Now that we’ve pretty much fully eased back into our pre-Covid lifestyles, I have a confession to make. I am still practising COVID behaviours about 95 % of the time. The reason is simple; it agrees with me and I rather like the slower pace and other lifestyle changes.
Most people are thrilled to be back on the golf course, the tennis and pickleball courts, and attending yoga classes. Who doesn’t celebrate being able to finally eat indoors at a restaurant not under a plastic tent in the parking lot?
Now that such everyday activities as family or neighbourhood barbecues and vacations are back, everyone is stampeding airports, movie theatres, and concerts to participate in normal life after more than two years of isolation. Some of us even suffered an episode of the virus but were adequately vaccinated and lived to tell the tale.
I concede that freedom is once again a wonderful thing, but I am not completely reverting to my old pre-pandemic ways. My favourite past-times are reading and writing which are both rather solitary activities that I thoroughly enjoy. During more than two years of isolation, I no longer felt obliged to explain why I went nowhere and did nothing. It was expected that I would lie low and cocoon. I’ve grown to become rather protective of that lifestyle and actually cherish my time alone.
That’s not to say I’m anti-social and avoid getting together with friends. Au contraire. I love lunches and visits with my girlfriends, backyard cocktails with the neighbours, and dinners out. I have, however, made some changes to my daily routines during lockdown that I prefer to continue.
Living my new and improved life
One of the biggest changes is restricting my shopping expeditions. Weekly aimless trips to the mall were lovely for the opportunity to enjoy sushi in the food court or meet a friend for lunch, but there are so many benefits to not indulging in these excursions that I’ve decided to curtail them indefinitely. This has been exacerbated by the fact that there are so many shortages in most stores and it’s become easier to order on Amazon Prime.
First on the list of benefits is the money I’ve saved by not going to the mall. I’m no longer tempted by the latest shiny new shoes or the seasonal fashion offerings on display. Remove the temptation; remove the unnecessary and unneeded purchases and watch your Visa bill decline significantly. How many white blouses and black pants does one person really need?
Another spinoff from COVID that I absolutely love is online grocery shopping. I never used this service prior to the pandemic and now that I do, I absolutely love it. What’s easier than tapping in my grocery order while I watch my PVR’d British mystery programs in the evening and hubby picks up the groceries on his way home from golf? Again, by not shopping in person, I’m not subject to impulse purchases. I don’t have to manoeuvre my cart through a busy supermarket, stack my purchases on the conveyor belt, remove them and bag them myself, then unload them again into the car. Major labour-saving convenience and Maria (or whoever does my shopping at SuperStore) picks my grocery items as carefully as I’d pick them myself.
Gas prices are not a major concern now that I’m not commuting to work every day, but I’m beginning to see the possibility of my husband and me functioning with only one vehicle. That would save at least $1,000.00 a month in depreciation, gas, insurance, and maintenance costs, but since we already own two vehicles, we’ll keep with the status quo until one of our vehicles dies.
Manicures have taken a back seat over the past couple of years although I’m happy to go once again for monthly pedicures. It’s getting harder to get down there to do all the maintenance required to keep my feet in top shape. I’ll allow myself that little luxury. More savings in time and money.
I do miss the opportunities to get dressed up and go out just for the sake of getting dressed up and going out though. It’s good for morale and puts some of the clothes I have back into circulation before they go out of style. But, there is comfort in knowing every woman in the world is struggling with same issue. We do miss the thrill of buying new shoes but find justification in the fact we’ll probably never get to wear them and we have too many already.
Taking advantage of all the easy online activities comes with the risk of turning me into a recluse but I am aware of that possibility so I make sure I do get out on a regular basis to commune with my fellow human beings. Hugs, in-person conversations, and social interactions are essential to human survival and I do enjoy all those activities.
Slowing down and cocooning more have allowed me to totally indulge my natural aptitudes for laziness and procrastination. I’ve always been good at putting things off but now I’m absolutely brilliant at avoiding household chores or other things I really do not want to do. I’ve raised that bar to unheard of levels. There’s not much that can’t wait until tomorrow, or next week, if it really needs to be done at all. We’re suddenly discovering we have developed razor-sharp skills in prioritizing chores, which is actually a commendable form of skilled time management.
Now, I realize this new, slower COVID lifestyle is not for everyone, especially those virtuous Type A individuals who take pride in being crazy busy and squeezing as many activities into a day as they can. I am not one of them, so if you want to book time with me, I’m probably available. Unless I’m napping (I’m an Olympic-level napper) or reading my book, we can always put off getting together until next week. Just call me on my landline because I’m not entirely sure how to use my cell phone. That’s a project for another day too.
Have you made any permanent changes to your lifestyle post-COVID? Are you living a new and improved life too?
I must say it has taken me some time to feel comfortable getting back out there. I still have my times in crowds where I move to a less congested area or just leave the area totally. Definitely enjoyed learning to shop more on line; find myself washing my hands more frequently and eating out just doesnt have the appeal it used to have. I’m glad to be retired where the impact wasn’t as great as trying to work or attend school.
Home sweet home is indeed sweet. Thanks, Gail.