Close Encounters of the Learned Kind: What I Discovered About Myself Living Through COVID-19

As the pandemic has been a shared experience, we thought we’d ask our friends and family to share theirs, reflecting on (for better or worse) what they discovered about themselves and others during these tumultuous times.

  • My Apple Watch has become very judgmental about how much I move around.
  • My dog requires more attention than any of my three kids.
  • Walking around the block takes exactly eleven minutes. Running takes four (I assume).
  • Someone painting their shutters has suddenly become a neighborhood attraction.
  • A neighbor's lawnmower (or leaf blower or dog) will start exactly two minutes before a scheduled conference call.

  • Who gets the right of way on the sidewalk when walking around the block has yet to have been decided.
  • Crossing the street to avoid someone is now considered a benevolent gesture.
  • Pajamas have become acceptable workout attire in my neighborhood.
  • Air Pods use their batteries when they’re in your ears even if they’re not being used.
  • I am more productive on days I wear shoes.
  • My online shopping has increased to the point where I know the ages of my UPS delivery guy’s children.
  • I have no idea what to say to a fellow walker when I pass them a second time. Hello again? Are you lost? I’m open to suggestions.
  • With two small children, the $25 inflatable pool from Walmart is the greatest investment I’ve ever made.
  • I know more about my neighbors than I ever wanted to.
  • The arrival of mail makes me smile. And makes me want to put on pants.
  • After a bottle of wine (for me) and Rice Krispy Treats (for them), I found more common ground playing games with a teenager and a four-year-old.

  • Building a fort is easier than decorating a castle.
  • Just for a moment, I forgot how to use cruise control.
  • Disney+ rocks for the young and young at heart.
  • I have access to every streaming service there is, yet the only thing watched in our house is Friends, Golden Girls and Love Island.
  • Living in pajamas and yoga pants makes me question why my closet has so many clothes.
  • Cooking three meals a day for my family makes me miss eating out and makes me wonder why we eat so damn much.
  • Few things in life are better than homemade, fresh-baked bread right out of the oven with butter. I have consumed more flour in the past seven weeks than in the last seven months.
  • Legos can keep my kids occupied longer than I thought. And finding pre-owned Legos online at a decent price is hard.
  • Getting my garden up to speed used to be a chore. Now, it’s a joy.
  • While my children can ask the same question 1,000 times a day, they can still make me laugh.
  • Having complete autonomy over the thermostat is the ultimate turn-on.
  • If your workspace is in your bedroom, it’s important to make your bed before video conferencing.
  • Kids love Step 2 toys. Dogs love to chew Step 2 toys.
  • Our front yard Adirondack chairs have become our most important furniture.
  • First order of business when this is over is get my nails done, and my grey out.
  • Between walking and running and biking and a million online exercise programs, I wonder why I ever got sucked into joining a gym.
  • Radishes grow incredibly fast from seeds. Toddlers don’t like to eat them, but they do love pulling them out of the ground.
  • When others offer to help me, I’ve learned to let them even if I don’t need any help. Looking at people who have sacrificed and put their life on the line for others, I have a renewed sense of giving and humanity. Now when a friend asks if I need anything at the grocery, I give them a few items. It’s a feel-good gesture all around.
  • Days of the week no longer have a “feel” to them. Mondays and Fridays especially used to have a certain feel. Now? Meh. It made me realize that unless there’s something due on a specific day, knowing what day of the week it is is overrated.
  • I have become boring to my pets. Thanks to my dogs’ short-term memory, the excitement of seeing me at the end of the day was a highlight of their day. Now they just look at me as if to say, “Don’t you have to be somewhere?”
  • Day drinking is more fun when you’re somewhere else. Day drinking at the beach, I’m living large. Day drinking at home, I’m my Uncle Todd.
  • I missed getting a mani and pedi way more than I thought I would.
  • I realized my complicated life was of my own doing. And discovered I can accomplish pretty much the same amount of work without feeling stressed.
  • Freedom of choice is a precious commodity and not to be taken for granted.
  • I was never a “huggy” person, but I miss it. And plan on hugging everyone I see when this is over.

Bing Crosby once crooned:
When I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep.
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.
When my bankroll is getting small, I think of when I had none at all.
And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

Well said, Bing.

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