Featured Entries

Each week during PJP’s first phase, we posted a few journal entries that participants gave us permission to share anonymously.
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Have you been part of any social gatherings lately? If so, what was that like? What impact did the pandemic have, if any?

We've been visiting friends indoors which is a new experience. Not many people at a time and we keep the doors open. No masks.

I'm not sure how I feel about it. Am I being irresponsible? It's confusing.

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

yes, everyone in my circle has gotten the new strain of the virus. I have a co-worker who got sick, two of my four daughters got covid, my son-in-law got covid.

nothing really changed for me.

I took the vaccine in early April, 4th dose, so I think it must have worked because lots of people around me got sick and I didn't.

My youngest daughter, 23, who lives with us full time did not get covid, but she had a bad cold and missed work for a few days.

Generally, I am feeling restless. My mental health is not that great right now. Still have a very wondering mind, can't seem to focus but hopefully everything will turn out ok.

Wrote a poem for a radio station about "Normalcy" Everyone is focusing on returning to normal but I feel that normal will never really be here.

We don't know what normal is anyway.

Nothing is normal anymore.

Some people are feeling intense feelings right now as a result of the pandemic. Is anything making you especially sad right now, or especially angry? If so, what's on your mind?

I'm not personally experiencing any intense feelings at the moment. However, a close friend is having a very hard time. He suffers from anxiety and OCD. The pandemic has made things exponentially worse for him. In the last month or so, he's been having more frequent and longer lasting attacks, and needing more time to recover. He's really struggling with trying to re-integrate into day-to-day life outside his home. Even the thought of going out can set him off.

Based on what I'm hearing from him and from others, folks with mental health issues are going to need extra support on an ongoing basis.

It makes me sad. I feel helpless. I wish there was something I could do.

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

Actually, for this week, nothing special happened. Doing nucleic acid test is now my daily routine. The pandemic in GuangZhou is geting better. Also, I got a language partner this week and we practiced oral English every Saturday evening, which is great. So far so good I guess.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

Mother's Day TODAY!Bought a cake for my dear mom today~Wish moms in the world a Happy Mother's Day!

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

I was given an ultimatum as a cast member in a school musical-- either remain covid-free by tech week or cancel the show. We are unofficially in a musical cast bubble/lockdown to avoid this worst-case scenario.

Would you describe yourself as someone who’s flourishing at this point in your life? Why or why not? If this has changed during the pandemic, talk about what’s changed.

No, I'm not flourishing. I don't personally know anyone who's flourishing. At most, we're managing to keep from being overwhelmed by current events.

Talk about the last time something made you cry.

The last time I cried was on April 30, the anniversary of my brother’s death. He was a musician, talented, smart, funny, gone way too soon, way too young. I turned on my music and listened to his band’s recording of Directly From My Heart To You,” his voice and harmonica playing reaching out across the years to wrap themselves around my heart and bring tears to my eyes. He died 17 years ago, and yes, I miss him and treasure the memories of our times together. I think of those who have lost friends and family to this pandemic. With nearly a million people in this country dead from Covid, every day there are more than 2,500 painful anniversaries for those who lost someone to the virus. And there are many others who will mark the day their loved one died, not of Covid, but alone because of pandemic precautions.

Have you been part of any social gatherings lately? If so, what was that like? What impact did the pandemic have, if any?

Indeed I have!

After two years of limited and tentative get-togethers, it feels like there have hardly been any social opportunities I HAVEN'T taken advantage of

In the past seven days I've:

* Had a leisurely and entirely enjoyable hour and a half lunch with a colleague at a popular and busy restaurant

* Attended a planning meeting for a weekend camping trip that subsequently got cancelled due to wildfires

* Taken the day off from work to run errands, including buying chicken feed at a farm supply store, shopping for clothes at a second-hand store, and getting groceries at a big box store

* Played board games for several hours at my friend's art gallery with two other friends

* Hiked a seven mile trail in the mountains with a party of six

* Watched a movie at the local art house theater

All of these, except the hiking, was not possible at various points in the pandemic

You better believe I appreciate the chance to do all the things now that restrictions have been lifted

Is it risky? Sure!

Do I know it could be rescinded at any moment if any variants around the world develop more threatening profiles? Yes!

"You only live once" has never seemed more applicable

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

La vida se ha vuelto más difícil. Hoy no he tenido un buen día y tengo la mente llena de pensamientos tristes y negativos.

En los dos años de clases virtuales me he retrasado mucho en mis estudios y eso me frustra tremendamente. También me molesta no tener el dinero suficiente para pagar mis gastos, ¿pero cómo podría? No tengo trabajo y mi familia insiste en que eso es lo mejor para mi ahora y que me enfoque en mis estudios y en mis pasiones como escribir. Ellos me dan una cantidad ínfima que apenas me alcanza para mis gastos universitarios, aunque se encargan personalmente de pagar por otras necesidades. Me molesta cómo me controlan:dinero, horarios, clases, etc. Por otro lado, esto probablemente es solo un berrinche aumentado por mis ganas de consumir y por mi desorden hormonal. ¿Qué hago quejándome? Sé que cuando tenía más libertad y dinero en mi poder tomé decisiones desastrosas que me marcaron hasta hoy, así que entiendo que ellos me cuiden y sean aprensivos.

En momentos así, donde mi mente tira con igual fuerza en dos direcciones opuestas, sólo me queda meditar y orar al Padre para encontrar reposo para mi alma.

Espero que la otra semana escriba algo más animado.

Talk about whatever else is on your mind today.

The journal makes me think about what is happening. This includes more than the pandemic. Some of your questions make me think about the world in general and the US in particular. Some of your questions, especially about health care seem redundant to me, being a Canadian. Americans and Canadians are similar in many ways. However, the issues that divide your nation seem foreign to me. Gun rights, abortion, and a fear of universal health care are three I have a difficult time understanding.

At times, I fear that America's divisiveness is creeping across the border. Or recent protests and rallies are supported by numerous Americans. My values, I believe, mirror many Americans and there are Canadians that agree with restrictions that many US states are implementing.

When I go to vote in any election, it is a simple process. Federal Elections are managed by the Federal government. The people making the decisions are not political appointments. Electoral officers do not change with new governments. We vote less than America. Sheriffs, clerks, Judges, and many other officials are appointed based on a thorough process of screening and decisions made by committee from all stakeholders. Popularity and money buy fewer positions in Canada.

We are not perfect. We are divided in many ways. We have our own skeletons in the closet, the main one being our past and current treatment of First Nations people. Our government will and does apologize for our past injustices. We do not ban books based on Critical Race Theory or any other issues. We now require all students to take courses that recognize our past mistakes and injustices

I worry that my neighbour to the south is moving from democracy to anarchy and authoritarianism. I hope that electors can see the path America is heading and make decisions based on fact and information and not opinions lies and fearmongering. I once heard from a guest speaker at a convention I attended his definition of an "expert." - "Someone who travels more than 30 miles and carries a briefcase." America seems to be full of such experts at this time.

The pandemic seems to have quickened the move towards a different United States. Unfortunately I don't see as much of the "United" at this time.

Thanks for listening. We can all do better.

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

I have learned this spring that wearing a mask for the past two springs kept me from being miserable with allergies. Now I'm draining, eyes are puffy, and I'm miserable because I'm not wearing it unless I'm around large groups of people I don't know.

The wind in Texas has been ridiculous for about 3 weeks, and it has blown in every known allergen in the universe, right into my backyard and up my nose.

And allergy medicines just make me spacey. Here's hoping I can make it through the school year before I lose my ability to focus my eyes.

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

I had to travel on an airplane for a family member funeral this week. This is after US airlines have done away with the mask requirement in airports and on board.

It. Was. Frightening.

Almost no one on board with a mask but me (double-masked). Seat neighbor coughing. Lots of people coughing. Big busy airport with few in masks. Everyone talking loudly on phones, eating, sneezing, children crying. It was surrealistic. It's like everyone has decided there is no risk. They seem so excited to be in a crowd and breathe in everyone else air. It just seems so weird to me. In scenes like this, I have to think, is it just me? Am I being ridiculous? Am I clinging to masking for no good reason? Why are there so few of us with masks? But every day I hear about cases rising again and news about people getting sick, pockets of new waves of covid, rising hospital rates, the waning effectivity of our original vaccines and boosters, and no real news about new ones. Yes, less deaths, hooray, but until a varient comes along that does not cause long covid, I'm staying masked. Long covid sounds hard. Masking is easy.

Go ahead, stare at me like I'm the weirdo...

Think back to the beginning of the pandemic. Is there anything you wish you'd done differently? If so, what, and why?

I wish I had taken pictures of the roadways, grocery store parking lots, and any other quiet empty place. I wish I had written in a physical journal every day a few sentences about what I was doing, how others were doing around me, what I was afraid of, and how we felt about it. Because no one I loved or knew well died from covid my heart was not broken much during the pandemic, and I'm able to look back on it as a time of peace and learning where the hubbub of the world calmed down for a bit.

Now it has come back worse than ever. I'm almost nostalgic about the early days, although it was painfully, unbearably sad and I cried many times. I was so worried about my children and so anxious to do something to help, and so impotent in my ability to affect anything. Countless times I saw a pipetting going on on television in news reports and I know how to extract RNA, double stranded RNA, and DNA, and enzymes, and I could have been one of the people helping them that way but I had no venue for that before me because I retired from my laboratory job in 2017. I was itching to help and wished I could have been able to. I took up being a so-called vaccine buddy for the agency on aging to help people who couldn't use computers to a vaccination when they finally at long last, so much awaited, became possible. Now here we are in the late days and people are fighting it with all they can not to get vaccinated.

Human beings are very hard to understand.

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

Looking back at my previous journals, it seems that I often wrote about how uncertain COVID-19 has made the future. Shifting regulations, new variants, and the possibility of lockdowns constantly loom at the back of my mind. Accordingly, this past week reminded me of how variable things are. Because [our college] community has been experiencing a spike in cases, all of campus has had to go back to masking indoors with protective KN95s through the end of classes. We almost made it to four mask-free weeks, but the inevitability that cases would keep increasing made that impossible. While reactions around campus are mixed, I do not have strong feelings one way or another. Honestly, I knew indoor masking could be a possibility again, and while I am a bit annoyed at having to readjust to breathing through a mask, I can handle a couple weeks of mask wearing if it means other campus activities, like outdoor festivals, remain open.

One thing different this time around is the weather. Spring is here, which means days have been sunnier and temperatures have been warmer. Last week, I spent a lot of my time searching for new outdoor study spots and soaking up some sun for the first time since October. I even had a couple classes outside (hint: the anthropology class I am writing this journal for) and felt so much more mentally refreshed than I usually do after spending my time sitting indoors. Being able to spend more time outdoors, I also think it will be easier to adjust to mask wearing. During the winter, I felt like we all curled up into our own little bubbles and hid behind our hats, coats, and masks, so hopefully now we can use the warmer weather as an opportunity to maintain connections with others despite having to mask. I am eager to see how we all practice mask wearing in a new seasonal context, especially having already experienced waves of regulations in the past.

Below is a picture I took last week while sitting under a tree and writing an essay for class; this was a day before the new mask regulations were announced.

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

Una de las afectaciones relevantes es que uno no puede acceder al transporte público sin portar un cubrebocas al pasar por esta situación puede que gente al rededor se aproveche de la situación, el gobierno debería de brindar cajas de cubrebocas para la comunidad que lo necesite en los espacios que son regidos por el metro metrobús etc. me ha tocado ver personas indigentes que les niegan el acceso por no portar uno y tampoco tienen las posibilidades del acceso a uno orillándolos a usar alguno que ha sido desechado en la basura, procedente de cualquier persona. Alterando la sanidad, exponiendo su salud

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

Today is April 30th, the last day of April. And tomorrow, is the first day of May. And! It's a new beginning also. Everyone of you should be happy in May, too.I hope so!

Also, Today is the first day of the May Day holiday, and we will have another nucleic acid test. According to the news, yesterday, 29th April, there was a novel coronavirus carrier in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, an international airport near my school, and then went to my home. The most frightening thing is that he stayed in a hotel less than 100 meters away from my community and then tested positive.To tell you the truth, I am quite worried now. According to my parents, many places in our house are sealed up, so you can't go out for walking the dog. And my side of the house will probably be locked down, and my side of the house won't be allowed out unless it's serious.

In this three-day holiday, I can only learn to study, playing sports sports pastime time.

That all~

¿Esta época del año le parece ser diferente de lo normal, o diferente de como debería ser? Si es así, dé algunos ejemplos de lo que siente que es diferente.

Nessa última semana flui como se não houvesse mais pandemia, sendo essa uma percepção coletiva entre as pessoas próximas de mim. Algo que já estava intensamente presente na minha vida. Não vivemos mais em tempos pandêmicos. Não aguentamos mais permanecer com máscaras, que asfixiam os sorrisos. Não aguentamos mais permanecer distanciados, pois somos seres coletivos. Não aguentamos mais tomar vacinais, com suas doses infinitas, em que lucram excessivamente as indústrias farmacêuticas. É difícil encontrar formas de estar fixo num contexto tão contrastante, em que somos reduzidos e consumidos.

É estranho descrever esse momento atual da pandemia. Em que não reconheço mais sua existência. Ao mesmo tempo em que as pessoas continuam morrendo e adoecendo. Parece que retornamos ao “novo normal”. Quando na verdade nunca fomos normais nessa sociedade doente pelo dinheiro. E seguimos nossos fluxos existenciais como se nada tivesse acontecido, como se uma pandemia, um sinal de alerta não tivesse alcançado alguma centralidade. Será que aprenderemos ou morreremos ainda mais numa próxima pandemia?

Esse retorno das estruturas para essa dita normalidade produz intensos desconfortos frente aos seres viventes nessa sociedade em colapso de si. Me sinto um tanto adoecido nesse “fim da pandemia”, com receios do que virá no futuro próximo. Essa angústia provoca momentos de inércia na minha vida, que me fazem olhar ao redor, sem muita perspectiva de amanhã. Nesse percurso vou caminhando para compreender quais afetações e sensações mais permeiam esse nosso ser e estar no mundo pós-pandemia, se assim é possível conceituar, já que as linhas tênues da espacialidade-temporalidade estão extremamente esgarçadas. Não consigo colocar as vacinas como divisoras de águas para o fim da pandemia. São para mim, um meio, mas não a solução para essa crise sanitária.

Dentro desse contexto, com flutuações de emoções vou seguindo pelas encruzilhadas, nos caminhos de possibilidades que promovem mais fortalecimento ao redor de tanto sofrimento. A pandemia criou marcas inesquecíveis nas diferentes gentes, com suas singularidades, e assim, é preciso encontrar formas de cura.

Has the coronavirus pandemic changed how you see the country you live in? If so, how?

The country (US) is more divided than I can ever remember in my 62 years of life. I remember some schism in the 60’s and 70’s and especially over the Viet Nam war, but this is a different situation. The lives lost, the refusal by so many to make sensible and protective decisions. Maybe as COVID seems to be ebbing (at least temporarily), and restrictions are being lifted, the tempers and outward expression of divisions have dropped a few notches. But I still feel personally at-odds with so many people who completely chose to be on the wrong side of things - from vaccinations to refusing to follow restrictions to buying into conspiracy theories, etc. This will take a long time for me to get past. We even moved across the country, and out of our former home of 23 years, to live in a more educated and COVID sensible place because of the ignorance and attitudes we experienced in the Southeast during the worst of the pandemic. I will never return.

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

Because of the another outbreak of Omicron, we had to have wipe tests these days. I decided to become a volunteer yesterday, which was very meaningful. Sincerely hope that the pandemic will end very soon.

Many women have had to stop working for pay as a result of the pandemic. Has this affected you, or anyone close to you? If so, talk about what's happened.

My daughter is a fulltime pharmacist In a small independent pharmacy . When the pandemic hit her bosses started working more cuz they couldnt go anywhere . My daughter lost hours due to the bosses working more. So hard to manage on a reduced salary and she didn't qualify for any government assistance

Have you noticed any changes in your relationships with coworkers, neighbors, or acquaintances since the start of the pandemic? Have these kinds of relationships gotten stronger or weaker? If so, how?

This picture of a scale in a hardware store where I bought fresh peanuts is an example of comfort food and also a reminder of Peanuts the Charles Schulz cartoons. I find that I am proactive to make new connections in fields of interest that intrigue me. I bought the peanuts as I waited to get into an exhibit of Techspressionism which is artwork created digitally or using technology. It was a great exhibit I reconnected to the woman who did a seminar many years ago at Guild Hall in East Hampton about software to create digital art. I call my works digital abstract expressionism. I actually sold an art work at Guild Hall in a member exhibition. Only 19 works sold out of 400 displayed. The curator of the exhibit on Saturday April 23 was also a new connection. So I guess I manage to make new connections which compensates for not staying in touch with old friends.

Have you noticed any changes in your relationships with coworkers, neighbors, or acquaintances since the start of the pandemic? Have these kinds of relationships gotten stronger or weaker? If so, how?

I live in a senior community that was in lockdown for quite some time. Because all we had was each other, I've become quite close to some of the people here. That's been quite wonderful.

Unfortunately, though, I have lost contact with many many people I knew outside of this community. It makes me sad but I am hoping to reconnect in the future. I don't like long phone conversations but I love face-to-face meetings where you get the whole person, body language and all. Looking forward to that!

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

I'm one of the very few people in my office-environment workplace who still wears a mask. I've known a few people to have COVID recently, like my really-suffering very-pregnant friend, so the risks are on my mind.

I can't deny that my mask is also a protest. Everyone's all, "ohh, it's so nice to see faces, it's so good to not be working from home, I'm so glad we don't have to wear those darn masks anymore." I disagree with all of that. I can't say that at work, but I can wear my black KN95 in a conference room crowded with fifteen bare faces, like a big ole sign that secretly says, "I hate this and I'm scared for my pregnant friend and I object!!!!!"

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.

Certainly our family Easter celebration was different than usual. No big communal gathering around the table. We still found creative and safe ways to get together but certainly wasn’t our normal Easter dinner.I wonder when/if we’ll ever celebrate all events in our usual ways? 😢