When the lockdown began, I was unfazed by the isolation unlike most people. That’s because I’ve been freelancing for almost a decade, and so I’m used to spending most of my time at home. I found myself dispensing tips about how best to stay motivated when working in close proximity to a comfortable bed, and how to create a workspace in order to delineate work and home life. Cabin fever set in for me about six months in, and I started to yearn for happy hours with friends and trips to the cinema to see the latest blockbuster.
The pandemic has undoubtedly changed our lives irrevocably, in some cases for the better and others not. As more and more members of the general population get vaccinated and the looming danger of the coronavirus seems to abate, it’s time to start thinking about the many ways that our lives have changed since March 2020, and what new lessons we want to carry with us beyond the pandemic. After some reflection, here are some ways that my life has changed as well as lessons I learned from our collective experience.
The pandemic has changed our lives irrevocably, in some cases for the better and others not. It’s time to start thinking about what new lessons we want to carry with us.
1. Don’t Postpone—Live Today
Life can be hectic and complicated. Subsequently, we may not get to accomplish all the things that our hearts desire. We put off travel, postpone dinners with friends, and leave items on our bucket lists unchecked because we believe that there’ll be time to do them later. During the months we spent indoors, I thought about how many opportunities to make new memories that I had missed, and wished I had lived a little differently. The pandemic has served as a harsh reminder of how ephemeral life can be, and I have chosen to put a positive spin on that lesson. I’m making a commitment to doing more, rather than wasting time lamenting moments that have already passed me by.
2. Always Keep Extra Essentials on Hand
Remember how it was impossible to get essentials like toilet paper and soap for a while? I never want to experience that again. It fueled the panic, making an already-terrifying situation seem a lot more scary. I won’t ever feel truly secure unless I always have a small supply of certain items like toilet paper and soap. It’s also advisable to keep a small store of canned and dry goods, and keep a few servings of whichever animal/plant products you consume in the freezer. Having foods that you don’t need to cook will serve you well in situations when there’s a power outage or no access to a kitchen. They also keep extremely well if zombie apocalypse movies are to be believed.
3. Plan Ahead
I think that survival kits/go bags should become a staple in every household going forward. They would contain first aid supplies, water and food rations, medicines for common ailments, a torchlight, disinfectant, etc. The coronavirus outbreak is not the first far-reaching health crisis we’ve encountered, and logic dictates that it probably won’t be the last. It might not be as bad when it happens, but it doesn’t hurt to be protected against whatever might come. Protection from infectious diseases always requires better sanitary practices, so keep that bottle of hand sanitizer in your kit.
For the items in your survival kit and supply cache that have expiration dates, remember to switch them out for fresher items from time to time.
4. Reduced Consumerism
Boy oh boy, did most of us spend recklessly before the summer of 2019. The realization that we had been indulging in so many frivolities and distractions for so long hit hard, and many of us were forced to examine our relationships with retail therapy and financial responsibility. For those who lost jobs, the importance of rainy day funds became a reality instead of a suggestion to be waved away. I realized how many unnecessary things I had spent money on, like purchasing whole new outfits for certain occasions instead of wearing what I already had. I think all that time spent sitting amongst my earthly possessions really opened my eyes to how much more I could be saving, and how secure that nest egg would make me feel.
5. Connecting Intentionally
This might sound harsh, but I think that most people took some of our relationships for granted, believing that we’d always have time to link up. Not being able to make it home for holidays or have simple group dinners emphasized how much we need to connect with others as the social animals we are. And for me, whenever I grab lunch with friends or sit around a fire with family, I’ll always make an effort to be present and engaged, and remember to treasure those small moments that can make up a rich tapestry of memory.
6. A New Attitude
Only in recent years has the fitness industry started to lean a little more towards a wholesome idea of health. Most of it still preys on consumers’ insecurities, with one hand creating body standards, and with the other offering a range of products that claim to give you said body. Pre-pandemic I was results-obsessed, challenging myself to eat well and work out in order to look a certain way. Now, I’m grateful to my body for bearing me safely through a year and a half. I work out because I love watching myself get stronger, and it feels a lot more fulfilling.
What are some of the things that the pandemic has changed for you?