Nobody asked. Not a single person. But here we are, headed into our second fall of the Covid-19 pandemic. Some say it’s still here, others say it’s on the way out and a select group think it was all fake and that birds aren’t real. (Google the birds aren’t real thing if you haven’t heard that one.)
No matter what you believe the reality of it is 2021 is going to feel like another blur that gets lumped into 2020. I wish I could say that after all the isolation that everyone is just trying to navigate the world with some compassion but that is not the case. Heads are hot on both ends. When two sides can’t come to an agreement the best thing to do is to take a step back.
This is me taking that step back and reviewing some key points from the last year or so.
1. How to be passable at a lot of hobbies
The infinite amounts of free time lead to my boredom which turned into shelling out money for things I’d never pursue longer than a month. Whoops. Some of the things I’ve dabbled in are: making juice, wine tasting (I still can’t taste a huge difference,) wood burning, water colors, tried inventing a couple things, some mild carpentry, yoga, barre, p90X, and I’m sure I missed some things.
I might not be great at any one thing, but I can now hold a conversation about a lot. Doing this has opened my mind up to doing more outside of my own interests so I’d say this is a positive thing to come from the lockdown.
2. Being on your phone is annoying
We already knew but it definitely became more noticeable when all you’re doing is sitting inside with the same people. You realize how often you DON’T even make eye contact with the people you live with. Eyes are glued to screens of all varieties (literally me right now typing this.)
It took the world almost ending but I’m finally not a phone person. Of course I can still get sucked in but more often I am finding myself having to look for my phone because I set it down and hours went by without me checking it. When my little wolf pack is home, I am present in the moment- or try to be! We miss a lot getting deep into a Reddit feed. You miss pieces of conversation that later turn out to be important, quick moments with your kid, and fleeting romantic moments with your spouse.
Life is short and your people will be the ones with you if the apocalypse actually happens. Spend time getting to know them instead of people you’d never hangout with in person that you followed on Twitter.
3. How to be happy without constant interaction
This one was tough for me but boy was it important! No need to call me out. I know I’m a suck. I need people to hang out with. The attention doesn’t have to be on me but I need to feeling of others being present. I still do, but now when others aren’t around I don’t feel as lonely.
So many people felt loneliness harder than ever in 2020. At first I was right there in that boat too. It took a lot of self reflection for me to figure out why that was. It really came down to me not thinking I am interesting on my own. *Cue point #1* I started trying out some new hobbies and it turns out- I’m wild. I’ll try anything. Let’s rephrase that: I’ll fail at anything!
4. Facebook has dual purposes that should be separated
Facebook. Where to begin. It’s a platform I don’t think I could ever NOT have at this point. Not only does my work heavily use it but my family members from all over the country use it, business connections I’ve met over time etc. People you’d never think to text, “hey here is this cute family photo we took when this accomplishment happened” but they like to see it. And you know what, it’s nice to see update of family vacations or see an old chum get accolades for their work without having to thinking to ask these people.
The convenience cannot be beat and neither can the connection it provides with how S P R E A D O U T our connections are in modern day. In the last 5 or 6 years it has started to shift in it’s purpose. While Facebook still exists for sharing memories with loved ones, half of the users (I think that’s undershooting it) log on to share opinions.
In a sense, that isn’t a new use for the site but shaving it off as facts is. Everyone is suddenly a researcher. Instead of commenting “miss you, friend!” someone feels the need to say a slew of curse words that are marginalizing. People think their day-to-day opinion of any given topic is WAY more important than it is. Facebook gave that power.
I think there should be two feeds you can look at, one just for social posts and one for news commentary. But I’m just a 26-year-old with ideas no one is asking for.
5. The mail might be slow but shipping services are an absolute scam
REAL TALK. Everyone was b****ing about the US Postal Service during lockdown – mean, even me- but during that time I spent SO MUCH ON SHIPPING through services like FedEx and USPS. What garbage. You’re telling me what costs $5.97 for our greedy government to send to someone is going to cost $26.99 elsewhere?
Look, even I complained. My baby shower invites showed up a couple days before the baby was born at some places. All the Christmas ornaments I made and mailed as gifts broke. THEY WERE WOOD! All of this and still, I will only go to USPS now if I can help it.
P.S. USPS has really picked it back up after the 2020 fiasco. I haven’t even had a stereotypically long post office line in what seems like forever!
6. Music is still something we can lean on
Through all of the pandemic craziness, one thing was constant and that was musicians finding ways to continue to put our their art. Even though we couldn’t go to concerts their efforts brought a level of normalcy. They did livestreams, weekly covers, bedroom recorded albums and countless videos to keep us entertained. Respect that grind.
7. To assume everyone is having a bad day
I learned to assume everyone is just having a bad day. People have had shorter fuses lately. Me included.
Last year I decided to stop taking it personally. People just have a tendency to project their anger onto what or whoever is near. Things got better for me when I just decided treat everyone like they could be having a bad day. It made ME less angry to stop thinking their attitude has to do with me.
8. Your relationships are worth putting time into
I really can’t stress this enough. Value your people. So easily we take the things that are available for granted- including people. Relationships are work. The friend you can pick up with out of nowhere and nothing change is nice, truly. But I don’t think that should be ALL your relationships. If it is, I think your head is planted up your own butt.
Pick up the phone and call someone on the ride home from work. Send a letter. Send something “just because.” Do a weekly lunch with your work friends. Check in on your friends regularly. Just because someone is posting online and you “liked” it doesn’t mean you’ve checked on them. I attribute social media to the reason people don’t check in on others habitually. You feel like you have because you saw their “story” but you lose the connection.
The best things are earned. The best relationships require a little labor of love on both ends.
9. Slowing down doesn’t mean not productive
Not everyone is as Type A as I am, but my fellow schedule makers and frequent house cleaners will understand me when I say that not doing things gives me anxiety! If I find myself with free time I think that surely I have forgotten something big and will continue to task myself. Last year there was nothing to do ever. Work was at a huge lull and social outings were cancelled. Even non-social things were cancelled like in-person meetings. I think everyone had more free time than ever.
At first it set me on edge until I realized how bad I needed that break. My body was thankful to slow down for a while. Good thing too since we were family planning and my life would become very busy! Slowing down is productive when your body needs to regroup. It can be a nice reality check.
10. Things go on…
Finally, I learned things go on. While you are held up on one thing, life is continuing to move forward around you. Forgive often, be compassionate daily. There will always be a problem around the corner if you’re looking for one.
With life rapidly moving forward again, I’m hoping to hold onto these things. A lot of us are dragging a lot of anger from last year into this one. It’s a personal accountability thing. We should all do better about checking ourselves. How is our attitude? Is there a way to make your perspective better? Take a minute and think of any lessons you learned from last year and if they have an application for you going forward. Learning from our own history is the best way to hold yourself accountable.