Throughout this past week, many people – public figures and otherwise – have been marking one year since life upended as they know it. Today is my turn. One year ago today was when I was last onsite at my day job’s office. Other people I knew had already started working from home about a week before I did and just from the looks of my commutes, they were getting emptier and emptier. I was not surprised when, while commuting home that day, I received an email from work, saying that we would be working from home for the next two weeks. Little did I, or anyone else for that matter, expect for those supposed few weeks to turn into a year. And yet even as I arrived home that day, I looked back at the outside world, with a lurking feeling that it would be the last time for a very long while where I’d be able to roam about it as freely as I did that day.
Musical theatre fans – or really, anyone who has any remote knowledge in the rock opera, “Rent” – are familiar with the song, “Seasons of Love;” a song that questions how 525,600 minutes is measured; from high moments to low points, from the mundane to the surprises, from milestones to occurrences when one goes of the beaten path. But ultimately, the song suggests that love is the ultimate measuring tool for a year.
I consider the lyrics as I look back on my life over the last year in quarantine. I think it can be measured by a lot of things that I managed to do in that time; in virtual film festivals, in countless Zoom calls, in screenplay competition placements, a virtual theatrical showcase, and a short film (more on that another time).
But then I think about how the year has been measured in the bigger scheme of things in what the world, and particularly this country, has been through, and a lot of it only brings emotional pain. Breonna Taylor was killed a year ago today. Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd were murdered not long after, leading to a turning point in the Black Lives Matter Movement. I also think about the Asian Americans who’ve been harmed and killed in xenophobic attacks, the wild fires that invaded my state and the cold spree that took over the country not too long ago, the government refusing to take the pandemic seriously, the stress leading up to the election, and the insurrection of the Capitol. On top of that, I feel nothing but anger over the countless lives that have been lost to COVID and how that, along with the restrictions we’ve been living under, didn’t have to happen if people would just where a f***ing mask!
It’s clear at this point in time that we’re thankfully nearing the end of this, as a majority of the country will be eligible for vaccines less than two months from now. It’s as a result that I now start thinking about how to go forward with life once all of this is over, and I realize that I’m going to have to make some hard decisions. While “Raya and the Last Dragon” does a superb job at tackling the topic of trust, there’s one element of it that I think it overlooked, and that is that trust goes both ways. As we re-enter the world and I meet new people, the thought regarding how seriously each individual took the pandemic with be a constant on my mind; informing me of how potentially selfish they really are.
I know this post is outside of what I usually write about on this blog, but a tweet or a caption on Instagram just won’t do it justice. It’s been one year for me, and I don’t know how much longer it will be. But I wanted to take the opportunity to use my platform to reflect on what we’ve been through so far.
One year. 365 days. 525,6000 minutes. How do I measure this past year? Love is not even it for me. I measure it in trust.