When I began to think about what I did over winter break, I couldn’t quite remember. It just seemed to meld together with the never-ending COVID-19 time vortex. For many of us, COVID-19 fatigue grew this semester as we had to attend school with little of the social benefits, since most on-campus activities were canceled. I’m not referring to a general or vague feeling of tiredness when I talk about COVID-19 fatigue. In fact, COVID-19 fatigue describes a real set of symptoms that includes lack of energy and being constantly overwhelmed.
However, when I reflected on my winter break, I realized that I still found ways to enjoy the time off from school and get into the holiday spirit. Even though the holidays were different this year, it’s important to remember the positive things that happened through the season.
In December, I visited Union Station’s Home for the Holidays display. The entire Grand Plaza of Union Station was redecorated with lights displays and a train-themed, walk-through village. The walk-through exhibit, which spanned three rooms, was an array of Christmas villages and toy trains that ran throughout all the villages. Each village was from a different historical time period. There was even a train that you could ride through a winter wonderland in the middle of the Grand Plaza, but I was told that was reserved for those 5 years old and under.
Shortly after finals concluded, I was able to gather with a small group of friends to have some Christmas celebratory fun. We decided to brew a cup of cider and watch the newly released “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Musical!” starring Matthew Morrison.
Little did I know this would be one of the most unsettling pieces of film produced during our lifetime. Morrison’s drawing upon the Joker as inspiration for his chaotic, and sexual, spin on the character of the Grinch was an unnecessary but “natural” way to end the year.
As Christmas came and went, I was reminded of how grateful I was to gather, in small groups, with family over the holidays. In a year where so much has been canceled, it was nice to relax and reflect upon what truly matters during this season.
While ringing in the New Year is often met with much hope and anticipation, that feeling was regrettably absent this year. As the calendar flipped, I think most people greeted the year with a heavy sigh. Notably, this was the first New Year’s Eve I can recall going to bed before midnight. I’ll blame that on the pandemic.
As always, January flew by, and I was back ordering books and logging onto Zoom before I knew it. There was a time when I hoped that the spring semester of my senior year would be relatively normal. In a way, it has almost been more freeing to accept that this semester won’t be normal. I spent most of the fall semester wishing that the spring would bring all the traditional William Jewell College activities that I could do for the last time, like homecoming and formals. And while there’s nothing wrong to wish for those things and be sad that they won’t happen, I don’t have to spend my time wishing. Instead, I can accept that this will be our normal for a while and commit to living in the present.