This post is not to showcase any new beads, although I am including my week of pink and yellow pictures, as I’m currently obsessed with that colour combination. I just wanted to reflect on the one year anniversary since our lives were turned upside down by COVID-19. I hope some of you will add your thoughts about how your life has been affected and whether or not your bead habits have changed during this time.
This week has been full of nostalgia for me. During lunch breaks, my co-workers and I have been chatting (while 6 feet apart) about how we had no idea this was coming. I remember during the week before March Break, people who had trips planned were trying to decide whether or not to cancel. We had teachers who were planning to go to Portugal, Cuba and Florida and my friend Trisha was booked to go to England, where she was going to meet up with some British ladies at a Trollbeads store. By the time we went home on Thursday, our government made the announcement that school would not return for two weeks after our one week break. Little did we know that we wouldn’t return until next September! On Friday only half our students showed up and my teaching partner and I decided to clean the room and to send home the students’ indoor shoes. There were whispers in the halls that the liquor stores were going to close and that we should stop there on our way home. By the time the weekend started, most people had cancelled their trips and we were all in a bit of a daze, not really understanding the significance of what was happening.
I believe it was a few days later that I was unable to get ahold of my Trollbeads USA contact, and after some digging I found out she had been let go. My contract was clearly no longer valid and I selfishly wondered if that was the end of my bead samples.
Once my workplace closed, I stopped wearing bracelets every day and I certainly stopped wearing necklaces. While school did start back up for us online, we were not yet doing the Zoom thing, so we got in the habit of not dressing very well, to say the least. After some time, I was able to find a contact in Denmark for Trollbeads, but it was clear that things were not operating as normal, as was to be expected. The land border between Canada and the USA closed and remains so even now. My friends and I used to take a short trip to Michigan to go shopping every few months, but now we haven’t been for over a year.
Some bead companies, namely OHM, have embraced the concept of staying at home. They started their OHM Studio 2 Go, where you piece together wax parts, which are then cast in silver, in order to create a unique bead. I believe if you are in Bangkok, you can go to their flagship store to try it out. On Thursdays they do a Stay Home and Ohm livestream on Facebook. All the days can be such a blur and I bet this weekly event helps some people to feel a passing of time. I’m actually feeling like it’s February currently, because we had to go online for school for all of January.
So here we are in March of 2021. Many people have struggled with loss, whether it be of a loved one, a job, simple pleasures such as meeting friends for coffee or a sense of purpose. I think for some bead collectors, beads have become even more important in their lives. The act of choosing (mostly online these days for a lot of us), waiting for the mail and then opening the package can be a bright light in what might be an otherwise dreary day. For other people (and I’m more in this camp), beads have become less important as other hobbies or interests have replaced the act of bead play and making combinations for wearing to work. My days consist of going to work, coming home, going to work, coming home. My new hobbies that help me get through the days are playing Animal Crossing New Horizons and building LEGO sets. Even though we can currently go shopping where I live, if I want to go into the Pandora store, there is usually a lineup and they don’t carry nearly the amount of stock they once did. Supply chains have been affected, so collections are not arriving in a timely manner, as they once used to.
With people slowly getting vaccinated, our lives will likely soon gain a semblance of normalcy. I will always now think of the ‘before times’, when we didn’t think twice about going into a store…it was just so EASY.
Please, feel free to share your thoughts about this one year anniversary. How has your life changed? Has anything changed for the better? Are your bead buying and wearing habits the same as before? I’d like to wish you all good health and happiness!
I was talking to my friend this morning about having NOTHING to say – I add the hashtag ‘every story has a bead’ to all my posts but I’ve no stories to tell! There are no stately homes in the background of photos, or picnics or the beach. I have the outfit I brought to meet Trish hanging in my wardrobe – tags still on 😦
I’m sure the warmer weather and brighter days will make everything feel more hopeful. I am determined to go somewhere soon – anywhere!!! And I will drape myself in an obscene amount of jewellery.
Laura, I totally agree about having nothing much to say these days! Yesterday our snow finally melted and I walked around our backyard and even that was mildly exciting-ooo-walking on the grass! 🙄
I sure hope Trisha can do her trip someday and then you can wear your outfit that you had planned to wear! And I miss seeing your pictures of your trips into London and your visits to the museums. 😐
Ah, how well you summarized this catastrophe. I am sitting here trying to think of one positive outcome but I honestly have nothing positive to say about this past covid year, for that is what it was, horrid, not just in the death toll, even though it did not hit close to home for me, but it ripped my heart out watching and knowing others were suffering. Then there was always the constant fear for my parents, friends, older friends, loved ones, and anger (which was really fear) if they slipped and went somewhere, even with a mask, that could have caused them to lose their lives. And also knowing there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it, and would not even get to see them if they contracted the deadly virus. Horrid. And I know it was a running joke that many would gain weight because they would not be as active, hair and nails, makeup, and normal upkeep would go out the window, and it all has, myself included, but I’m on track to losing the 10lbs I gained, a slow process but we do have a lot of safe outdoor nature space here, but is losing the weight I gained a positive? I don’t think so. How could it be when so many are suffering, lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost human touch. I’d rather have been able to erase this past year, period. As for going back to normal I was discussing this with a friend last night.. even when everything reopens, even when all the restrictions are lifted, even when everyone is vaccinated, or the majority are, how many years do you suppose it will take before you do not jump and want to run if someone sneezes or coughs beside you? Or how long to feel it is socially acceptable to hug someone? I’m a hugger, big time, everyone must get hugged, now we huggers have to restrain our love for others, and probably will for who knows how long, because no one is going to welcome a hug or human touch without cringing for who knows how long, this worries me, because I’d SO love a hug.. As for beads? They were a moot point for me for a loooong time, during this past year of covid I was also going through another difficult time, both of those things took every ounce of energy I had, and I couldn’t focus on Beads. I too am working on new hobbies, thinking about Alpacas, now there’s a cute face to make you smile, but I have to admit it was the beads that have gotten me through some of the darkest times of my life, especially the glass, such beauty! And you do not have to socialize with friends to run your fingers through your beads. So in talking to my fellow collector friend last night I got re-energized in thinking about Beads again, I think I am going to pull mine back out, dig through boxes, tubs, trays, dive back into every aspect of beads that makes me happy, particularly “sharing” them with others, in multiple ways :-), and excitedly hunting down some new beauties. It really does help. Sending hugs and love to everyone, and thank you for not only expressing your thoughts on this disaster of a past year, but also letting us express ours via your forum, very kind of you ♥♥♥♥. Stay safe.
Melissa, I’m glad you are going to dig through your bead boxes and take a look at them again. I think you are right that it will take quite some time to feel normal again. Can you picture going back to shaking hands as a way to greet a stranger? Blech!!! Thanks so much for sharing your story.
Great post, Martha! For me, I’ve probably been placing more orders for jewellery, and especially beads, than I was pre-Covid. It’s one of the only things that truly makes me happy these days! I almost always have at least one order I’m waiting on and find that it’s something to look forward to – it’s gotten me through the past year (especially the awful winter months).
Sierra, I totally understand about enjoying having things ‘on order’, as I’ve spent too much on cosmetics this past year. I adore a Californian company called ColourPop and their products are inexpensive. It’s been fun to have a ColourPop order to look forward to. I’m happy your beads have gotten you through the winter months. We should be happy we made it through the winter-that’s always an achievement and especially so this year! Let me know if you partake in the Pandora promo. 😉
The one thing I remember most about last year at this time was being intensely afraid. The supply chain disruption of everyday items was confusing. I had no idea of how the pandemic would play out and was in constant fear I would die and leave my children motherless. Guidance by health officials was confusing, contradictory, and often not present.
Despite the fact that it has been a long time of not being able to live like normal, I am happy that I no longer have that sense of intense fear. I feel happier knowing that I can leave my house if I practice proper protective measures. Being so homebound, I don’t wear jewelry anymore. So, I haven’t been buying beads. During my peak of fear, I would wear a bracelet with symbols of faith to comfort me.
My lifestyle has not been disrupted too much. I live in a northern rural area where entertainment comes in the form of outdoor pursuits. As such, nothing is really closed until better days. My heart really goes out to people in urban areas whose entertainment has been shutdown.
Oh gosh, yes, can you imagine being a large family cooped up in an apartment for all this time? One of the challenges of online learning has been for kids who live in large families in small spaces, as it’s hard to find a quiet spot for doing schoolwork. In fact, when we were online in January, sometimes I could hear the voice of another teacher from our school in the background teaching a sibling’s class.
I’m happy to hear that you are no longer frightened and that you are okay with leaving your house. Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s helpful for people to not feel that they are not the only ones going through this. 💞
I am very nostalgic this week, too. Yesterday I drove home from a visit to a furniture store. We are in the middle of moving into our new home (probably the best outcome of 2020) and it’s quite a task to get everything done during Lockdown. The furniture stores have just reopened this week and it was great being able to select furniture after seeing it live after weeks of online shopping. It hit me on the drive back home that it was that exact day one year ago that I was on a business trip to another state which was my last ‘normal’ while we already had a strange feeling of impending doom. It’s also been a year that I have left my state, in fact I am living on a 50 km radius around my home since then, have not seen my family since Christmas 2019 and while it has been an unreal and painful blurr since then, time went by rather quickly. I cannot believe it’s already one year since we live with this virus.
The first weeks have been so painful. Closed shops, empty shelves in the stores, that uncertainty, all those cancelled plans and also the stress at work. I work in the travel industry and this is a crisis no one would have ever anticipated…and it’s an industry used to crisis. I remember those first weeks when people were sent to work from home. I still had to be in the office as I could not work from home and it was so strange to see those deserted office desks, felt like a ghost town.
I still feel that strange pain during the first weeks when all I wanted was to get my old life back. Then summer came and a somewhat ‘new normal ‘, a term I still loathe. As soon as temperature dropped in autumn, all went downhill again.
Had to deal with some other challenges last year as well, unrelated to Covid, but Covid made them a bit more complicated.
Beads were some source of comfort, however, I wore less jewelry the more I started to work from home.
I hope we can go back to normal any time soon. However, vaccinations are taking so long, sometimes I wonder if we will ever get some sort of our old lives back.
I miss family and friends, miss travelling and am afraid what the next weeks bring to my industry.
Oh wow, yes, working in the travel industry must be so difficult, to say the least! No one seems to know when it will be safe to travel. Can we book a trip for this summer? Maybe not. (Our Canadian rollout of vaccines is going more slowly than the American one.) I even asked my brother tonight about whether we should book Disney for Christmas and he was really not keen, saying he might not feel comfortable travelling even then. If someone had told me that the USA/Canada border would be closed for over a year, I would have said what are you talking about? Best wishes to you for a quick recovery of the travel industry!
Hi Martha, really enjoyed this post, I usually troll and hardly comment but this post really spoke to me. I am 100% behind everything you said. I’ve lost a bit of interest in bead collecting as well, and have started to take up my knitting again as well as hitting my Nintendo Switch a lot more now 😅 I still find that retail therapy really helps but since I can’t hand pick my Trollbeads and Pandora has lost my loyalty, I’ve started to focus on pre loved Tiffany instead. It’s really fun to hunt down pieces I can semi afford LOL. I also miss seeing my friends and family of course, but I’ve discovered a whole new type of stress…that of certain family members putting pressure on us to get together because they are not taking the lockdown or quarantine mandates seriously. They are wearing masks outside in the real world but if there’s a birthday they automatically assume we are all getting together to celebrate without masks like life is back to normal.
Returning to the meat of your post, I remember very vividly how things were last year, all hell broke loose with my family, I had just sprained my ankle badly and was just getting off crutches, my grandmother had just fallen and broke her tailbone and my mother had fractured her wrist in trying to break her fall. My poor husband and mom had birthdays and because everyone was in bad shape we got together in a hurried way for our last meal together which wasn’t even pleasant because everyone knew the lockdown was coming and because of our injuries we didn’t really feel like celebrating anything. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. It feels like time is going by so fast while at the same time it’s gone by so slowly.
Thanks for posting this, it’s really cool to see your take on this craziness while reading about others experiences as well. Take care!!
Jahndra, I’ve also heard of people feeling pressured by family members to get together, so you aren’t alone. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed the ACNH game during this time. April (Charmbead) was the one who got my hooked, along with Mars (CurlingStonesForLegoPeople). I love having my little person walk along the beach picking up shells. It’s so relaxing! I shall look forward to seeing more of your Tiffany purchases. Thanks for sharing your story!
It was on March 15th I started to live as a hermit. In so many ways, nothing has changed since March 2020. It’s so frustrating to see people who put others at risk because they are bored or stubborn. As for beads, Trollbeads NYC on Columbus Ave. closed on February 8th. Being able to shop in person was a joy and it’s sad to think that won’t be an option anymore. That’s where I met you and Trisha in person. We’ll have to find somewhere else in the future to meet when the world is safer to travel and hangout.
I would love to meet up again in NYC someday. That’s too bad about the store closing. Nothing beats being able to see the beads in person. Let’s hope things improve for the spring and summer, as it would be nice to be able to get out and about. 💚
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💚 💚 💚 I would like that very much.
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It seems so unreal that it’s been a year since the world turned upside down. I took a trip to Florida the last week of February last year, so that was pretty much my last pre-pandemic memory. Glad it’s a good one! Then for the next week or two, my office was starting to make plans for setting up people to work remotely if it came to that. I remember thinking that was a big over-reaction at the time. Naive me. Then two weeks later, we were put into lockdown. My crazy trip out for groceries that first weekend is vividly on my mind – empty shelves, no toilet paper to be found for love or money. I worked from home for the next three months.
As for beads and hobbies – as well as the big hole beads, I also make jewelry. When the lockdown started, I thought I’d be able to do lots of projects, since I had several unfinished and in-the-works projects sitting around. But I’ve just not been in the mood. I think I made one necklace in the past year. I haven’t been wearing my BHBs much either, even after I started going back into the office last summer. I’m dressing a lot less formally at work now. We were always very formal before, but business casual is now the norm. Which means I did have to rework my wardrobe some. Waiting for those packages to come in from online shopping forays was often the high point of the day. Since I haven’t been wearing beads much, I cut back (though I didn’t go totally cold turkey) on my bead purchases. Though what I was buying instead was fancy lingerie. When we were in lockdown it gave me a nice pick-me-up to wear something pretty under my jeans and sweaters. I’ve really cut down on jewelry wearing, even after I started going back into the office. Though we had a few days of sunshine and unseasonably warm weather this week, and that put me in such a good mood that I did actually pick out jewelry to wear. Hopefully with the advent of spring and the vaccine, life will start to get back to normal in the not too distant future.
Kim, I am fascinated that the people in your office are dressing more casually now. I wonder if sales of high heeled shoes are down? I think I did read an article about Birkenstocks becoming more popular with so many people working from home.
You really got your Florida trip in at the last minute, I’d say! I bet you fondly think of the warmth and the palm trees! I also find it interesting that you got out of the habit of wearing jewelry. I only recently got back to wearing necklaces. In September I took to wearing hand sanitizer on a lanyard, ha ha ha!
Hope you are enjoying the warmer weather, Kim!
From my neck of the woods to yours in Canada!
Your post really got me thinking, and I can only imagine what the new “normalcy” will look like once we reach all the vaccine phases.
Rewind to January of 2020- I have to give a shout out to my elderly mother (whose super power is having a strong 6th sense about things) who started her pre-covid preparations then.
I was like ‘nah’ this can’t really get that bad. No way; and then later in February I did buy a few provisions (per my mother’s insistence,) all the while a bit embarrassed about the cart being full of germaphobic paraphernalia and uttering to the clerk how my mom thought things were going to get bad. The clerk agreed it was TOO CRAZY to really happen. And was I ever really going to need that 34 ounce jug of hand sanitizer?
Rewind again to early March of 2020 –
Drat! I should have heeded my mother’s warning. Things were flying off the shelves. I shopped very conservatively in February, and now regretted it.
So for the rest of the year I tried to be creative, making substitutions here and there. Making threats to my husband to be safe ( don’t use the chainsaw just yet). . . we did not want to have to make trips to the ER!!!!
April came and went, so did our 25th anniversary, no special trips. . . we just laughed when we asked each other “So, what do you want to do for our anniversary?”
Instead, I ordered from Trollbeads, and created a beautiful anniversary bracelet.
Awwww. . . . beads. . . . beads. . . . beads. . . I shout! I cheer! I make an effort to wear them during this crazy time. Life is too short .
As the Summer ( a blur it was) rolled into Fall my husband and I did more outdoor projects (think logging, splitting, stacking wood) – . I ended up in the place I had so warned my husband of, the dreaded ER. My left index finger was sliced like butter clean through bones and tendons by our hydraulic log splitter. Much to my relief I did not catch Covid in the ER.
And you, Martha, made my day about a month and a few weeks later when it was announced I won the 65.00 OHM contest. I could hear the trumpets in the heavens playing.
So here I am in March of 2021 no worse for wear. Finger mended. Becoming more of a ‘prepper’ each day. Missing so many aspects of a pre-covid society, but trying to find peace in the midst of chaos; enjoying your blog and the beauty of a bead !
Lisa, thanks so much for telling your story. I’m glad that your finger has healed!
I think creating an anniversary bracelet was a wonderful idea. I’m sure many people have been spending on fun things instead of on travel, I know I have. Cheers to better days ahead!
You are welcome; and cheers back to you! Clink-clink. . . . 🙂 🙂
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It’s been a year. From school closing to teaching online to quarantining to teaching I person and distance students to losing 70 pounds to having Covid to vaccinated to a heart attack… I can’t even believe how the year has developed.
The inability to travel to see family has been tough but necessary, especially with birth of Niece and heart attack.
I come out the other side thankful! I find pleasure in little things- a movie, a walk or reading.
Being an in person and distance teacher has been exhausting in planning creatively. I have become a Zoom master. Luckily, my the students are GREAT!
I wear my beads because it’s fun but I no longer care if I match. It’s about expression.
I find myself hoping things will be better for everyone.
Wow, that is really quite the year you’ve had! I agree that the distance teaching is exhausting-the amount of planning required is insane. And if you have to do it for in person at the same time, I can’t even imagine. We might be pivoting back to online in a couple of weeks, will have to see.
I’m so happy that you have survived your heart attack. What a scary time you must have had! Glad you still enjoy wearing your beads.