Covid Chronicles: Year of the Rat

This is the second installment of the Covid Chronicles blog from a Castleton University Media Writing class detailing students experiences during the pandemic.

Art made by Aurora.

A little background: In the Chinese Zodiac each year is represented by an animal with specific qualities and shortcomings that some believe can predict an individuals’ characteristics depending on what sign they were born under. This year, 2020, falls on the Year of the Rat, as did my birthday in 1996. I’m not the superstitious type, but for some reason I believed the coincident to be a metaphorical sign that 2020 would be “my year” of personal and professional success.   

The Year of the Rat was supposed to be my year.

Around mid-November of 2019 I exited a four-year long depression. The realization came to me softly, subtly, quietly, and long after it was gone. I can’t explain it: Just that it wasn’t there anymore. Like the moment you’re feeling your way out of a fog and you suddenly touch clear air. Maybe I was lucky? But I’m never lucky.

With the flood gates open and the serotonin flowing, I envisioned all the accomplishments I wanted to achieve, and I attacked them in a fervor state of productivity because I knew at any time it could come back without knocking.

I created a draft for success to help me navigate all the complexities of my personal projects, the tedium of finishing my last year as an academic, and the ambitions of a fulfilling professional career. I thought it was perfect. For the first time I said, “I can do this.”

Cut to two months later, New Year’s Eve, and I was about to start 2020 perfectly: By going to bed early. It may not seem important, but in my mind starting out the year with a healthy, controlled habit contributed to the foundation I was determined to build my success on. Year of the Rat bring it on!

I also hate loud noises and I hate that moment when the ball drops and everyone loses their mind.

I believe my exact words were: “F*ck that.”

It is now early September. Am I where I want to be? No. Am I wiser for it? Sure.

But I take back what I said earlier about not being lucky: I AM lucky. My lungs breathe on their own and I haven’t had to attend a funeral through a Zoom call.

Do I want things to go back to the way they were?


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