Society appears to return to pre-pandemic routines. Yet so much has changed. Here’s what’s changed for me:
- Home Cooking – I found a post from a couple of years ago where I complained about the time it takes to cook. Years of practice now have created efficiencies. Most of my meals are home-cooked through meal planning and using programs like EveryPlate. It’s much healthier than eating out, which I learned by reviewing restaurants’ nutritional facts menu. The sodium levels in most restaurants are through the roof.
- Online Shopping – Curbside groceries, online clothing purchases (sometimes), pet supplies. Nearly every purchase starts online and moves to in-person, only if necessary.
- Working Out – No gym membership. I used to attend Zumba classes, water aerobics, and finish either with a lovely visit to the jacuzzi. While I miss the jacuzzi, I’ve taken to long walks around the neighborhood, Dance Central on my ancient Xbox 360 (yes, mine still works over a decade later), and home workout routines provided by Dell’s fitness program. I don’t know that I can justify spending $24.99+/mo for a jacuzzi alone. I don’t see a return to the gym happening anytime soon.
- Online Learning – I used to select in-person classes whenever I could. Now I default to online (but follow along with the instructor by doing) and only attend in person if it makes sense.
- More Cyber Connections, Less Human Connection – I interact nearly daily with people I’ve never met in real life. This has broadened my worldview, and for that, I’m grateful. As someone who lives by myself with my dogs, I miss people. Online networking is okay, but there’s nothing like being in someone’s physical presence. I both look forward to and will need to make a concerted effort to initiate in-person meetings.
- New Levels of Gratitude – The last few years have taught me, it could be much worse. We have had disaster after disaster hit, making the previous few decades look like a cakewalk. Oh, the wonders of peace and security. Today, I’m grateful to wake up unafraid to check social media and news outlets. I’m thankful I woke up and have the internet (because I rely so much more on it now).
- Sense of Urgency – Some people I know passed suddenly at a relatively young age, in their 40s and 50s. I found myself questioning my life priorities so far, particularly those that haven’t panned out. My life philosophy has changed as I no longer want to provide time, or effort on things, people, or places that drain me. I spent many years letting events beyond my control ravage my energy—too many. Sometimes I still get angry. I’m disappointed in my expectation of people because I like to believe that everyone is noble until proven otherwise. That’s mine to own because some people have and will prove otherwise.
- Sense of Caution / Discernment – Some acquaintances I once considered friends supported discriminatory practices against my race and others. I didn’t know they secretly felt this way, so when it came out. Et Tu, Brute? Before that, I was naive enough to think that if we worked together on a project or saved animals’ lives, they inherently liked and/or supported my plight. After all, we were teammates, cohorts, partners in shine. Then they felt psychological safety in numbers and shared their true thoughts. It was a devastating wake-up call because I’m naive and want to believe in people. I understand that it may not be about holding me back but about doing what is best for them. I can’t unsee it once I see it. Given what I know about history, I found it concerning. Still do, frankly.
What I’m acutely aware of now is action. Regardless of what someone says, what do their actions say?
- Movements – What has excited me the most in these last few years is how many others have experienced the aforementioned sense of caution and the ride-or-die supporters that have come out of the woodwork. Many joined protests for a fight that wasn’t theirs, risking their physical safety (pandemic, physical injury, possible arrest). It sparked a wave of companies ready to take action to attempt to dismantle the systemic inequities and sparking many more conversations as we all navigate what this new world will look like.
It reinforces that many people are noble, and I like to look for times I’m right, even if I get it wrong on occasion. I also understand those doing best for themselves, whether choosing neutrality or fighting to maintain the status quo. While I may disagree, I understand.
We’re a society of closeted everyday heroes. We just needed something to offend our sense of justice enough to take action.
I hope that the trouble of the few years creates a well-spring of heroes who know they can change society, even if it seems nearly impossible. After all,
Everything is impossible until someone does it.
To sum it up:
I’ve found a new efficiency level, saving both time and money.
I lost a sense of innocence and learned some hard lessons.
I’ve felt disappointment and hopelessness, a sense of betrayal.
That hurt. It hurt bad.
I’ve found gratitude in simple things and,
A new approach of caution and discernment towards people.
A sense of how delicate life is and the corresponding urgency because
Life is precious and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for any of us.
I also found a renewed sense of hope in humanity because…
Many of people have proven themselves to be every day superheroes. They just didn’t know it.
I bet I’m not the only one who’s been changed by the pandemic. What changed for you? What lessons have you learned and what changes have you made?