There has been plenty of buzz about the pandemic making us lazy. During a year and a half of lockdowns, we cancelled our gym memberships, stopped putting in long hours in the office and found new ways to order practically everything online.
These days, we may be a little heavier and a lot more comfortable in sweatpants than we were before. But I would argue that it’s not laziness that’s making more of us want to Netflix and chill. It’s that the pandemic reminded many of us just how comfortable our homes can be (especially if you’re wearing sweats), and allowed us to slow things down take a break from constantly climbing the corporate ladder.
The pandemic changed a lot of things for me. I’m hyper-aware of my hand hygiene. Hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes now have a permanent place on my shopping list. It makes me side-eye anyone in my orbit who has the slightest tickle in their throat. And it has given me the perfect excuse to keep my ass in the house.
We lost my father-in-law to COVID early in the pandemic, so it hit differently knowing that he was one in the number of lives lost that kept growing at the bottom of our television screen. And although I’ve always been hard to catch sitting still, I took the warnings seriously and hunkered down in my apartment with my family as sirens blared by regularly. As someone who enjoyed coffee breaks and happy hours with coworkers, it wasn’t easy to isolate at first.
But somehow, my family found a way to make the most of our time at home and turned our apartment into the perfect urban oasis. We were one of the millions of households around the world who kept our kitchen stocked with snacks and drinks (especially the adult kind) and found enough puzzles, board games, and binge-worthy shows to entertain ourselves until it was safe – or at least safer – to be outside again.
Like most people, I got creative with my connections, and Zooming became my new favorite verb. I looked forward to virtual game nights with family members and Winesdays with my girlfriends from college. Virtual yoga classes and writer’s groups were my new normal, and I was loving it.
I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Like most parents who were juggling remote learning and their full-time jobs, there were plenty of times that I wished I could teleport myself anywhere else. It didn’t take me long to realize that fifth grade math is not my ministry.
But as the city slowly started to reopen, I wasn’t exactly jumping up to rejoin the outside world. I’d been spoiled by the two-minute commute from my bedroom to my kitchen table/office, having my husband and kids together for dinner every night, and having long conversations with my best friends whenever I need a laugh. I wasn’t ready to give all of that up, even if it did mean that I could come and go freely.
These days, it’s harder than ever to get me out of the house. Before the pandemic, I would jump at the promise of a night out with good music, good drinks and the company of good friends. But now that I know the secret to a good old fashioned (stir, don’t shake) and have curated dope playlists for practically every occasion, these streets ain’t got nothing for me.
I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to being the social butterfly I once was, but I really hope my kids’ schools keep those virtual parent teacher conferences going. Now that I know there’s a way to cook dinner and talk about their grades in school at the same time, I may never go back.