Consider this my ‘one year of living with Covid’ post. If you had your fill of those you can skip this post as it will barely mention any financial stuff (which was also the reason why I didn’t mention anything Covid related in my 2020 full year recap post.
Although Covid was already present before, the first real impact in my life was when the spread of Covid-19 forced Belgum in it’s first lockdown. This made working from home obligatory for everybody that could. From one day to another, the roads in Belgium were empty.
Working from home
This went pretty well for me. At my work this had always been a possibility but was usually only used for the occasional day when a big delivery was expected or a contractor was performing some renovations at your home. So the possibility already existed. This made planning for a full shift where everybody was working from home all the time easier.
My girlfriend works in the healthcare sector so there was no working from home for here. The only real problem we had was that our office room was not yet fully renovated. Which meant my desk was in the living room. This was a bit annoying for the girlfriend since she sometimes had a weekday off. So I did occasonally go for one day to the office. It was a bit strange being with only 2 or 3 people in an office meant for 60+ people. But that did make it VERY safe to go to work for me off course.
Once our office room was finished (only thing left to do now is placing the skirting boards) I moved into the office room and since then working from home has been smooth sailing. I do not miss the daily commute to work and since June I got in the habit off doing my fitness exercise during my lunch break (more on this in my upcoming health report). I do realise we are lucky in this regard as we have a large house with a seperate office room and enough space to put some fitness equipment. The large garden also helped (no full parks for this guy!)
Health during Covid-19
We did have a big scare when the girlfriend was infected with Covid in March (the perks of working in the health sector!) mainly because it was early days of the pandemic and there were many unknown about the disease then. It’s also a scary disease because it attacks the lungs and difficulty of breathing is very scary. No hospitalisations was required. No hospitalisation is a good thing but with the difficulty of breathing and the fact we sleep in seperate bedrooms did have me worry A LOT during the worst days of her infection. I worked from home and I did have two mornings were I quietly snuck into her bedroom to go check if she actually was still alive or not. In all honesty I am a bit mad at our government for dialing up the FEAR dial a bit too much here.
I myself never caught Covid, despite being in the same house as the girlfriend for the whole two weeks and we aren’t clean freaks either. And in the meantime the girlfriend has made a full recovery and health wise we are both fine at the moment.
Since we both kept our job and kept on working during the pandemic (well except the two weeks the girlfriend was sick) there was no impact on our income. Covid did have us spend less I think. For me it probably is a wash as I am a pretty frugal guy under normal circumstances and I did buy some home party equipment. But the girlfirend, who does enjoy going out, reports she did save more the last year.
Mental health wise we both are pretty fed up with the whole situation. Living 100+ km form friends and family has made us some of the most isolated people in Belgium during the last year. We had a garden party with 11 friends in July, a very small party in our living room in August with 4 people and we went to see some friends in Ghent in December. And that is the full sum of us being social for the last year. I had about 20 work days where I saw some co-workers (and work is busy, so not a lot of time for socializing), the parents a couple of times and a few neigbours- at a distance.
I am not a people person, but this shit is starting to be ridiculous. I also did a pretty good job at ignoring the news, before Covid. The pandemic kind off sucked me right back in. And honestely, there was a reason I was ignoring the news. Our news sucks, our government sucks (at several domains, the handling of this pandemic being the biggest one off course) and I long for the days I can all ignore it completely once more …
We can now again meet up with 10 people in our garden. I am now eagerly awaiting the return of some better weather (a hail storm just past over our house yesterday afternoon) and then I am planning on having back to back garden BBQ’s and outside parties.