Are We Actually Nostalgic for 2020?

Jody Aberdeen
3 min readJan 7, 2022

There’s a peculiar thing in the air right now in my tiny corner of Ontario, Canada, just a couple of days into the new lockdown.

I’m seeing it as a peculiar nostalgia for the original lockdown, 22 months ago.

This isn’t something that’s overtly spoken on the social media posts and videos that I’ve watched that first tipped me off to this phenomenon, but it’s there, in the subtext.

(Hell, some people are even baking bread at home again).

Much as the virus permanently transforms one’s sense of taste in some of the infected, I also suspect that the virus has impacted our perceptions of time.

The cycles between experience and nostalgia run quicker now, it seems, the entire world of experience before March 2020 now seeming like something out of ancient history (I still can’t believe I got to fly to France and Colombia in 2019 without worrying about masks or vaccine passes).

The new pseudolockdown (I prefix it with “pseudo” because it’s not quite complete, but a return to Stage 2) may be causing us to feel that what happened 22 months ago was actually more like 10 years ago. It sure feels that way, and really, isn’t the passage of time experienced as a feeling?

Reading between the lines of what my contacts have been saying in their posts and videos, I have to wonder if may be one reason for that possible nostalgia is because this time around, we’re actually somewhat worse for the wear.

Back then, everything was new, scary, and somewhat of a relief. Those of us who did sequester and didn’t have to be on the front lines got generous stay at home benefits from the government with few questions asked, evictions were frozen, electricity rates were frozen on the low cost schedule, and people were generally ready to help each other out. There was no vaccine. Much was unknown about the virus itself so we had to watch everything unfold in real time. Everything was the cleanest it’s ever been.

This time around, 82% of Ontario is vaccinated, there are boosters available, we can anticipate variants as they appear, and yet somehow it feels like we’re worse off than in 2020.

I’d argue that in many ways, we are worse off this time around.

Governments, having spent a lot of money on the measures, have either halved what you can get, upped the conditions on getting them, or eliminated them…