Every single aspect of life has changed with the spread of the Coronavirus and the necessary quarantine. With life coming to a halt and all of these changes occurring, it seems as if most things will never quite be the same again.
1. How we use technology and social media
We were (mostly) all attached to our phones before this outbreak. However, after being confined to our homes, people have turned to their phones even more than before. People's screen times have gone up significantly; I know some people who have a daily screen time of eleven hours — that's almost half of an entire day! After quarantining, perhaps our obsession with technology will subside. It's even possible for people to crave face-to-face contact and forming bonds in person rather than talking to someone through a screen — it'll be nice to finally hug and look someone in the eye again.
2. How we treat strangers on the street
From the limited number of times I've left my house (always wearing a face mask, of course), I've noticed a spike in small talk. During both of our trips to Home Depot, fellow shoppers struck up casual conversations with my mom and I. Whether they warned my mom about the type of plant she was about to pick out or they asked us where we found the flowerpot in our cart, people just seem to crave conversation. We've all missed socialization so much that a rebirth in how we treat our neighbors may occur.
3. How we value our healthcare workers
During this pandemic, the well-deserved recognition and appreciation the general public has given to selfless healthcare workers have been overwhelming. However, I hope this type of acknowledgment doesn't end when the pandemic ends. The truth is: healthcare workers put their lives on the line for their patients during life-threatening times and ordinary days alike. Valuing and respecting healthcare workers should occur 24/7.
4. How we use (or don't use) online dating apps
To get back to my point regarding technology and social media, after too many weeks of not being able to socialize with someone in person, I can definitely see the concept of meeting people and dating online losing the popularity and appeal that it had before. People are going to be tired of trying to get to know someone from behind their phone screen. Let's hope the physical contact we all missed during the months of quarantine will make us more appreciative of the priceless moments a phone can never give you — a warm hug, a piggyback ride, a cuddle session.
5. How we appreciate small acts of kindness
Just the other day, a man told me to go in front of him on the checkout line because I only had two items while he had a whole cart full. I told him I was fine to wait in line — I wasn't in any hurry — but he insisted. He wound up letting two other people go in front of him because they had fewer items than him. This was so simple, but such a nice gesture. Perhaps the crisis has made us all more considerate toward one another — regardless of the situation we're in.
6. How our pets react
Pet separation anxiety is very real. Our fur babies have become so used to their owners being home all the time, available to tend to their needs at (mostly) any time. I can, sadly, see cats and especially dogs becoming depressed once everyone goes back to work. It will definitely take some time for them to adjust back to having their owner leaving the house.
7. How we grow tired of Netflix
Remember when it was the middle of a long, busy week during the semester and we counted down the hours until we got to spend an entire day glued to our beds watching Netflix? So do I. The luxury of Netflix (and other streaming services) has, dare I say, diminished since we've all been locked inside. What goes up must come down — streams on Netflix have increased since the quarantine, and I bet they'll decrease once we're allowed to leave the house again.
8. How we view handshakes
The question of whether people will go back to shaking hands again is a much-debated topic in my house. Ever since the rise of the virus, everyone has been — rightfully so — much more cognizant of the spread of germs. Let's be honest, there are safer ways to greet someone than by exchanging the germs festering on the surface of your hands. Will we ever go back to handshakes? Only time will tell.
9. How we value our health
Before COVID, not everybody took their health too seriously — concerns only arose when a problem was so prominent that it started to interfere with their daily lives. For the most part, many people would push themselves and work through whatever pain or discomfort they were experiencing. But smaller health issues can be just as dangerous as debilitating ones. After this health crisis, we might be hyper-sensitive when it comes to feeling ill and taking care of our bodies.
10. How we view lazy days
I remember the good old days when it felt like a privilege to treat yourself to a day to stay home and spend the day doing absolutely nothing. Some used to call these "mental health days." But since these types of days have bombarded our lives (without our liking, might I add), it feels like every day is Groundhog Day, each day is the same as the last. I think it'll take a little while for me to think about having a lazy day again.
11. How we like (or dislike) takeout
With restaurants and other eateries closing their dining areas and only offering curbside pickup and delivery orders, I'll bet that takeout and ordering in may not be as appealing as it used to be. I, for one, am counting down the minutes until I get to eat at my favorite diner again.
12. How we appreciate sanitary products
It's the simple things that we take for granted the most in times of adversity. The fact that some stores are selling packs of 30 facemasks for $30 makes me wish I smuggled back all of the facemasks I saw for sale for much less in London. It's safe to say I know what I'll be stocking up on as soon as prices start to get more reasonable!
13. How we see community
It was said that New Yorkers bonded as a united body during the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The idea of a local community — or even the larger society — showing support and comfort for one another after making it through such a scary time is comforting; we really can make the world a better place when we work together.