March 28, 2021

Contemplating the return to "normal"

This past year has slowed down our lives quite a bit, hasn't it?

Yesterday, I went to the empty office, as I usually do every Saturday since this whole pandemic began to change our way of life, to handle those pesky tasks that can't be handled from home.

As I walked through the empty halls, I reflected.  I remembered the recent tweets about missing the children who where back in school, the same people who complained while they where stuck at home with entire families for a year.  I get it.  Having the people under your feet while you try to work and having to home school at the same time; must be extraordinarily difficult; luckily this has not been a problem for me.  But that time spent together was also a boon, as parents don't usually get this intimate look into their children's lives spent at school - and I think some people are realizing that as we edge ever closer to returning to "normal."

Yes, there was a whole year lost.  BUT what did we gain/learn?

We leaned in hard to our immediate family.  We remembered how precious our little families are.  And, how VERY precious those who weren't in our immediate households know, those that aren't exactly family...but yet, they are.

I also learned that the "go, go!" pace of life is stifling; much more stifling than living a more quiet, slow life.  I learned that slowing down to watch the peony bloom and then die back in our backyard is pretty amazing.

I learned that life doesn't necessarily need to be lived primarily in an office.  In fact, when I went into the empty office yesterday, I was only there for forty minutes.  Yep, less than an hour.  Which tells me, but most likely NOT HR, that I can do the majority of my job with minimal time in the office.

I understand that I am not the majority of most of the people I know.  Many of my co-workers are very social and are pining to go back to the office.  But, I imagine, that most of them are also dreading having to wake up at 4:45 am (that's what time I used to get up in order to read the paper, have my coffee and get dressed) and head into the office at the crack of dawn.

I DO miss being able to go out to eat with my friends and colleagues.  I DO miss browsing in a store for no good reason.  Shockingly enough, I don't miss it nearly as much as I thought I would though.  I DO miss going to the movies, plays, concerts, etc. I miss hugging my friends, I miss visiting with them minus the masks.  I miss seeing Man-Child more often...but to be honest, now that he has a new girlfriend, even if everything went back to normal tomorrow, I probably still won't see him as much as I would like.  I would dearly love to have someone cut my hair.  My last cut was in December 2019 where I, famous last words?, said, "Oh the length is fine, I just need a few layers up top." I miss my shoes and some of my clothes - even though we went business casual a couple of years ago and business wear was frowned upon (you weren't embracing the new company "culture" if you insisted on wearing business wear) but I'd sneak in a few of my favorites now and then.  I miss all of those things.

But, when things do go back to normal - I believe our office is hoping to open up at the end of April - I will miss going out to check on the peony's progress as it begins to bud during the day.  I will miss witnessing it open up in an explosion of blooms and going out every other day or so to snip one or two to keep me company as I work.

I will miss being so very productive, work-wise.  When I'm in the office, there are SO many interruptions...phones ringing that need to be answered, random people stopping by to chat or, perhaps, they have something they need to have handled interrupting whatever I am currently working on, pointless (mostly) meetings, dealing with the very few people who made my work life a living hell on a day to day basis (this may have been the best part of the last year; next to zero contact with those people) etc.

I cannot lie, I will also miss having the ability to get a few things done around the house without having to cram it all into the weekend.  Have a minute?  Throw in a load of laundry.  Have another minute or three?  Dust or vacuum the living room.

As crazy as he sometimes makes me, I will miss having lunch with The Husband just about every day (we work too far apart for this happen during a "normal" work week).

Both The Husband and I received our first round of vaccination last week - so when things DO open up completely, we should be safe.  But, as we have both discussed, after all this time neither of us is in a rush to do everything all at once - our routine has been altered and we are seeing some benefit in this un-asked for altering.

As a matter of fact, I have tickets for a concert that was re-scheduled from last year to next month (honestly, I think it will either be re-scheduled or cancelled soon) and even with being vaccinated, if it's not cancelled/re-scheduled, I do not think I will feel comfortable attending...despite the fact that I absolutely love this artist.  If I have to kiss that money spent good-bye, so be it.

So yes, I am looking forward to life returning to "normal" (will it though?  Or have we been changed forever?  These are questions that have not yet been answered.) and will also mourn some of the blessings we had during this past, very trying, year.


  1. I agree, there have been a lot of benefits to slowing down. I don't feel ready for life to go back to "normal," although with the super slow pace of vaccine rollout up here, it will be a long while before that happens.

  2. I understand this COMPLETELY. It is so interesting to me how we all felt so differently a year ago, isn't it? Afraid of what a lockdown would feel like. And now, we are slower to return to normal. It wasn't all bad. I am glad you got your first vaccinations! :)

  3. Having the kids home while I was babysitting was nuts at times, but now that they are going back to in-person I do miss the little interactions they had with me, or with the tots/babies. They are a goofy, entertaining bunch - so I miss their presence. Of course I also miss being able to run to the grocery store, or better yet - sending one of them for a few things when they were done with school on their half day school schedule. I have really embraced the slower pace of things, but I will be the first to admit that I didn't use that time to dust more. ;)

  4. I enjoyed the slower pace but am very ready for things to be more normal for my kid's sake. They have missed so much and I am hoping that things are more like normal in September.

  5. I will enjoy going out to eat with friends again, and I am now fully vaccinated and just need to wait until April 9th, two weeks after the last one. I am still not willing to rejoin the gym crowd. I tried it but it didn't feel safe. Maybe now I'll go back in a week or two. I'm in no hurry. Enjoy those peonies!

  6. I enjoyed reading this quite a bit. I've always worked from home so this was no problem for me (us). But I do miss hugging. A lot. Didn't do much of it when I could, but now it seems like something major I lost out on with people I saw often.

  7. I do believe the 'slow down' has been a blessing for all of us. Nope, we will never be 'normal' again, but hopefully we will be close to it. I know we'll ALL appreciate everything a bit more at least.
    Also, I LOVE PEONIES. :)

  8. this was a lovely composition capturing the bittersweet issues.
    good for you!

  9. You're so right about the strange prospect of returning to normalcy -- the things we miss and things we don't. I am surprised that I continue to feel like I need never set foot in a restaurant again. Congrats on being half vaccinated!