What will you keep from a year in Shelter-in-Place?
May 8, 2021 5:34 PM   Subscribe

The area I am living in is starting to reopen after more than a year of Sheltering-in-place and I'm realizing that there are many things that I thought I would not have liked about the year that I'd like to hold onto. I wanted to hear what others thought they might keep doing even after things have completely reopened.

I post this with respect and understanding to the hard one year+ many people have had, and also with respect and understanding that not everyone is living in an area that has reopened or is reopening in a manner in which everyone feels safe. I hope that no one is offended by this question.

As things start to reopen in my area and I am able to do many of the things I used to in a manner that feels safe to me, I'm realizing that I just don't want to. I'm not in a rush to restart many social obligations, I don't plan to return to the grocery store again, and I'm enjoying some of the inexpensive family rituals we have started.

I'm curious to hear what others have decided they will keep from their experience Sheltering-in-place and how they plan to do it, as there may be social pressures to immediately return to some of ways things used to be - whether they were healthy physically/mentally or not.
posted by Toddles to Human Relations (83 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
I'll likely never see the inside of a barbershop again, having learned how to cut my own hair "good enough."

Probably will continue to hit the grocery store at sunrise, when the fewest people are present. I've gotten used to easy parking and short lines.

I will continue with my newest hobby, composting.
posted by SPrintF at 5:43 PM on May 8, 2021 [7 favorites]

My grocery store had curbside pickup before the pandemic. I never used it then, but I'll keep on using it in the future. It's a big time saver.
posted by synecdoche at 5:45 PM on May 8, 2021 [16 favorites]

I don't really feel like I added much different. I'll keep the nice work from home set up with monitor and desk and comfortable chair. I'm hoping to keep our family zoom calls but every week is a bit much tbh. I'm pleased with the non-work clothes I added to my wardrobe.

We already had weekly grocery delivery which has been just fantastic almost the whole way through. I also had a flexible workplace, please to just keep that.
posted by plonkee at 5:48 PM on May 8, 2021

honestly fuck bras
posted by phunniemee at 5:48 PM on May 8, 2021 [133 favorites]

Definitely I’m going to continue wearing a mask during cold and flu season. And maybe allergy season.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:02 PM on May 8, 2021 [84 favorites]

As someone who has moved around a lot, I liked that the pandemic normalized reaching out to friends elsewhere, and while Zoom fatigue is real I plan on continuing to Zoom with a few long-distance friends.

And yeah, I'll start taking flu season more seriously.

Now, I wish faculty meetings could all be on Zoom, but that's not in my control.
posted by coffeecat at 6:08 PM on May 8, 2021 [14 favorites]

I will probably keep working from home. I'm immunocompromised, and it's such a relief not to have to deal with colleagues coming to work sick. Two months before this started, I was hospitalized for five days with the flu, which really made me see how quickly a minor illness could become serious for me. I miss seeing some of the people in my office, but having to be around people who are coughing or sneezing or even throwing up in the bathroom is a stress I don't want to have to deal with anymore. (I am very, very lucky that this will probably be a choice for me.)

I also love that I can cook or do laundry in the middle of the day, but it's the concern about illness that I really don't want to have to put up with now.

I have also taken a few online writing courses, and I will probably keep that up as well if they continue to exist. It's great not to have to rely on whoever happens to live near me for that.
posted by FencingGal at 6:17 PM on May 8, 2021 [11 favorites]

I used to make a vague meal plan each week, grocery shop every 2 or 3 weeks, and walk to a local market on weekends to get specialty items. This last year we have been making a meal plan about a month in advance, and shopping online to get all the ingredients. I definitely want to keep the monthly meal plans and online shopping, it's been great for learning to make new things, having lots of healthy variety in our meals, and better usage of food. I look forward to going back to the market for specialty stuff and fresh veg/fruits though.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:22 PM on May 8, 2021 [6 favorites]

Curbside grocery pickup. Huge timesaver, and money saver as well as I no longer impulse buy, and no longer buy something “just in case I’m out of it”. As long as my grocery keeps offering it, I’ll use it.
posted by bookmammal at 6:39 PM on May 8, 2021 [7 favorites]

From here on out I will probably want to continue to have a bigger on-hand stock of nonperishable or slow-perishable supplies (shelf-stable food, vitamins, and various other stuff) than I did before the pandemic. I don't know how, yet .... sometime soon I'd like to take a household inventory of what we have, and then maybe check in quarterly to rotate stuff, make sure to eat things that are soon to expire, and stock up on things.

(Relatedly, there's a general chore of preparedness that I think I got a bit better at and would like to keep on top of. One organizing principle I heard of recently is that you need to prepare for 2 basic scenarios: "you can't stay where you are" and "you can't leave".)

A few months ago I started setting up some recurring video exercise appointments with friends, where once a week we get on a videocall and simultaneously watch a YouTube exercise video and follow along. This has been convenient and a nice low-key way to keep caught up with a few distant friends, and has helped me work out consistently, so even though we may reduce the weekly frequency as we get more opportunities to exercise outside of the home, I think it's unlikely we'll go down to zero.
posted by brainwane at 6:43 PM on May 8, 2021 [13 favorites]

I bought a little sanitizer bottle holder that hangs off the strap of my purse, where I don't have to fumble around for it, and it's visually in my face so I never forget. I refill it regularly and I use it all the time - after every errand, and often during. Not gonna lie, this was no fun during dry-hand season, but still: I love it and I'm going to keep doing it.

I will keep a mask on during all public transportation, especially flying, and encourage my family to do the same. Getting sick on trips has been a big problem for us over the years and has ruined several trips in the past. I'm sure keeping a mask on will help.

Long evening walks around the neighborhood... I honestly am not sure if this started as a pandemic habit because it is so pleasant and so obvious, I feel like "of course we always did that", but actually I think we did start doing it regularly because it was an antidote to being cooped up in the house, and we couldn't go anywhere else. Definitely a habit we will maintain.

ETA: oh you best believe there is going to always be a stockpile of canned goods, bleach, menstrual supplies and toilet paper in the house, boy howdy.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:44 PM on May 8, 2021 [16 favorites]

I am all about keeping on with my kn95 whenever I need to be on a plane or similar.

And leggings are the new jeans for me...

Annnnnd I grew my hair out and discovered how much time I’ve been wasting styling it every day. Messy bun seems to be just fine as a hairstyle for most days and washed, slightly less messy bun is going to be fine for fancy occasions.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 6:44 PM on May 8, 2021 [10 favorites]

Daily - snow rain sleet hail etc - walks at the lake in the early morning.

Also, I grew my hair out - I’ve had it pretty short, which involved taking some of the thickness out, and coloured for years. Right now it’s long and a lot of it is mostly grey and I kind of like it.

I join the hoarder/stockpile crew too.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:47 PM on May 8, 2021 [6 favorites]

I would like to keep the lack of pressure to socialize in big groups/with people I don't like that much. I miss my close friends dearly and the pandemic has helped me define who my close friends really are, vs the people who I don't even miss not seeing.

I'd also like to keep the slower pace of life to some extent, with fewer kid activities and rushing around to things. We'll start activities back up when it's safe, but hopefully find a better balance than we had before.

We made more of an effort this year to spend a lot of time outside and going for walks even when the weather wasn't so great, and I would like to keep that up also (normally I am fickle and only spend lots of time outside when it's warm/ish).

Also nthing grocery shopping at odd/slow hours, and more flexible work!
posted by DTMFA at 6:48 PM on May 8, 2021 [10 favorites]

I've missed eating in restaurants very little, and I strongly suspect we'll be doing less of it just for an evening out after that can be done easily again.

It's looking increasingly like my office will be moving to full time or nearly full time telework - with a little luck, no more commuting and no ironing or otherwise dealing w/a business wardrobe, or at least much less of it. Less shaving or general grooming too, probably. I"ll gain at least an hour of sleep every day.

I started biking almost daily, have finally built up some real stamina, and rarely drive now. Hard to see going back if I have any say in that.

Less happily, the pandemic + its politics have really sharpened my misanthropy and generalized disgust w/my country, and that's probably permanent, too.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:53 PM on May 8, 2021 [11 favorites]

* Fuck bras and fuck jeans and pants with zippers and buttons. Did I EVER like jeans, or did I just wear them to be "cool?"
* I have very much enjoyed grocery delivery. Technically I was all clear by the time I needed groceries again last week and I was all "fuck it, still gonna order it."
* Hopefully I won't bloody shop as much as I used to. I actually went in a bookstore today and didn't buy anything while I was in it (note: I went in four bookstores 2 weeks ago for birthday celebrations, obviously not needing more right now).
* I've been hanging out with long-distance friends on Zoom and that's really gone well.

* Online/Zoom plays. I really hope that keeps up being a thing, I love having access to seeing shows and being in shows in different time zones with actors from all over. I love just watching stuff from home and I can do what I want while watching (see below). I love being able to do multiple things in a row without a driving commute.

* I would like to keep working from home, though I don't know if I'll be permitted to. I don't have to be up and active and moving from 7-8 a.m. and my body REALLY feels a lot better in the mornings not doing that. I straight up feel sick to my stomach in regular mornings the earlier I have to wake up AND MOVE AROUND, it turns out. I may wake up freakishly early due to coronasomnia, but if I'm not Up And At 'Em getting dressed and leaving the house, I feel better. I don't get up until 15 minutes before work starts. I'm actually awake in the 8 a.m. meetings (and knit below the camera), and I can just go get a damn snack when I need a snack instead of having to wait until Official Break Time to get food and/or raiding the desk over and over again and finding nothing to eat but Oreos. I can put something on the stove circa 4ish and it's ready to eat right at 5.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:54 PM on May 8, 2021 [9 favorites]

I know pizza delivery has been around forever, but I never really participated that way. Now, the pizza place down the street answers the phone, "The usual, August?"
posted by AugustWest at 7:02 PM on May 8, 2021 [9 favorites]

Now, the pizza place down the street answers the phone, "The usual, August?"

I have, at various times in my life, had this relationship with a pizza provider. A word of caution: IT IS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:07 PM on May 8, 2021 [24 favorites]

Making do or doing without. Do I really need to get a thing from the thrift store or can it wait another few months? Maybe it'll turn up in a free pile somewhere if I wait long enough.
posted by aniola at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2021 [7 favorites]

I will keep exercising at home. Turns out I exercise more when there's no gym to avoid going to. I learned how to do push-ups and my quarantine arms are awesome.

I hope we keep the custom of wearing a mask when one has respiratory symptoms (indoors, at least).

And oh hell yes to virtual theatre. The conundrum there is that people will watch it, but they (generally) won't pay for it. It's a boon to audiences, but we still have to figure out how to make it work for artists.
posted by Pallas Athena at 7:10 PM on May 8, 2021 [14 favorites]

Exercising every day. Viva las pirate puffins!
posted by aniola at 7:13 PM on May 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

I'm approaching my 60s and have decided that I'm never going to work anything like 50 fucking weeks per year again. Housing prices have risen far beyond my reach, so I'm not going to give a shit about my credit rating any more.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:17 PM on May 8, 2021 [32 favorites]

There's an international conference that I never get to go to because I'm a motor minimalist and it's always far away. But this year we're hosting it online.

They'll probably go back to in-person conferences which is great, but I'm hoping many people will be able to come who never came before. And this is a conference that cares about language justice. I am expecting that being online will make the experience easier for the interpreters, and that the chat rooms with instant translation will also help make being truly multilingual a more seamless experience.

And that sometimes there will be the online conference as well so that fewer people feel left out and like all the big decisions get made without them.
posted by aniola at 7:17 PM on May 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

I will keep a mask on during all public transportation, especially flying, and encourage my family to do the same. Getting sick on trips has been a big problem for us over the years and has ruined several trips in the past.

Absolutely this. Last time I went to Disney World I ended up with pneumonia; pretty sure it was from plane germs. Masks and wipes from now on.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:19 PM on May 8, 2021 [6 favorites]

I'm going to wear a mask in public whenever I have a cold or other respiratory illness. The East Asian countries have this one right.
posted by praemunire at 7:20 PM on May 8, 2021 [36 favorites]

Cooking most meals at home.
Having no expectation that I should be "out" on Friday and Saturday nights.
Connecting with far-flung friends remotely, just to catch up and hang out.
Less business travel, more zoom.
More focus on my home neighborhood and local area and what it has to offer.
Hiking and walking as entertainment and socialization.
Slowing down, rejecting the rat race.
posted by Miko at 7:37 PM on May 8, 2021 [16 favorites]

Normally I spend at least five or ten weekends a year at conventions -- in 2019, it was something like 13. All that travel and all those long days of hand-selling books, networking with colleagues, speaking on panels, and such? I mean, I knew they took a lot out of me and cost a lot of money. And I'd been meaning to try and "simplify" my life a little by cutting way back on those commitments and giving myself more of a regular schedule. But being forced to take a year off from convention travel really hammered home just how much that grind wore me down. And I expect I'll be much muck pickier, in years to come, about which events I continue to make time for.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:44 PM on May 8, 2021 [6 favorites]

I used to be the sort who'd go to the grocery store nearly every day (I'm single and only cook for myself). That was fun and allowed me to change things up as I went but I also don't think I'll go back to that. I like grocery shopping but pickup and delivery have been great.

I used to love going to restaurants and bars. That's ... going to take a long time to go back to. And even then, I don't think I'll do it to the same degree I did.

I did love dressing up and putting on makeup. I do miss a lot of that! I think I'll bring some of it back but in a very different form.

I don't particularly have the space, but I imagine a lot more people will be entertaining at home rather than meeting friends at "third" places.
posted by edencosmic at 7:45 PM on May 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

Around the beginning of May 2020, one of our three grocery stores here fucked up big time - Customer A (a small elderly woman) called out Customer B (a middle aged man) for not wearing a mask in the store. Customer B slapped Customer A. The grocery store not only sided with Customer B, they threw Customer A off of their property.
I swore I’d never spend another dime in there (and I told them so), and I intend to stick to that.
I have gone into the store briefly twice, though, for spying purposes. The first time, there were two men stocking produce without masks. The second time (this past Friday), there was an employee baking something in the bakery department without a mask on! Both times, I’ve reported the store. I’m going to continue that, too. (I’m in New Mexico, and our governor has taken this whole thing very seriously.)
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:39 PM on May 8, 2021 [48 favorites]

I was already a telecommuter with minor prepping tendencies already (I ran out of the toilet paper I bought last February almost a year later.. being a single person with a Costco membership tends to mean that you're well stocked) and still dress like a lazy college student so I didn't have a lot of changes in my life other than not going anywhere or seeing anyone which I hope not too keep up.

I've joined a weekly social Zoom meeting that I'll continue with as time allows, though I suspect interest from the group as a whole will wane as people regain the ability to go out. Maybe it'll become a once a month thing.

I expect some conferences in my field will continue allowing remote speakers so that might increase the talks that I give. I generally enjoy travel but it's a whole lot easier to commit to a conference when you don't have to lose an entire weekend to give a half hour unpaid talk.
posted by Candleman at 8:43 PM on May 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

I will continue to try my best catch the right moment to go sit in the garden just as the rain rolls in, with a cup of coffee.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:55 PM on May 8, 2021 [20 favorites]

A friend finally helped me go through my stockpile of food from last spring. I'd always planned to go through it and donate things I didn't need, but I'd been planning to do that around November or so, and I didn't get to it until this spring. But it was freeing to finally parse that out, free up space, and let go what needed to be let go, including a lot of gluten-containing pasta I sent home with him. I went gluten-free about 5 months ago, to try to address another chronic illness I was diagnosed with in the past year, and even though I got a blood test recently and don't have celiac disease, thankfully, I do still have a couple autoimmune-type things, and I think I'm going to stick with this gluten-free thing for a while. I feel better—less tired, and my digestion and metabolism seem better—when I'm not eating it. I also started trying to include more fruits and vegetables and anti-inflammatory foods in my diet and more movement in my days, to combat the effects of pandemic inactivity, and I like it. I'm going to try to stick with that, too.

Same with the balcony garden I started last year; I let it die off last summer, when I got deeply depressed, so this year I'm regrowing it and trying to do a bit better. I'm doing my best to stick with watering it.

All of that seems to be helping me be able to do things like dance again, which I'm also thankful for, after going through a period of intense back pain whenever I'd do physical activity for more than like 20 minutes (even just walking around the block). I'm not entirely out of the woods on this—certain movements tend to make my lower back flare up—but I did dance for the better part of 5 hours last night.

I've started going to dance clubs in person again (well, I say again, but really more than I ever did pre-pandemic). I love it, and I don't want to take that experience for granted. Another thing I love is all the Twitch streams that I've subscribed to in the meantime, which let me watch DJs both local to me and far away and be part of their online communities. I'm planning to keep that up! I feel like a DJ saved my life over the past 7 months, in a lot of ways, when that was a way I could connect with people and build a community of people to hang out with online (and now in person, which feels like the same kind of reunion of people from the internet that MeFi meetups and my remote company's in-person retreats have always been). The streams also give my weeks some structure and give me something to eagerly anticipate, which is nice.

If anyone needs recommendations for gothy Twitch streams, hit me up!
posted by limeonaire at 9:37 PM on May 8, 2021 [5 favorites]

Oh right, and I got the back pain doing something I'm not going to do anymore—doing laundry manually with a Lavario, and overdoing it. But I am definitely planning to keep doing laundry at home, just with the Kuppet Mini to do the hard work for me, and only take things like blankets and rugs to the laundromat. That tiny machine has been a game changer.
posted by limeonaire at 9:42 PM on May 8, 2021

I stopped buying books on Amazon. I became so terrified that the little bookstores I’ve shopped at when I travel would go out of business I started making a point to order all the stuff I wanted to own from places around the country that have mattered to me. It’s been slightly more expensive but I feel good about it, I hope I keep it up.
posted by lepus at 9:51 PM on May 8, 2021 [31 favorites]

Oh yeah, lepus, that reminds me of something else I've been trying to do, which is, yes, buy from more local bookstores when possible, and also buy more music and art, directly from artists when possible. Also just do more mutual aid and donate more in general—I try to generously tip the Twitch streamers I mentioned, for instance, to help them keep going.

I also intensified my Spanish-language practice by switching Netflix to Spanish and watching TV and movies in that language as much as possible (I try to do at least one small thing in Spanish every day). I didn't start that during the pandemic—I started practicing more than a year before that—but I can tell it's paid off now, because I've been able to easily watch entire episodes of shows and also even some online sessions at conferences in my field entirely in Spanish without having to look up too much. So that's also something I plan to only continue and expand.
posted by limeonaire at 9:58 PM on May 8, 2021 [4 favorites]

Around the beginning of May 2020, one of our three grocery stores here fucked up big time - Customer A (a small elderly woman) called out Customer B (a middle aged man) for not wearing a mask in the store. Customer B slapped Customer A.

I was just reading that airlines have reported a MASSIVE uptick in violent incidents on planes, many of them over passengers’ refusal to comply with safety procedures.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:30 PM on May 8, 2021 [5 favorites]

My thing during the pandemic was to find very isolated places that other people wouldn't think to hang out in to have lunch like the top of parking garage, the Blue ridge parkway, those weird picnic tables nobody ever uses at interstate rest stops.... I worked in a grocery store during the whole pandemic so long drives and homemade sandwiches were huge for me.
posted by markbrendanawitzmissesus at 11:43 PM on May 8, 2021 [8 favorites]

And I’m definitely continuing my cemetery walks.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:51 PM on May 8, 2021 [7 favorites]

1. I'm gonna continue to wear a mask, everywhere. Even if it's not cold/flu season; it helps my asthma, and I don't want creeps thinking I'm female asking me to "smile!".

2. No longer buying my morning tea/coffee. I currently WFH, so I regularly just make my own tea/coffee at home now. But even for the few times I leave the house? I'll just make the tea/coffee, and carry it with me in a to go cup. I have saved SO much money by just doing this.

3. Cooking more at home, by far. Mor instance, my local dumpling shop sells dumplings - I could either get 10 of them, cooked for me, at $8.00 an order. Or buy 50 of them, frozen, for $20.00, and cook them myself. So that's exactly what I just did tonight. The owner verified that I indeed know what I was asking for, and I did. It's a win for both of us - I get to steam some lovely, homemade dumplings, and the small, POC owned business gets my $$ for them.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:38 AM on May 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Great question.

Working from home more; just being more home-based generally. Our shops have just recently opened up again, I went into the city centre last week and omg how and why did I ever do that regularly out of choice? So busy, so many people, such a PITA getting everywhere, waiting for buses etc. That's exacerbated by long covid, which makes once-easy distances feel like marathons that need huge amounts of planning, but it really didn't appeal on any level.

Relatedly, and I kind of regret to say it, but shopping online. Prevoiusly it was for occasional things that I couldn't find locally, but the idea of having to do a couple of miles' walking around different shops in hope of finding the one pair of shoes I want now seems bonkers compared to sitting on my sofa browsing countless different shops, and spending what would have been my bus fare into town and back on the delivery cost to bring it to my door.

Using my local share/swap group - charity shops have been shut so there's been nowhere to donate and a lot of stuff people want rid of that they're passing on. I've got rid of some things that were cluttering the place up, with people coming to my door to collect them. It really makes me feel part of more of a community of well-meaning, environmentally-conscious people, and it's so lovely to know that the thing you've been tripping over all this time and meaning to get rid of is exactly what someone else wants.

(OK, I've just become a lazy hermit who wants everything brought to my door, haven't I?)

Noticing the annual cycle of the birds and all the plants close to home, which I became way more observant of when I had nowhere else to go.

Doing more arts and crafts at home - I've been part of a sketchbook circle and as a result have tried out loads of different stuff like collage and watercolour, that I've never done before and would never have thought to do in normal times.
posted by penguin pie at 3:03 AM on May 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'm hoping to keep working from home 3-4 days a week, and it looks like my employer is going to be cool with this, which is great. I'm also trying to use my influence as much as possible (and again seem to be succeeding) to make our sickness policy more stringent after the pandemic - we've proven the whole org can work remotely without too much trouble, so there should be zero excuse now for coming into work with symptoms of infectious illness. We've always had a generous sick leave policy, our intranet's page on this policy literally says stay home if you're not feeling well in bold, and yet people still come in. And complain about the office air conditioning being dirty/causing disease, when I'm as certain as I can be that the root cause of sickness in the office is people coming in when they're sick rather than our facilities team not having the air con sanitised enough or whatever.

The pandemic has put me back in touch with a number of people who I used to be closer friends with, people I drifted away from because our lives were busy and we lived far away from each other rather than because we no longer wanted to be friends any more. It's been great having more regular contact with those people again and I hope we keep it up.

Now that in-person socialising is slowly becoming more possible where I live, I'm also realising that I really like having 1-2 calendared social events per month, rather than the 1-2 per week I used to have in the before times. I'm going to try to focus that energy on the stuff that I really enjoy doing in person with other humans, and do less turning up for the sake of it/because of fomo.
posted by terretu at 3:44 AM on May 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

Biking to work. Before the first lockdown I didn't even own a bike, but now it's one of the highlights of my day.

My scheduled online gaming with family and friends. It's nice having some built-in social time every week.
posted by stillnocturnal at 3:54 AM on May 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

As I read the responses I began wondering how each person would self-classify along classic introvert/extrovert lines. IMO, the more introvert you are, the less problematic you'll find some of the post-pandemic carryovers. I'm very much an introvert, and pre-pandemic, often struggled hard with FOMO and other depressive feelings related to the perception that all my friends- if not the entire world- was having fun without me AND purposely chose to leave me out. Social media could be decimating. So one of the oddest silver linings for me during the past year was the absence of all that. (It lowkey got replaced by guilt over being happy that a global tragedy resulted in improving my personal mental state, but I'm dealing with that.)

I've started to see an uptick in social stuff, and a little of that old FOMO creeping in, but it's not hitting like it used to. Enough people are still wary. Also, there are others like me out there and I think we're all sharing the same desire to normalize simply doing less.

I've been wondering a lot lately about work stuff. Mainly this: my workplace (a large company) is going hybrid, but my team's role will stay WFH. This is great in most ways, but... how will that change the fabric of work that's relied so long on the indefinable things that happen when humans spend all day in close proximity? When some of the office goes back to "normal", I personally think the rest of us will suffer for it.

There is a certain degree of casual, serendipitous contact that occurs in an in-person setting that has vanished during the last year. You stop by a colleague's desk; you pass them in the hall; you're in the restroom or at the coffee station at the same time, etc. It allows for spontaneous conversation. It allows for VERYPERSONAL conversation. You can make a case for change, or share something private, in a way that is completely OK and also promotes connection between you. You can be pulled into a meeting or asked to give an opinion, etc. You can develop key relationships and significantly increase your personal capital through these IRL connective opportunities. It's an entire universe of interaction that is simply GONE if you're working from home exclusively.

I had a "mentor" C-level person who pre-pandemic, by chance, happened to see my work and has maintained a dotted-line interest in me. He's an ally in large meetings and has helped me not be overlooked. He's a strong influencer and it's in every way a good thing that this person thinks I have value. A remote culture wholly disallows this. Those hired during the last year will never get this chance. I may lose it too, over time.

Will I survive in spite of it? Sure. But thinking long-term, how will this affect me when it comes to promotions and raises? So much of that process is influenced by others' opinions of you. If it's me vs. someone else, and the "someone else" gets to bend the ear of the decision-maker in a real-time way that is denied to me, then what?

When you're working from home, you're isolated in a particular way that (IMO) fully disengages you from that its social fabric. Being remote sucks all the air out of work relationships. Any attempt at chat and social-ness feels at worst, forced; at best, a waste of time when we have so much work to do. But if we were in person, we'd shoot the breeze for 5 minutes, or whatever, and it would be absolutely fine. And yes, maybe that's a good thing- over time, perhaps more merit-based outcomes will result from it.

But again- people gonna people. As long as some departments are in-office, they will revert to how things were, and return to those in-person dynamics. It's impossible not to. They will get to build relationships using those very specific tools, and we will not. Even worse- I think a gulf will develop- an "us-vs-them attitude," especially if those returning resent those that get to stay at home.

Anyway- I've really been noodling on this, and wondered what others have felt it.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:24 AM on May 9, 2021 [22 favorites]

I had started knitting slightly before the pandemic, but it featured heavily in my stay home life. I hope to always have a knitting project going moving forward. But that also made me realize how much I learned about myself from learning a new skill, so I’ve signed up for ceramics lessons later this summer.

Stepping up my participation in elections, GOTV and supporting candidates I believe in. 100%.

I’m not sure I have a lot of control over this one, but living in a rural area, it’s been AMAZING to attend literary events and workshops via Zoom. Have taken writing workshops, and seen and interacted with some of my favorite writers. So, really hope these orgs continue to share/host online events.

Social media. I’m a very reluctant user of social media. But I started posting to my Instagram again after a long hiatus there (mostly knitting projects, see above), and have actually really enjoyed it. I also joined Twitter, and I’m still surprised about this. I was having trouble following news in my state until I started following politicians and orgs on Twitter. Also following some writers I’ve enjoyed. In a strange turn of events, that has also introduced me to a lot of new-to-me poetry — I haven’t read poetry for maybe 15-20 years(?), and amused to see that that’s where Twitter has taken me.

Lastly, I’m a very introverted person, and had been living a moderately anti-social life before Covid. I think this prolonged pandemic isolation has made me rethink and get excited again about social activities and commitments. I’m never gonna be a social butterfly, but I think I understand the balance I need to strike now better than ever.
posted by sk932 at 5:52 AM on May 9, 2021 [10 favorites]

I think it would be great if hospitals keep masking all the time. I work in a peds ICU whose winter census is large driven by respiratory bugs, and I haven’t been sick at all this year, which is new. But honestly, if it’s not hospital policy I’m probably not going to do it on my own.

Other than that I can’t think of a single change this year that was positive and that I want to keep. I was already pretty good at honoring my introvert self, so this year wasn’t a change in that.
posted by obfuscation at 6:13 AM on May 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

1. Working remotely as much as possible, especially now that remote locations other than my house are opening up again.
2. Masking up when sick.
3. Instacart etc. instead of grocery store trips. Bring me the things.
posted by emelenjr at 6:33 AM on May 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Even before the pandemic I was working from home 4 days a week, and my wardrobe has always been pretty casual, so that's not been such a big switch for me. I've thrown away all my makeup, as I haven't worn it for over a year - and some of it was really old anyway. I may buy a basic set of drugstore makeup and keep it all sealed up, just in case an occasion arises where I might need to wear it.

I think I'm going to stick to making sure I have a stock of dried/canned food and household essentials.

I've started going to my small-ish local supermarket to buy fresh stuff, because I eat a lot of fruit and veg and I've been disappointed in the quality of online deliveries, which can be very hit and miss. I prefer to pick out my own, so I go at what I know will be quiet times. I've only been to the big supermarket I always used to go to once, about a year ago, and it scared me shitless how reckless people were with no masks and all crowding together. I can't see a time in the foreseeable future when I'll be happy with going back into a big, crowded store.

But I've got used to buying almost everything online that I think this is a habit I don't want to break. If I can bypass Amazon/Ebay and go straight to the seller, I will always do that.

Mask-wearing is something I intend to keep up. I flew back from the States on 4 January 2020 and the following week came down with an awful dose of the 'flu (no, it wasn't Covid), which took months to shake off, despite having had a 'flu jab. I also have those little sanitiser things hanging on my bags, and they are so useful. I use nitrile gloves much more than I used to as well.

Lastly, I’m a very introverted person, and had been living a moderately anti-social life before Covid. I think this prolonged pandemic isolation has made me rethink and get excited again about social activities and commitments. I’m never gonna be a social butterfly, but I think I understand the balance I need to strike now better than ever.
posted by sk932

Oh this, this so much. I've missed meeting friends for theatre and cinema, with dinner afterwards. But I'm not sure when (or if) I'll be ready to go back to a Friday night trip up to Soho, dinner in a packed restaurant and then on to the crammed-packed-full basement piano bar.
posted by essexjan at 7:23 AM on May 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Fuck church. I haven’t been going since before the pandemic but husband was requiring the kids to go. Since pandemic hit and it was moved to “home” church or streaming, he wasn’t requiring the kids to participate. Now that it’s opened up for in-person, the kids, now used to not going and happy to not be going and wasting hours of their day, are pleased that he’s not making them go.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2021 [13 favorites]

Another cooking change for me has been that I now buy celery, carrots, and green and red peppers and freeze them in the right size containers to use as ingredients in cooking. Before the pandemic, I would buy these things as needed, and the result was a lot of food waste, especially for celery. This also has the advantage of making it a lot easier to throw a stew or soup together. I plan to keep that up.

Yes to stocking up on toilet paper, toiletries, cleaning products, and pantry staples. (I've heard that putting flour in the freezer for 24 hours will kill any future bugs - I do this with all flours and grains and I don't get bugs. Whether that's the reason, I don't know.)

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that this has made me much more aware of my own mortality and of the fact that I could die suddenly. Even though I have cancer, I could live for decades with it, and I always figured that if I were approaching the end, I'd have a reasonable amount of notice. I have had a lot of hoarders in my family who left us with huge messes and in some cases didn't even have wills, and I don't want to do that to my kids. Because of that, I've been downsizing like crazy and have gotten more of my affairs in order. I'm in my early 60s and had a vague plan to move closer to my kids. That seems much more important now, and I'm planning to actually do it as soon as it seems reasonably safe.
posted by FencingGal at 7:47 AM on May 9, 2021 [11 favorites]

Baking artisianal sourdough. Paying attention to health authorities. Maybe continuing to dabble in learning about virology.
posted by joeyh at 8:21 AM on May 9, 2021

I've had a phone phobia all my life (still don't have a mobile phone, just a landline). Since lockdown I have had to make many calls to the TX Unemployment office, Medicare, my doctor, the pharmacy, blah blah blah. All that staying on hold for 45 minutes gave me time to calm the fuck down. And not having to make calls at work with everybody listening also made it easier. I also got used to talking for a long time with my friends on the phone since we couldn't talk in person. I think the phobia is almost gone and I hope it stays that way. I'm even considering getting a smartphone.

Also totally cut out buying music from Apple and Amazon. Mostly buying music on Bandcamp from the artists.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:42 AM on May 9, 2021 [10 favorites]

I_Love_Bananas that's a super-interesting conversation to me and one we're having at work right now - what does the "new normal" look like with regard to telework? There was an initial panic of "everyone who can lay hands on a laptop get out of the building NOW! We'll figure it out later." Later turned out to be a part-time telework scheme where a handful of us were on site every day and we rotated it so pretty much everyone had a day in every week or so.

And what we found was that we (for the most part) actually enjoyed and craved those days in, and only wished there were more people to interact with there, since it was kind of a ghost town. We re-jiggered it so everyone (there are 13-17 of us in this little community, depending on what projects are running at the moment) had a nominal 3 days in, 2 days telework, adjustable for good cause. That is, schedule around your telework days if able, but never say no to something important just because you're supposed to be teleworking. And take a different telework day when you can afford it in your schedule, no problem.

I think this is actually the new normal. There's talk about going back to full on-site, but I think that cat's out of the bag that that's not at all necessary. Telework has reduced our absenteeism, for sure, if you go by sick leave/unscheduled annual leave. (Are people cheating an hour here and there when they're supposed to be teleworking? Probably, but who cares?) At the same time, for managers or supervisors, there's really no substitute for being able to walk around observing people at work, having little chats, validating with your eyeballs your assumptions are correct, and making human connections. The serendipitous meetings and the small talk conversations that turn into serious, exciting ideas by accident, just don't happen when nobody's there.

I do intend to keep up the mask thing. Maybe not as strictly 100% on my face. I have one tied on me, all day long, but I've gotten in the habit of relaxing it when I'm by myself at my desk, and reflexively putting it back in place when I get up or someone comes near. It doesn't bother me at all and I'll probably just keep doing that even when everyone else stops.
posted by ctmf at 9:16 AM on May 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

I've really enjoyed reading other people's responses in this thread. It made me feel a little less alone! I'm thrilled that mask wearing is a bit more normalized in the US. I will always be wearing a mask in public from now on. I also loved not traveling for academic conferences, and I do not plan to go to any more of them in person in the future. I also now walk for an hour every day. I live right next door to a large park that I had never visited pre-pandemic. Now it's part of my daily life. I'll be continuing those walks.
posted by twelve cent archie at 9:44 AM on May 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

The part-time telework thing is actually somewhat helping with the networking aspect I_Love_Bananas brought up since now it's a thing among us that it's not only ok, but encouraged, to stand in for each other as representatives from time to time. We all do a similar thing, but each one of us is kind of specialized to a specific type of project. So the cross-experience is making us all more generalist, or at least familiar with the others' specialty, and also introducing us in different circles. It's making US interact and share more. I have been both the giver and receiver of a crash course in $SPECIALTY so I/the other person could intelligently attend a low-stakes meeting on the responsible person's telework day. And now I know "the people" in every specialty, and they know me. I kind of like that aspect.
posted by ctmf at 9:53 AM on May 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

SHOES. This has been the first year in memory when my feet haven't been a constant source of pain and turns out it's because I rarely wear shoes and when I do they're sneakers. I've never been able to find genuinely comfortable professional shoes so there's no hope there, but when I go back I'm going to bring a pair of slippers to work and just get out of my damn shoes when I'm in my office.

Working out at home. The Peloton app has changed my life. I've never worked out more consistently or enjoyably than I have in the past year.

Taking a dim view of my fellow man, and clinging tightly to my circle of like-minded friends. This was already my tendency and has been hugely intensified by recent events.

Masking, as articulated by everyone above.

Re teleworking, I'm interested to see what happens later this summer (presumably) when most of the world is forced to make the abrupt shift to full-time in-office work. Will it be not as bad as we were dreading? Or will it be a collective "fuck this," forcing the hard-line employers to rethink their stance? The brouhaha at the Washingtonian was quite something! I wonder if there will be more of that.

Re conferences, I was just surveyed by my professional organization about the national conference. I am baffled that they're planning to go back to an in-person this June. Why? First of all, it's too soon (obviously). But going forward, the environmental burden alone of all that travel should be reason enough to stop this nonsense. What stupidity.
posted by HotToddy at 9:54 AM on May 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

It's sort of soothing to read these responses. It's going to be a long, long time before we get vaccinated in South Africa if things keep on as they are, and we're heading into winter now and our third wave will soon be here.
Numbers are low right now, so we have very little in terms of official lockdown restrictions, but that will change. So really, I'm heading into lockdown instead of out of it. But thinking about the future:
I hope we'll keep having weekly zoom chats with our family in Istanbul. Before, we hardly had contact for months at a time. It's been really lovely and a highlight of my week.
I hope I will continue to have contact with my friends regularly. I used to be quite anti social. Now I value all contact.
I will definitely keep cycling everywhere. Getting a bicycle was one of the things that kept me sane after our hard lockdown last year.
I will keep paddling a kayak. It's been a good way to be with people safely during Covid. Also just so much fun.
I will also hope I'll tell fewer white lies. I've been telling people why I truly can't attend their birthday party (it's because of Covid!) rather than just making up an excuse.
I hope I will continue live my life right now , instead of waiting for things to get better. That is a decision I made at the beginning of this year. I don't know how much longer the pandemic will last, but I'm no longer in limbo just waiting for it to be over.
posted by Zumbador at 10:59 AM on May 9, 2021 [9 favorites]

Wearing masks in thrift stores. Thrift stores give me terrible allergies and the mask really helps.

Exercising at home. Used to go to the gym all the time. Now I figured out I actually do better with my own equipment and YouTube videos. Now, the gym has become a place where the music is always too loud, somebody always smells of bad BO or maple syrup perfume or something, and that person, who is talking loudly on their phone, always wants to get on the treadmill right next to yours, even when 10 others are open. And that's before we start talking about the germs all over everything. I used to ignore all that, but it's much nicer being in my own space.
posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

I retired from college work in October but the previous six months had been WFH. I calculated how much money and how much carbon I'd saved from not doing a 80km 90 min commute M-F for all those weeks. I'll miss the talking books but I've donated the car to my youngest offspring. That's a huge decluttering relief.
My two grand-children live in a university town in the next country over and there is an independent bookstore in the 'village' nearby. I arranged to transfer €100 of my carbon-offset on account to that bookshop as a gesture of support and to increase the likelihood that there will still be a bookstore nearby when they are teenagers. I order a book which they can retrieve by having a password solemnly verified by the bookseller - who is a good sport. I'll defo top up the account when they've read through it. ⬇Amazon⬇
posted by BobTheScientist at 11:22 AM on May 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

After months of lethargy during Covid I started walking 1-2 hours per day, even walking to destinations instead of biking or driving, and I hope to keep doing this.

But the biggest one for me is hanging out outdoors instead of at a bar or restaurant. Walks, backyard gatherings, these are typically cheaper and superior. Take away social distance and add more people, or don't, but I'd like to keep this.

Contrarywise, we will still have restaurants and I really hope my city keeps the loosened rules around parking lot and sidewalk dining and drinking. It has made the city more lively and deprioritizes cars.
posted by kensington314 at 11:27 AM on May 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

Keeping my bidet!
posted by vespabelle at 11:33 AM on May 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Fuck antiperspirant.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:42 PM on May 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Fuck makeup!
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:07 PM on May 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

We rarely ordered out or went to restaurants "in the before times" but started getting takeout once a week pretty much at the beginning of social distancing as a way to support local businesses that we knew were being hit hard. And let's be real, as a treat to ourselves. It's a small way we can feel like we're going on an adventure while still staying home, and we've discovered some new (and new to us) places that we will continue to patronize for years to come. We may have to reduce to once or twice a month, but it's a definite keeper!
posted by CookieNose at 3:12 PM on May 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

I realized I was nonbinary during the pandemic. Obviously, I'm still nonbinary, not planning to give that up, but I mention it because I created this username, mostly because trans Mefi users were being harassed on twitter and I didn't want that, but I find I like existing without a past to tie me to my assigned gender at birth. I probably am not going back to my old username much, if at all.

Likewise, it was nice not having to worry about my face with the masks.

I joined three slacks, two Mefi adjacent (politicsfilter and transfilter), and one for LGBT folks in tech. I like all of them.
posted by Chrysopoeia at 3:55 PM on May 9, 2021 [9 favorites]

And leggings are the new jeans for me...

Yep, my two big ones interrelate.

1. I never was a leggings person much before, I liked durable "Can sit on a rock in them" types of pants unless I was dressing up. But now I NEVER dress up, and I'm in the house a lot and would prefer to have a little more division between pajama-time and not-pajama-time. So I got a lot of pairs of leggings and now pajamas (bottoms at least) are only for bed whereas leggings are for any time. If I go out (see next list item) I'll often toss a pair of shorts on over them but I found that except for the absolutely coldest days, I could basically wear leggings + shorts on my legs when out and about. I'll keep doing that.

2. I used to go to the gym for exercise. It's a few miles away, had a great shower, and had machines I liked. However, since the gym has been closed, I've been going on exercise-length walks (like an hour 4-6 times a week) around my neighborhood and I find that it's been nice. I already knew my neighbors, most of them, so now I've been getting to know the local birds, dogs, plants and other things. I don't think I will go back to the gym.

My grocery store opened up curbside service literally last month so I'm never going inside there again. I do most of my food-browsing at the local farmer's market store and I prefer it and I saved so much money this past year that I am more at peace with the higher prices (that I should have been okay with anyhow but brains are weird). I know which friends made an effort to keep in touch with me this past year and which ones turned staying/keeping in touch into a them-centered hassle. Still love the complicated friends, but can be a little more realistic about how much effort to spend staying in touch.

More to the point, I serve on the governing council of a nationwide organization which has two huge annual meetings. Those were expensive for my local org to send me to. This year they've all been on Zoom. Even if the meetings happen again in person (and they may not for a while) I think the organization may find ways for virtual participation (they better!) and I will be happy to not ever go for the purposes of governance meetings again, and my organization can spend that money on things that are more useful to us locally.
posted by jessamyn at 4:36 PM on May 9, 2021 [6 favorites]

Covid didn't really change anything for me. The weird isolation thing was just decades normal already.

I welcome you all into the (guy but generally) fuck this haircut, bra, I'm wearing PJs,conference calls from your couch, why the hell am I even driving to work in a cubicle, etc. Congratulations, I have fewer things to tell you that you're doing it wrong. :)

The new things that I'll probably keep...

The 50/50 acceptance of random mask wearing.

I have cultivated a chin-beard, I think I'm going to keep it. Shows my grey, took a year to grow, is only about 2" long. But it's fun to stroke
posted by zengargoyle at 8:52 PM on May 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Going for walks everyday and making idle chitchat with people I see (people who want to chat, I'm not a monster). I get that to some people that sounds like a nightmare but it did brighten up my days when lockdown + toddler made me feel really isolated. I'm on at least nodding terms with a lot more people in my neighborhood now and I think that's nice.
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 2:15 AM on May 10, 2021 [9 favorites]

A mask during cold/flu season, or if I'm sick, is something I'm going to stick with.

Something that I'm going to keep from this period is the knowledge of two things:
  • How much I need to spend time in the company of people I love
  • How much I need to spend time on my own
Before the pandemic, I would have a regular breakfast meetup with three of my best friends. I miss that so much; I want to do it again, even if it's in someone's home rather than at our usual spot. I'll happily cook for everyone.

But a year plus change of working from home with my spouse also working from home has shown me just how much I need to have time to myself to just think and breathe. I love my spouse dearly, and they've been through a lot this last year, on top of the end times, and I've been with them every step of the way… but I've had very little in terms of self-care time aside from working out (at home) — and I've learned that self care for me starts with alone time (and I have to work through this with my spouse, because it upsets them).
posted by six sided sock at 2:57 AM on May 10, 2021 [14 favorites]

Six sided sock- I hear that.

I think many people's silver lining was a realization that they were burning themselves out for others, and getting "pandemic permission" to let all that go was life-changing.

The toothpaste of freedom cannot be put back in the tube.

I wish strength and empowerment to anyone who's moving forward into a life where their self-care freedom is challenged in any way.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:10 AM on May 10, 2021 [7 favorites]

Working from home. The goddamn extroverts are clamouring for us all to get back to the office, but this works well for some of us.

Spending more time in nature or in non air conditioned environments.

Seeing more of my kids and being home for dinner every night.

Cooking more, eating out less.

Buying online or not at all.

Not travelling due to social pressure or for the sake of it.


Lower expectations for birthday parties and the like.

Masks in crowded areas both for disease and facial recognition avoidance. Cuts down on small talk too when I’m not in the mood, like AirPods for my face.
posted by clark at 8:28 AM on May 10, 2021 [3 favorites]

Media definitely seems to skew introverted-I’m pretty extroverted and I miss being in the office (I also find it hard to manage people-social workers-that I never see, not out of trust though we’ve definitely had that struggle with some folks, but because the relationship piece is harder to do). I’m excited to be working at home part of the time-and I’m especially excited to have that be when my kids are in school. Working at home sounded great until I realized A. The ergonomics were shitty and I say much more than I did in my office, where I’d walk to see someone at their desk, drive to a meeting, etc and B. My kids are there. All. The. Time.

I’m excited to have opportunities to eat and drink wine more outside, at my house and elsewhere. I love how many local
Places have created lovely outdoor spaces to hang out year round. We have a weekly “social distance happy hour” with some great friends and neighbors, rotating backyards, and I’m hoping we continue that.
posted by purenitrous at 1:40 PM on May 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Nothing. I like shopping. I don't like masks very much. Working from home is ok at best. I like the gym. I like going out to eat occasionally. I like crowds, singing and live music. I don't care about stockpiling toilet paper or whatever. I like my kids going to school. I like medical appointments scheduled a normal amount ahead of time. I like dressing up occasionally. I don't really much care about vaccines, or pandemic planning, or having to consider other people's vaccine hesitancy or level or cleanliness/illness. I like movie theatres and public pools and renting things. I need to try on clothes before I buy them.

I hate drive-thrus and carry out.

The only things I liked (less driving, less traffic) ended 2 months into the pandemic.
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:22 PM on May 10, 2021 [4 favorites]

Xbox Game Pass. Man, what a revelation! Y'all ever heard of a little videogame called literally every videogame?*

Seriously, though: keeping on top of household chores. "Working from home" gives you a lot of opportunities to flit about and do the vacuuming etc. during your breaks, and it's sure nice to take care of things piecemeal rather than having to do a big three-hour wodge of housework on Sunday afternoon.

*Not all videogames. It's still pretty good though.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:26 PM on May 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

A word of caution: IT IS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD.

I'm sorry did you say DOUBLE-STUFFED CRUST?

On the subject of food, we had invested in a pressure cooker just before Everything Went Tits Up, and while using a pressure cooker to cook meals under pressure isn't a Covid-19 exclusive, it certainly did give us a bit more flexibility to experiment with more involved dishes, and also helped us realise that it's also really okay to just dump a bunch of shit in there and black hole it for an hour. It will mostly come out okay and if it doesn't, well, that's what salt, MSG and hot sauce were invented for.

Also, an air fryer. My partner loves chips (I mean, so do I, but not to this extent) and we couldn't really easily go out for our favourite chips (shout out to Bloodhound in Fortitude Valley), so it was good to make chips at home, and also it's just better than an oven for veggies etc.

So despite the fact that we technically had more time on our hands, it was good to be at peace with the fact that dinner doesn't have to be some multi-phased multi-hour multi-dish extravaganza. It can be quick and still good.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:36 PM on May 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

Singing lessons and practice! I'm finding that a day with music practice is better than a day without, and I'm getting back to something that was a daily part of my life for years as a kid.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:26 PM on May 10, 2021 [4 favorites]

Six sided sock, I identify with all of that, including spouse who is now here All The Time and gets upset when I ask for the alone time I need.

The upside of spouse working from home, though, is that he can do the school run. He is employed full time, I am self employed, and in the Before Times he was at his workplace 5 miles away and my work life would have to stop without fail at 2.30 every day.
posted by altolinguistic at 1:13 AM on May 11, 2021 [2 favorites]

Being present and cognizant. Listening. Thinking. Responding. Trying to be a better partner and father. I feel like we have stared into the void and said "huh, why am I living, working, loving in this way?" Like everything has been exposed and created an opportunity appeared to do some parts differently. I want to keep this feeling...minus the void...
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:46 AM on May 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

I got heavily into solo tabletop rpgs over the past year, after losing my in-person Meetup gaming group (it started early 2020 and did not survive the transition) and trying to get a family/friends game to work over discord didn't work. And yeah, I miss playing with other people but man, it is pretty great to be able to play whenever I want for as long as I want without having to worry about other people's schedules or dealing with That One Guy who shows up whenever you're gaming with people you don't know well.
posted by darchildre at 2:54 PM on May 11, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wait what. Solo tabletop rpgs? darchildre tell me more?!! AAny recommendations?
posted by Zumbador at 9:22 PM on May 11, 2021 [4 favorites]

In some ways I've gotten more intentional around social interactions, and in some ways I've gotten more open to serendipity in social interactions. Seems a bit contradictory but basically just being more aware of and appreciating the depth of interacting with people in smaller numbers. Some of the time that was previously spent in larger groups has been freed up to make deeper connections, and I think in the future I will be more intentional about nurturing those connections.

I like being able to participate in online conferences that would have been too expensive for me to travel to, and I like being able to take an hour long online class without it actually taking 2 hours allowing for travel time. I hope to be able to keep those things up, but they do depend on other people so we will see.

I have a new appreciation for being able to shop in person for groceries, being able to easily look at an ingredients list and see adjacent items on the shelf, being able to choose my own produce. I'm finding that I'm able to plan my buying better and more easily resist impulse purchases, so I'll keep those. Not going to miss being told to come back in an hour, and then told another hour, and then told to come back the next day, or spending 4 hours putting together an online grocery order. I'm a bit surprised to see people saying on here saying it has saved them time, but I guess my local grocery just has a very bad interface for online shopping and very bad practices for scheduling pickup. Seeing these comments, perhaps I will give grocery pickup another try if I move... so it could become a thing that I keep doing, even though I have quite disliked it so far.
posted by yohko at 9:52 AM on May 12, 2021 [4 favorites]


1. I will always disinfect all items coming into the house. Having spent a year doing this I am astonished not just by how dirty items from the shops can be but that I just put them straight into cupboards without a care in the world.

2. It is confirmed that I am a super hyper introvert. I didn't just like lockdown, I loved it. I do not miss seeing people at all and I don't care enough to look into it. Every so often I have ventured out to go shopping (in an actual IRL shop) and hated it after 30 mins. I'm just very uncomfortable outside around people. Hermitude is my luxury.

3. I absolutely need to work from home. I make fewer mistakes and my mental and emotional health are so much better as a result. I still don't know how to get a permanent wfh job.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 2:22 PM on May 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

- Mask - doubles as sun protection, and only half the population will think I'm bananas
- Long hair - who knew I had waves??
- Working from home about half the time, if they'll let me
- My local Buy Nothing group - for the environment, the community, the decluttering, and the re-cluttering
- Focusmate - online, on camera work dates with strangers
- Video (instead of phone) calls with far away friends
- e-books from local library
- MS Teams for work collaboration and meetings
posted by Frenchy67 at 4:58 PM on May 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm with The_Vegetables, I will keep very little.
I suppose I realized that keeping my living space clean and tidy improves my mental health a lot, and doing a short exercise routine in the morning before work is helpful in multiple ways.

Otherwise, I hated working from home. I like working with the public and talking with my coworkers.
Grocery delivery seems really wasteful, and I like shopping for groceries in person--I don't want someone else choosing my avocados for me.
Conferences are about way more than just the presentations--it's a chance to meet and talk to people in your field that you might not ever see otherwise, not to mention the free travel aspect! Doing several days of webinars instead sounds like torture.
Takeout food is so much worse than eating it right away as the chef prepared it, and the whole food delivery system is fucked in so many ways. I like going to restaurants and movie theaters and seeing my friends in real life.

I'm pretty much an ambivert, I get needing time alone, but it makes me really sad to hear everyone saying how they plan to stay home more and not go do things with friends. I want to connect more, not less!
...and if I never have another Zoom call it will be too soon.
posted by exceptinsects at 2:33 PM on June 4, 2021

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