were talking about the “other,” letters that have an adult definition.

As the boundless pandemic dragged on, I admit to being stir-crazy at times. I had no idea my hair was as white as it was without my every-six-week color treatment, but I began to feel better about being at home. There was a sense of calm inside me—I couldn’t be at Covid risk as long as I was at home.

I was home, my husband was home, and so was our dog. It felt safe. Our shelter-in-place became our lanai. Every evening for an hour or so, we would sit out there, have a glass of wine, and talk about what was going on in this crazy world. Our dog would curl up in her bed, at our feet, and listen to us talk. She felt safe too. We turned on our vintage lava lamp, sat under our blue and white twinkle lights, listened to music, shared “growing up” stories, and laughed at some of the things that scared us as children. We knew there was much sadness in the world and felt very lucky that we were not touched by the virus to the extent that many have been. We counted our blessings, the number of rolls of toilet paper we had on hand, and the number of days since we had our last haircut. We did it together, and that, too, felt safe.

I know that 2020 will be defined as many things—some good, most bad. But I will remember it as the year my husband and I grew closer amid far-reaching fear and sadness. I will remember feeling safe.

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About the Contributor
Jan Morgan-Swegle
Jan Morgan-Swegle is the Editor of Cape Fear Voices.  She has been writing for CFV for almost 3 years.  She is originally from the Cleveland area and moved down to Leland 12 years ago.  She and her husband, Tony, and their dog, Dixie, enjoy sitting on the lanai listening to music and sharing wine (Dixie likes white wine but only gets two finger tips full!!)  They have 3 children and 9 grandchildren living in Cleveland, Ohio,  Charlotte, North Carolina and Lakeland, Florida.

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