I’d like to challenge you to sit and really think about my post today. We are ten months into a global pandemic. How has it changed your life? How has your life stayed the same? What do you miss? What do you now know you can do without? To get you started, I’ll share some observations from my own life in answer to these questions.
How has your life changed?
My life has only changed in little ways, fortunately! Since we were first advised to do so, I have socially distanced myself from others. I wear a mask when I go out. It is a mask I made. I’ve made hundreds of them – most donated, but some sold as well.
We never ate out a lot or had many take out meals. So, this has not changed either. We do order pizza and have take out on a rare occasion, but I look forward to cooking now more than before the pandemic. Maybe, it’s because we’ve taken the time to plan our meals. Meal planning became a necessity during this time for a couple of different reasons. 1) My husband and I started a Keto Diet. Were were on it for about 12 weeks and both met our goal weight. 2) We were trying to limit going to the store. So, this meant using what we had on hand to cook instead of running to pick up one little ingredient we might be missing. We’ve been eating more healthy meals and cut back on sweets, chips, cookies, and crackers. It’s been a good change.
I’ve developed a regular schedule. This is HUGE! My husband worked shifts for thirty years. I had jobs on and off, as they presented themselves either in health care, education, or the community. I was in grad school for four of the last ten years. Our kids had school obligations for the last 21 years! Their obligations, drove mine. Volunteering in classrooms, for concerts, trips, and sporting events kept me busy. I also developed and led several student groups. I served on numerous committees. I was busy – for others. Now, I am busy for myself! Again, a HUGE change. My boys are finished with their K-12 schooling. For that, I am very, very grateful.
Socially, I’m down to seeing one friend, once a week, for the most part. We walk, no matter the temperature and she’ll be here in a few minutes. At the beginning of the pandemic, I told her I wasn’t comfortable walking. She understood. She was and is still working full time and is exposed to other people. Me – not so much. I am so thankful she understood. BUT, at the same time, I realized I need this weekly walk. When the case numbers decreased in summer, we started to walk again. When the case numbers increased this fall, we continued to walk. We are outside. We do not hug (this is a difference). But, we both need to walk and talk. This is the same as before the pandemic. (And, maybe, more greatly needed.)
Before the pandemic, I saw more of my friends on a regular basis. We’d meet for a coffee clutch or share a meal, depending on who I was meeting. Now, I make my latte’s at home and drink them alone. I’ve had to learn to sit down to drink my latte and not continue the tasks of running a house. The drink gets cold because I get caught up in other things and I forget to drink it. Daily, I look forward to the thirty minutes of warm peacefulness in a cup.
How has your life stayed the same?
My life has not changed that much. I am more wary of people in public, especially if they are not following social distancing mandates. I still eat, drink, sleep, grocery shop, and do laundry.
I still have my friend, insomnia. This friend visits in cycles. My insomnia had disappeared for several months when the pandemic first started. Now, it is back for a visit. I want it to go away again. This hasn’t changed.
I still make trips to the library.
I still write my blog everyday.
I still start my day with a cup of tea.
I am still healthy, knowledgeable, curious, and multi–faceted.
I still like coats.
Our holidays were quiet. They always are; it was really not much different this year.
I still take lots of photographs.
My digital files still need cleaning.
Yup. My life hasn’t changed much. I know I’m fortunate for that.
What do I miss?
The biggest thing I miss is being able to travel. Just before the pandemic began, my husband and I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was fabulous! Our plans for more trips this year were foiled by the pandemic. I hope we can travel again in the future. I miss seeing other places and taking all those photographs!
I miss going to the theater or a concert with my oldest son. We started this tradition several years ago. I’d travel to Iowa to see him, we’d see a great show, and eat out several times. It was fun. We saw RENT, MOTOWN the Musical, BEAUTIFUL (The Carole King Musical), and others. Our last visit of that type was in the Fall of 2019, when we saw Vince Gill in concert. It was a time to catch up with my oldest son, enjoy some fun together, and decompress. I hope this is possible again.
I’d also like to start a similar tradition with my middle son who moved into his own apartment this summer, about ninety minutes away. In January of 2020, we went on a shopping trip together, stayed over night, ate out and came home. This was fun, too! I hope we can do something similar in future years.
I miss coffee clutches, dinner parties, going abroad, and even flying or long road trips. I miss being spontaneous about where or when to go somewhere.
I miss being invited to speak about monarch conservation and our environment at schools, to community groups, and garden clubs. I miss developing those lessons. I miss the spark I used to see in a child’s eyes when they were curious or inspired. Yes, there are things I miss.
But, most of all I miss the respect we used to show one another and those in community positions, such as teachers, nurses, doctors, and policemen. Those professions that are named by kindergarteners when asked what they want to be when they grow up. I miss having aspirations and inspirations from those in leadership positions. I miss having systems such as education, healthcare, and democratic processes that weren’t broken. I miss a world that isn’t polluted or over-developed, with clean water and clean air and minimal waste.
Perhaps all those things were seen through the eyes of child, or the eyes of an adult with less time to think, or through the lens of a person who was not yet a parent and didn’t worry about the world we were leaving behind for our children. Perhaps, those things never existed.
But, I do know that during the pandemic some good things have remained and others are missed. We have to hold on tightly to the good, and let the rest go. The pandemic will pass. Will we remember its lessons? Sadly, I’m not so sure.
How has your life changed during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments!