Everyone in the world has individually lost something over the past year of the pandemic, and I don’t think there has to be an Olympics of suffering to determine who’s had the hardest 12 months and counting. Of course the American government’s absolute failure to contain COVID without paying people to stay and work at home so as not to spread the virus, not giving everyone free healthcare, and ignoring the societal inequities and injustices that separate races and classes has made the pandemic even worse with no signs of disappearing. Those of us who have been privileged enough to get vaccinated (I got the Moderna one at the end of last month) are at least a little safer to go outside and take care of our needs, but we’re still going to be in this predicament for who knows how long. I’m extremely lucky that all of my loved ones in Hawaiʻi and Texas have stayed healthy and safe over the past year, but I still mourn the small things I could do with the people I love before the pandemic. Over one year ago I had my last time out with Conor and Parker for what could be years. I wasn’t the happiest person ever during that period of time (I’m in a far better place now), but those weekend nights we’d spend together greatly helped my mental health! We’d almost always eat dinner, have several drinks at our favorite bar, Tchin Tchin, and go to another bar with other friends before finishing up at a karaoke bar at 4 a.m. I spent way too much money every weekend and in one night drank the same amount of sugar I’d consume in 2 weeks, but I truly miss the times of friendship I had with these two pals at the end of the week. We didn’t know when we took this picture that it’d be the last time we’d go out together and I’m sure eventually (maybe a year or two from now?) we’ll go all out, but the worst part of this purgatory time for me is not knowing what our lives will look like when it’s “safe” again. I miss going out till the next morning with my friends like a normal young person, visiting Texas to see my best friends, and eating in a restaurant without worrying about getting sick or dying. I think it’s more than okay to be enormously grateful for survival, but also missing the lives we used to live before we were stuck in time.