COVID19 life

One Foot In Front of the Other

July 28, 2021

I have 100% been wallowing in this new surge. I guess I just thought we were largely done. The 2021-2022 school year was a promise of normalcy (or near-normalcy). I was hoping to make friends, host and go to gatherings, and generally live like humans did in 2019.

(NOT that I was always jubilantly happy in 2019.)

But we are here. This is life. I have to accept where we are and continue. One hour, then another. Focusing on how this was preventable (probably) is not helpful. Feeling angry towards those who chose not to get vaccines is not helpful. Internal woe-is-me rants are not helpful.

Instead, I will try to remember that — pandemic or not — this is my one and only chance at life. I will never be a 41 year old again. I will never have 3 children ages 3, 7, and 9 again. I will never enter my current career stage again. This is it!


I will work very hard to stop fearfully reading the news (back to 9 pm CNN checking – WTF, that was so March 2020!?)

I will find things to appreciate in each day

I will work hard to bring focus to each thing I am doing

I will not think too hard about what the future may or may not look like

I will give my attention and presence to my family members, to my friends, to my patients

I will find projects to keep me excited and interested

I will put one foot in front of the other

Off for a run. I am grateful to be here today.

By Annabel, at art camp (which she loves). Very happy she is getting to go!


  • Reply Aly July 28, 2021 at 6:35 am

    I feel the exact same way. I’m a high school teacher in MA and this upcoming year was supposed to be a fresh start after a long haul. And the CDC’s recommendation that everyone in schools wear masks this year is so hard to hear (I understand it but wish we weren’t here again). Thank you for your
    Positivity in the midst of frustration.
    I need a dose of that!

  • Reply Gillian July 28, 2021 at 7:08 am

    I almost cried when the FDA requested that the 5-11 yo clinical trials nearly double their enrollment. Our county is highly vaccinated and cases here are low, but my 3 younger kids are not old enough to be vaccinated and I just thought we were so much closer. Such a bummer!

    • Reply Diana July 28, 2021 at 7:57 am

      This is exactly what I am trying to tell myself as we are stuck locked down again in Australia. Thank you for verbalising my thoughts, one and only chance indeed.
      Lovely artwork Annabel!

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie July 28, 2021 at 7:48 am

    I hope all these republican states allow school districts to put in mask mandates. We’ve been making phone calls. At least one of the commenters on our blog is in an even worse situation than we are—the school district officials where she lives don’t believe masks work. Our principal is at least trying his best given state interference.

  • Reply Mrs. Candid July 28, 2021 at 8:10 am

    One foot in front of another 👍

  • Reply Kaitlin July 28, 2021 at 8:56 am

    The worry about school and unlikely normalcy of it has been a huge struggle for me as well! Our oldest is due to start kindergarten this fall and for various reasons we’ve decided to homeschool. Not what we ideally wanted but everyone has to do what they feel is best for their child.
    As far as COVID goes, I try to stay away from the news as much as possible and keep reminding myself the only thing I can control is my own mindset. I’ve definitely had moments of despair but focusing on the silver linings of this whole situation has been a lifesaver for my mental well being.

  • Reply Connie C July 28, 2021 at 8:58 am

    Lovely artwork.

    I so can relate to this post and your post from yesterday.

    Keep moving forward.

  • Reply Anna July 28, 2021 at 9:29 am

    I don’t think this was preventable even if we had 100% vaccination rate in the US. The world is still largely unvaccinated, so new variants will keep emerging and entering the US. Additionally, there is much evidence that when breakthrough cases occur in vaccinated individuals, they have the potential to create even stronger mutations of the virus. At most, vaccines will provide protection against severe disease, likely with frequent boosters required. Our only hope is for this virus to eventually weaken and mutate into something similar to common cold.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 28, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Very interesting, had not read that angle but it does make sense. Maybe this is just a long long waiting game …

  • Reply Kelly July 28, 2021 at 9:30 am

    I can so relate to how you are feeling right now and am right there with you. Thank you for being honest in this space, it’s so helpful to read.

  • Reply Jen July 28, 2021 at 9:33 am

    It is definitely a good mantra just to be in today and not cast too far forward … a coworker said this is called the ‘perpetual present’ which can be hard if it lasts too long but is a good coping strategy for now. But i liked that term.

    I am in Canada where we had really long lockdowns this winter and spring and it felt unending. We are only just re-opening where i am (hair salons had not been open in my city since November 2020) and we now have a super high vaccination rate and i am really cautiously hopeful that we can take the bite out of covid at least. It does feel like we are a test group – wait and see how Canada does as we inch toward 80% vaccination for those eligible (amazing!) – which feels uncomfortable. It sure would be nice to know how it’s all going to work out.

    • Reply Jennifer Doyle August 1, 2021 at 4:25 pm

      Another Jen from Canada here – what are the chances you also had at least 2 other Jens in every grade as I did?! I’m a teacher in Ontario & was so hopeful for a more stable school year ahead. Thanks, Sarah, for the reminder that fear of the future isn’t beneficial for my heart or the health of my students. One day at a time. Even one hour at a time when that’s all the energy that we have. That’s a better mindset.

  • Reply Anie July 28, 2021 at 9:56 am

    I too have been a news-obsessed anxiety ball the last 2 weeks, and I finally realized most of this centers on the school issue. I feel like in a lot of ways, we are having the same conversation as last year – the opportunity to get vaccinated for adults and older kids, and a year’s worth of data from the U.S. and Europe, mean nothing in the face of peoples’ feelings (so.many.feelings. Including mine). I think in some ways there is just no making everyone happy on this issue – there are people who think schools should have been open this whole time (+/- mask) and there are probably people who feel schools shouldn’t be open until there are no cases x 14 days, or some other metric like that (or never), and a whole lot of people in between. At this point, for me personally: 1. I can’t keep going to work day after day after day after day taking care of other peoples’ families (I am a physician who has worked 100% in person this whole time) without society at large caring for mine (whether that be school or something else) 2. for my family in particular, I am far more worried about my kids not having a normal school year (defined as 5 day a week in person school – I don’t really care about them wearing masks, whatever it takes) than about them catching covid. I realize there is privilege in saying that. But it’s also true. 3. As there is no perfect solution, I wish, wish, wish our school system would either just commit to being in person and do it, or admit that they aren’t willing to be full time in person until _X happens (whether that be vaccines for younger kids, a case rate below _X, or, let’s face it, never), so I can plan accordingly. I am sure my anxiety is not helped by the fact that I feel like the stakes are higher this year – I had a fourth grader last year who muddled through mostly-remote schooling, but this year my younger daughter (who went to preschool all last year with zero issues) is in kindergarten and she will literally learn nothing if we are remote. Barf.

    • Reply AnnaM July 28, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      oh my word THIS! I feel EVERY part of this (though I am not a physician). I need my kids in school, for so many reasons. I just can’t believe we are here again. I wish administrations, etc would be more clear.

    • Reply Mrs. Candid July 28, 2021 at 1:40 pm


      • Reply Irene July 28, 2021 at 6:28 pm

        SO well said. My daughter did virtual kindergarten last year and it was so detrimental to her relationship with learning and us that I would definitely do something different if I could go back in time. I am not a physician though/ I can only imagine the rage I’d be feeling if I were you and still have to cater to all those freaking feelings.

    • Reply Taryn July 30, 2021 at 2:27 pm

      Completely agree with this. That is one of the reasons we pulled the kids from public school. We need them to be in school full days sans mask. My 2nd grader lost almost an entire year of learning and is grossly behind. Our new school is small and will be in person full days no matter what. Thankfully this took so much stress off our plates and at least I don’t have to obsessively wait for our superintendent to announce the opening school plans for fall. Sad state of affairs for sure

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 30, 2021 at 3:02 pm

        Our private school is also small but requiring masks (which I am happy with) and I’m very worried about frequent all-class quarantines … especially because they will quarantine siblings of exposed.

  • Reply Emily July 28, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I hear you and this is all really tough. :/ But I wanted to say I love Annabel’s art! Great she’s getting to do art camp despite all this.

  • Reply Jjiraffe July 28, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Yep. We can’t control what’s going on. But we can control how we react to it. Focusing on gratitude and staying in the moment are key ways to do this.

    Love the toucan!

  • Reply AnnaM July 28, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    Sara, I feel this. I feel every bit of this. I am so there with you and really appreciate that you shared this. This is why you’re the only blogger I still follow.
    I hope we get out of this surge! 🙁

  • Reply Lee July 28, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Your “I will” statements are SO GOOD. Thanks for posting. This has definitely been a hard week news-wise, but we just have to press on as best we can with the info we have. Love the commenter who said ‘perpetual present,’ too — that’s a good one.

  • Reply Sophie July 28, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    I hear you Sarah, been feeling the same way. I’m in Sydney Australia and we have been back in Lockdown for over a month trying to contain Delta with no end in sight (Australia’s vaccination rates are abysmal sigh). I guess it’s helped me too to realise that all over world countries are struggling still with Delta – Europe and UK are also again experiencing surges, not to mention how bad the developing nations are hit. So I’ll just say very few countries are getting it right, and we are all in it together really. Hang in there!

  • Reply Gasem July 28, 2021 at 7:54 pm

    Historically pandemics last 2 to 3 years. Pandemics are driven by the Gibbs free energy of mixing equation which basically states mixing will not stop until dS/dt (rate of change of entropy) = 0, so entropy is the driving force. The virus was enhanced for human infection and air travel is the perfect mix master. Entropy doesn’t care about human intervention. The Asian countries who “did so well” last year are now experiencing a viral forest fire. The only way out is to march through the storm. Nearly 200M cases, nearly 4B vax doses world wide and yet the virus rages. 2 years in the USA will be next March. Part of addressing a problem is to correctly frame it.

    • Reply Anon July 29, 2021 at 7:28 am

      This comment above about the two-three year time frame just eased so much angst for me. So much of the difficulty of this pandemic is not knowing when it will end and how long we (and more critically, our children) will be living like this. My son was two and a half when this started. For some reason, knowing we might be on our way back to normal by the time he is 5-6 is deeply reassuring to me. I don’t know your background, dear comment writer, but this should be an op-Ed. We are not framing the pandemic correctly to anyone if what you write is true.

    • Reply Jennifer Robertson August 3, 2021 at 11:17 pm

      I agree with commenter above. Can you provide references for this?

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