We’ve been living history in real-time since the start of the COVID pandemic in March 2020. From the beginning, we kept thinking the inconveniences we were experiencing and lifestyle changes imposed on us would soon come to an end and we could return to normal life. Obviously, we were wrong. Wave after wave has washed over us and although we’re doing better since the release of vaccines, we’re still enduring prolonged adjustments we hoped would have been behind us by now.
So many days slide by without having anything productive to show for our time. As I lay on my couch reading the latest in a series of endless books, I suddenly find myself feeling bereft of life. For baby boomers, our remaining years are precious. Once we hit that magic number of seventy, we realize our days are numbered. As we slow down and savour each day, we realize time is now finite and I wonder if I’m squandering it. On the other hand, our To-Do lists have become manageable.
Our recent enforced incarceration has resulted in changes to our daily lifestyle—some good; some bad. While some people have used the opportunity of downtime to get a facelift, write a book, indulge in hobbies, or binge-watch favourite TV shows, there have been many minor modifications that may become permanent. There are several new options that I’m loving and will continue to carry on with even when we return to ‘normal’.
- Express grocery pickup: This is perhaps my favourite. No more dodging other shoppers pushing awkward carts in the grocery store. No more off-loading my purchases onto the conveyor belt to be tallied up by an anonymous cashier who is so isolated behind plexiglass barriers and triple-layered masks so I cannot hear a word she might say (which she usually doesn’t). Then, repack my purchases into reusable grocery bags, haul them out to the parking lot and hoist them into the back of my vehicle. Now, I simply sit in my La-Z-girl while I’m watching Netflix, punch up my order on my handy-dandy iPad, and click “Place Order”. The next morning hubby drives to the pickup spot in front of the store on his way home from golf, pops the back hatch, yells Thank you to the polite young person who loads the groceries into the vehicle before he heads home. Damn! I love this system. It’s going to be a permanent part of my life going forward.
- Guilt-free alone time: No guilt and no apologies for being idle at home by myself. Sometimes I get bored, but as a huge fan of my own company, most of the time I’m content reading, writing, and puttering. No explanations are required.
- Mall avoidance: This one has saved me a ton of money and I plan to keep avoiding malls. As my friend Margaret wisely says, “I have enough!”. Staying away from the mall has been a game-changer. Other than enjoying lunch out, going to the mall is just not as much fun as it used to be. Masks are uncomfortable, store inventories are lacking, and I avoid being tempted by yet another white blouse I absolutely do not need. Remove temptation and save money.
- Bra-free zone: Women around the world are celebrating our recent and prolonged bra-free existence. Long live stretch tank tops under tee shirts and tops. While bras are probably recommended when going out in public for obvious reasons, the rest of the time, we’re totally free and lovin’ it.
- Personal grooming lapses: Lipstick has taken a vacation as long as we’re masked. My supply has been drying up from lack of use. And, if I don’t get a manicure, that’s OK. No one sees my nails these days anyway although I am happy to be able to get a pedicure again. Don’t feel like going to the salon for a new paint job? No sweat. Who cares?
- Increasing reliance on Amazon: I recently tried two drug stores and one grocery store in search of a shower cap. No luck. Solution: Amazon Prime. A pack of three arrived two days later and I didn’t even have to start the car. Similarly, I fancied some sandals I saw on Hudson’s Bay’s website. When I went to two Hudson’s Bay stores to try them on neither store even carried the brand much less the style. Why bother going to the store at all? Sadly for bricks and mortar stores, I will continue to order online.
While I’m loving being able to once again make the odd foray out to a restaurant, for the most part, I’m thoroughly enjoying this slower lifestyle. “Busy-ness” had become the bane of our existence and we now realize that being in a relaxed state of whatever has improved our quality of life. I’m putting fewer miles on my vehicle and I can easily see eventually reducing our fleet to one vehicle without a serious impact on our daily activities. That would save money on gas and insurance, not to mention the capital cost of replacing said vehicle every three or four years.
Overall, the last year and a half has left me more relaxed, better off financially, and more aware of the truly important things in life. Even as we are easing back into somewhat normal lifestyle patterns, I expect many of us will be making some permanent changes. What are you going to do differently going forward?