Living in a Post-COVID-19 World

Happy one-year anniversary to the start of all this chaos. A year ago, we all were leading very different lives. Last year, I was just landing back in the U.S. after a short month stint in Colombia, South America. There, COVID-19 was still a distant worry as we watched Europe and the U.S. quickly fall to the disease. No one knew what was happening, but until I stepped off the plane in Florida, it had all seemed far removed. I walked through customs with eyebrows raised as people dressed in full-blown hazmat suits waited in front of me, women pulling bandanas over their children's mouths and telling them not to touch anything. Behind me and child asked if she was going to get sick and die in a hushed voice to her mother, who reassured her they would all take long and thorough showers when they arrived home to be rid of airport germs.

A year ago, offices were still open, bars were serving us past ten p.m., concerts were happening, borders were open, a different president was in office, our faces were maskless, and our purses one-short of alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer.

Even making this small list of all the changes we've undergone since last March feels surprising. If I were to open my purse right now, four masks, a bag of tissues, and three things of hand sanitizer would fall out. Gone are the days of winging it. My purse is the most prepared it's ever been for a germ-emergency.

We've come a long way, though. It took us a year, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Which, until recently, wasn't there. So March doesn't seem so depressing when compared to January 2021. And while I'm ready for many things to go back to normal (looking at you bars, summer concerts, and easing of travel restrictions) there are a few things that I'm kind of liking as is...

  • Working remotely. I was remote before the virus hit, but these past few months have been a good reminder of why I appreciate the flexibility. The lack of a commute is gold to me. I eat healthier and save money when eating at home. I am more productive and can focus-in far more easily. I don't feel the need to spend money on new work-appropriate outfits: peace-out blouses, hello sweatshirts. I feel like I have a better work-life balance. I like being able to listen to my music and burn my candles and refresh my coffee from my personal pot. Working remotely = I'm cool with this not ending.
  • Booking travel is a breeze. I remember that time when you had 24-hours to change or cancel your flight before they charged you an arm and a leg to change it. Once a flight was booked, you were pretty much married to it. The new policies and flexibility that airlines are offering are amazing - and so very human of them. I hope that this policy remains in place because life happens, and even as we put COVID-19 behind us, life is still going to happen: emergencies, people passing unexpectedly, getting sick, plans changing... So I'm hoping airlines decide this is a change they can keep.
  • The daily clean. Perhaps we don't have to be quite as extreme in our cleaning, but I like sitting down at a restaurant or grabbing a shopping cart knowing it's been de-germed. I'm okay with people being strict about proper handwashing. I'm down for public toilets getting a clean sweep every few hours. Keep on keeping the germs away.
  • Family and friend time. I've caught up with more friends in the past year than I ever have before. Weekly Zoom calls, random phone check-ins, and the odd socially distanced hang out in a backyard have made for some really pleasant evenings. No need to rush around or spend a ton of money going out. I don't plan on leaving behind my back porch hangs with a $5 bottle of wine any time soon even if bars do open back up to full capacity.

As they say, this too shall pass, but once it does, I'm hoping we can keep the good stuff we've managed to create. How about you? Anything you're hoping to keep as we move back towards our old ways and put COVID-19 behind us?