I belong to a not-for-profit women’s organization intended for women over 50 who have retired or are retiring. TTN has chapters in many cities in the country. One of them is in New York City. It’s called the Transition Network (https://ttnwomen.org). One of the programs offered to TTN members is the Caring Collaborative, whose goal is to support the well-being and healthy independence of its members, who are in many neighborhood groups around the city.
My particular neighborhood group, whose members range in age from the 60’s to the 80’s, met monthly in someone’s living room before the pandemic, and then regularly on Zoom during the pandemic. Those Zoom meetings for our 18 members helped enormously to counter the isolation and anxiety we all felt.
With the pandemic seemingly ending, we have begun to meet monthly for lunch at a neighborhood restaurant on the Upper West Side. For the time being, we’re continuing to also meet on our monthly Zoom meetings, that are organized around a topic pertaining to health and well-being. That makes it easier for people to join the meeting who have mobility issues. But the monthly lunches are new and very nice.
I’m a big fan of both TTN and the Caring Collaborative. As we all know, New York City can be teeming with people. But if you live alone, as many members do, you can be lonely, especially if your family lives far away. As we all know, it’s extremely important to have strong social ties as well as a community of friends who can help if medical issues arise (think about the need to have someone pick you up from a colonoscopy).
Thank you TTN and the Caring Collaborative for helping us age gracefully.
I have 5 grandchildren–ages 9 to 4. I wrote to them many times during the first year or so of the pandemic when everyone was locked down. I’d usually include a stamped, self-addressed envelope so they could send me back a letter or a drawing, if they weren’t writing yet. I’d see them on FaceTime calls and, if their parents let them use their phones, we’d exchange some easy-to-read texts. Subsequently, of course, after we were all vaccinated, we’d get together in person. Even then, though, those visits might be one or two times a month.
Now, it appears, the oldest 4 (ages 6, 7, 9 and 9) have their own iPads. I believe they can all thank the pandemic for these since the iPads were the link to online classes.
Although none of them have their own phones yet (I know both my son and daughter, and their spouses, are looking to postpone that inevitability as long as possible), my grandson is able to send me texts on his iPad. I’ve gotten them every morning now for the past few days. I think he squeezes them in, sometime between 6:30 and 6:45 am, after he wakes up and before he has breakfast. All 3 texts so far have been about the Yankees.
I’ve also received two letters in the past 2 weeks from two of my granddaughters (ages 7 and 9). Both were sent in their own envelopes (not SASE).
All I can say is that it’s pretty wonderful to hear from your grandchildren, when they spontaneously reach out, in whatever way they do.
Three days ago, on September 8, 2022, at 3:10 pm, I got my “New Covid-19 Booster.” That’s the new “bivalent” one that targets BOTH the original Covid-19 virus as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants. So, possibly…maybe…perhaps, in approximately 11 days from now, I can stop wearing a mask indoors! That.will.be.big.
That might mean when I’ll feel comfortable eating indoors in a restaurant again! It might also mean when I’d feel OK going to see a play or a movie.
I know many people have moved on from the pandemic, but I haven’t. I know people who are still getting Omicron and who are currently dealing with quarantining, stubborn positive test results and lingering side effects. I really don’t want to get Covid and so I’ve been wearing a well-fitted mask every time I go indoors to shop, or visit a museum or take a city bus or subway. I don’t love wearing the mask for long intervals so I haven’t gone to see a play or a movie for 2-1/2 years. And since eating requires removing a mask, I won’t eat indoors.
But, perhaps…maybe…hopefully…on September 22, 2022, the pandemic ends for me–at least until the next Covid variant comes along.
I’d like to emphasize the word “living” in my title for this post. Despite the fact that NYC’s Covid positivity rate this first week of August is showing up at 13.5%, I decided it was time for me to visit a museum again. I’m not sure why it took this long to make that decision. It just did. In one word, it was wonderful.
Based on my conversations with friends, many of whom are over 65, we seem to be crawling out from under our pandemic rocks at our own speeds. As we all know too well, the pandemic and the variants are constantly changing. So what might have seemed safe a few months ago, may not now. For me, personally, I just don’t like wearing a mask indoors for the time it would take to watch a play or a movie. So that has eliminated those options from my return to any semblance of pre-pandemic normalcy. As with most of us who have been double-vaccinated and boosted, we’re reassured that even while our vaccinations have likely worn down in efficacy, they’re still useful enough to keep us out of ER’s and off ventilators. Frankly, that’s pretty reassuring.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was crowded when I got there Monday afternoon. The Met no longer requires proof of vaccination or even a face mask. Many people weren’t wearing one. However, I had my KN95 one on and, if I got to a place in the museum that wasn’t too crowded, I pulled mine down.
Walking around some of the featured exhibitions and seeing some of the magnificent art was simply wonderful and reminded me why New York is such an incredible place to live. It was one of the best afternoons I’ve had in a long time.
Unquestionably, winter, and especially several days in a row of gray skies and precipitation, seem to make the pandemic worse –at least for me. I’ve felt like Bill Murray in the movie, “Groundhog Day”, more times than I can count. One friend on a Zoom call this afternoon remarked, “I just can’t tell what day of the week it is anymore.” Many others on the screen nodded in agreement.
I’m triple-vaxxed since late October but still haven’t seen a theatrical performance or even been to a museum since before March 2020 (although that may soon change now that Omicron cases in New York City have significantly dropped). I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant.
I’m not sure how one ventures back out into the world. But until I do resume many missing activities of my life, the dreariness of the pandemic, and the winter, make the days all seem the same.
One of the great discoveries for many of us these past 18 months of the pandemic has to be the marvels of Zoom. For those of us who are retired and not needing to be part of a virtual office, it has allowed us to safely take classes, participate in all sorts of cultural and religious events and, most importantly, stay connected to friends and family.
For me, it has allowed for a get-together with cousins (one of whom I’ve never met and several whom I haven’t seen in years) living all over the country. We live in blue states and red states and pretty much cover all the possible time zones in the country.
Conversing with first cousins who remember some of your most embedded childhood memories, of people and places, is remarkable. Meeting first cousins for the first time is also amazing.
It’s a silver lining of the pandemic and I’m looking forward to it ending, once and for all, to be able to meet or get together again, in person. Finally.
I am joining a bunch of friends for a New Year’s Eve Dinner on Zoom. There are probably countless dinners like this planned with family and friends all over the world. We’ll each be in little squares toasting in what is unquestionably the most bizarre New Year’s any of us can remember. Even those of us whose memories go back many decades, can’t remember any time like the present.
As for me, I plan to light some candles and wear a sparkly necklace –probably with jeans, but no one will be wiser. I’m also looking forward to toasting a new year with the Covid vaccines and a new government. So, welcome 2021!
I’m very aware of the critical importance of donating to nonprofit causes now. There is such need everywhere because of the pandemic and especially in places like NYC, where I live. One organization to which I’ve made several donations since this past spring is: foodbanknyc.org. The photos of the long lines of people needing food reminds me of photos I remember seeing of the Great Depression. No one in this country should be hungry. A $1 donation provides 5 meals. A $75 donation provides 375 meals. If you can, please go to their website and make a donation:
I’m very grateful for all the Etsy shops selling masks now. I’ve bought a few with filter pockets and am inserting cut-up vacuum cleaner bags or Scott Shop towels. They seem to work just fine, fit snugly and let me continue to breathe through them.
My building requires everyone to mask-up in all public spaces: elevators, hallways, lobby, laundry room, mail room. So putting on a mask is as much a part of my apartment-leaving routine as taking my keys.
When I venture out for short walks on Riverside Drive, about 90% of the people during this week #8 are wearing masks. That percentage has certainly increased in the past few weeks, although there are a few people wearing them around their chins. It’s not clear what they’re thinking since there aren’t that many places in NYC where you’re not 6′ away from another human being. So having them constantly over your nose and mouth is certainly the way to go.
A stubborn group of non-mask-wearers are the runners who (mostly) don’t have them on. It’s also hard to stay out of their way when they run in the middle of the walkway. Maybe they haven’t heard the news that there’s a pandemic, or, as Governor Cuomo said, maybe they’re just selfish.
I’m hoping I’ll get used to the feeling of wearing a mask before those 90 degree high humidity days begin here in the city. Then wearing a mask on a cool spring day will seem pretty pleasant. No question that, as with most things and this pandemic, it can always be worse.