The year we learned the true meaning of patience.

What can I say, I should have known. Brasilian tradition says that the way you spend Sylvester dictates how your next year will be, and well I am not a superstitious person, but I have never believed it so much!
Last November I found a lump on my neck, it took me a while to go to the doctor to check it because you know, why check it if you can just not? So between my delay, doctors Holidays and the lack of pathologists in Salzburg on Sylvester, I was anxiously awaiting a biopsy result. If you know me you know I hate waiting, and I am naturally a super anxious person, although it was a lovely evening and in very nice company, believe it or not, the first thing I did when that clock struck midnight was to worry. So yes I have been worried since January first, 2020.
At first, I worried that I might have cancer when I found it was a benign tumour I worried about having to get sick leave for the operation and missing a premiere (silly me). February rolls in, my operation has been pushed to June, so I worry I will have to go thru it by myself. A call home quickly decided that mum was coming in June (YAY) and I rested assured that a couple of weeks of take out (mum doesn’t cook) and Netflix would guarantee me a speedy recovery.
With the premiere successfully behind us and only four weeks to the next one the next worry comes in: will we be able to finish the new piece?
It is mid-march and time is starting to run out as fast as my “worriness” level is hitting the roof, little did I know how much more worrying I was capable of doing. We start to hear talks of a new virus, a coronavirus just like the beer. Now, I read the news and try to stay informed as much as I can. Still, this virus was hitting china, that’s pretty far away. At this point, it is safe to say it won’t come to Europe, a quick google search of the symptoms (i am a hypochondriac) and a brief joke exchange with my very good Chinese friend and I had no reason to worry, after all, I had more important things to worry about.
A few days later the virus is hitting Italy. Still, you know, the Italians, they are my favourite Europeans, so friendly and careless, they could almost be Brazilians. It is not like the Germans have Corona, wait a minute, they do, ok I reluctantly add Corona to my list of worries, but you know, way bellow the premiere and my botox reapplication.
From there on it happened pretty fast, Austria had a few corona cases, than Salzburg, before we knew it we were on stage getting ready for a general rehearsal when we hear someone in the orchestra might have Corona. The orchestra is out; the choir is also not coming, too dangerous. As usual, the dancers are still on stage; you can count on dancers to always be the last man standing, we would make great soldiers. So yes, tensions are high, I have to admit to myself now is the time to worry, after an uncomfortable meeting with the theatre boss we get sent home, the country is going on Lockdown, we will be home for two weeks and see how it goes from there. That’s when the snowball started.
Since then I have worried about catching Corona, about my family dying, about anyone dying, having enough toilet paper, having enough food at home, having to throw out food after buying too much, getting out of shape, getting back in shape, the slow decline of my relationship during quarantine, the continuous decline of my relationship after quarantine, getting a smaller salary, getting a salary at all, never going on stage again, not being good enough when you finally go back on stage, hugging people, the awkwardness of not hugging people, being lonely, seeing friends, losing my mind and the list goes on….
This year has redefined life as I knew it and how I felt about everything. I decided long ago to leave my family in a different country, but worrying about not knowing when you will be able to fly back home has kept me up many nights. I got used to being lonely and had real anxiety attacks about meeting and rehearsing with my colleagues after seven quarantine weeks. I had to revisit all of my fears while developing new ones every day. Like the first time I wore a mask to the supermarket, I feared I was being stared at because my handsewn mask was too colourful. Irrational, I know, this now feels like a lifetime ago.
It has been a crazy year, and sure I have learned to appreciate many things that were not my priorities before. But, the worrying and the not knowing have taken a substantial emotional toll that will take a while to restore. And yes, it could be worst, we could be in a war or Trump could have been reelected, but it felt as if I was in a constant war with my worries this year.
So, for 2021 I wish you a lot of health, friends, company, love, laughter and sunny days. And however you are celebrating tonight, big or small, when that clock strikes midnight, please, do not worry!

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