Community: What Would You Keep?

Yesterday, I was flipping through early pandemic photographs looking for an image for a blog post. Back in those days, I was counting the days of the pandemic, like it would be over in a week or two. Ha. It was all so overwhelming back then, as we adjusted to two nearly adult children and two adults in the house full time. Our sewer line broke because the toilets were been used all day. I worked overtime to make sure my family was having fun, so we didn’t get lost in panic and despair.

For the most part, the pandemic was horrible. People died. Kids and teens became depressed, lost skills, regressed, and some are permanently ruined. People lost their jobs.

But some people enjoyed those times, too, and hope that elements of those rough years continue. Steve works from home two days a week now, and that’s perfect. My book business took off, because people shop on the Internet now; I earn more money from book selling than writing. Other than that, there’s nothing that I want to keep.

Is there anything about the pandemic lifestyle that you would like to keep?

20 thoughts on “Community: What Would You Keep?

  1. Pre pandemic I liked my freedom to work from home when I wanted to, but never really minded going in a few days a week. Some weeks I’d be at the office 5 days, others none – no one cared. Now that I’m required to go in 3 days a week I’m resentful that my work location is being policed. Big national bank wants to keep tabs on us I guess. My guess/hope is that they will monitor us for a while then go back to the old way.


  2. I would keep Zoom (and I will do so) because it has allowed me to meet with and cooperate with people from all over the country (and the world) that I could not otherwise hope to work with. At the same time, of course, I’m elated to be back in person for all the purposes where it’s feasible.


    1. Zoom long-distance appointments with specialists that would otherwise be out of reach and the option of Zoom parent meetings.

      You do lose something by not going to school meetings in person…but it’s nice to not have to.


  3. Honestly, this is a tough one. After the initial embrace of grasping for control with the presumption that the right choices would result in countable days of the pandemic, I’ve understood better that we can’t control as much as I thought. The uncertainty that followed (and, for me, I think it was the delta wave breaking through the vaccines) has had me embracing decisions and indulgences, with the “if not now, then when” refrain. A simple example includes indulging in cut flowers and in temporary gardening with pots of plants bought whenever I pass the local Fred Meyer.

    I still have Zoom and have used it on occasion, but am reaching the stage of wanting to drop it (I have my own subscription). Some of my meetings have been effective on zoom, most significantly for a board I serve on where the full board just needs to make sure that nothing is blowing up, but doesn’t have to do any significant planning or management.

    I wouldn’t chose zoom for any of my social activities, though I did toy with taking an art class online, and might be more likely to look for something like that if we spend more time not in our hometown when our nest empties. And, that plan, of spending more time away has accelerated with the ability to maintain contacts while away. I’m seeing that in my social circle, too. They were at that stage anyway, nests emptying, but I’m seeing a lot of I can live here and somewhere else, too, like retirees, without completely retiring.


  4. “‘I Didn’t Feel Like Going, but I’m Glad I Did’: My Motto of the Moment”

    This is definitely me, from a NY Times op ed talking about how we will move back into public spaces, and which will be downsized (she mentions churches, restaurants, libraries, . . . .) and the loss of the unexpected when we disconnect the items of survival (food, work, . . . ) from having to venture into public spaces. I have always loved evesdropping on others when I go out.

    “But instead of restaurant delivery, my husband and I are going to dine out a little bit more. ”

    Me, too, and I’m trying to say yes to in person interactions even when I’m not absolutely certain, and I plan to shop more in person. So for me, it’s not focusing on what to keep, but to make sure that I don’t entirely forget what I did enjoy out.


  5. Some Zooms: certain committee meetings, especially large ones; a regular family/friends Zoom that involves elderly people in different states; a friends-from-other states book club that meets every other month (pre-pandemic I would vow to call these friends every other month, and actually then do it every two years just before arranging a visit to their area). Also scholarly webinars; sitting in on faculty presentations at other universities and being able to pop a question into the chat.

    Outdoor dining and drinking. Our little town and other larger towns have added some great spots. I will do this in all kinds of weather.

    Greater attention to gardening.


      1. There’s a dozen people on gyms with my Pokémon right now. Judging by the names, some are old people.


      2. I saw a really good piece of advice on the subreddit for Applying to College.

        Somebody suggested playing Pokemon Go while visiting your target colleges, as it’s a nice way to tour.


      3. Just heard a hilarious comment on a podcast based in Ireland on the American college application process (apparently there it’s all grade/test score based?)

        “American colleges ask if you’ve rescued anyone from a burning building or how many dogs you petted today.”


      4. I just deleted the college search podcast from my podcast app. Realized that the quiet hum of college applications has occupied a portion of my brain for way way way way way too many years. When I think about it too much (from college visits and pokemon to tests and whether they are required to patting dogs heads or rescuing dogs from burning buildings) I can see its craziness as practiced by my people.

        I’ll still attend to policy style issues, but otherwise, so relieved to have the hum shut off.


      5. Marianne said, “Just heard a hilarious comment on a podcast based in Ireland on the American college application process (apparently there it’s all grade/test score based?) “American colleges ask if you’ve rescued anyone from a burning building or how many dogs you petted today.”

        That is really funny!

        Earlier this year, my husband and I were watching the Indian series Kota Factory, which is about Indian test prep schools in a city largely devoted to that industry. (First season is really good, second season is so-so.) Anyway, they’re dealing with a largely test-based entrance system. I was reflecting on this and realizing that there’s no equitable way to sift through a million applications using holistic methods and that good Indian universities are waaaay more selective than American Ivy League schools.


      6. A weakness of the American system is that there’s a difference between a) being the kind of person who pets dogs and rescues people from burning buildings and b) being the kind of person who can write a good essay on it. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of discovering that a writer that we admired for their compassion and insight into the human condition was a self-centered weirdo in real life…

        My oldest kid is 10 years older than my youngest kid, so I’m a lifer with regard to school and college stuff. I’ve been dealing with school stuff for almost 16 years and have another 9 to go. As I’ve said before, you can commit murder and get out faster.


      7. “college application process (apparently there it’s all grade/test score based?)”

        It’s pretty much all test-score based here. Though, I believe there is still a personal interview component and an aptitude test if you want to go to med school. I’ve never understood what the colleges gain from a personal essay – how do they even know the candidate wrote it!

        All our universities are public ones – no private endowments here in NZ.

        There’s a base level of qualification ‘points’ required for university entrance, with higher levels required for some ‘schools’ within the university and for the vocational Intermediates.

        Most vocational courses (medicine, law, vet science, etc.) require a general degree (bio-science, arts, etc.) year first, with 1-2 vocational papers added. (It’s called an ‘intermediate’ year – Law Intermediate, Med Intermediate, Vet intermediate, etc.)

        And then they pick the best scoring of the candidates after the first year. When they not only know that your marks are going to hold up in the university environment – not guaranteed by any means; but they’ve had a chance to check the students out personally (is this a high-scoring flake who can’t stand the pressure; is this a steady and reliable candidate who will grind on through the material and never give up; is this a late-bloomer, who didn’t do great at school, but has flourished at uni; is this someone academically excellent, but should never be allowed next to real people)

        So there may be 2,500 people doing Med Intermediate – but only 260 places in first year medicine. It’s really competitive. You can apply again once you’ve graduated – but it’s fairly rare. Most people go on to do their second choice degree.


      8. An interesting twist on “Kota factory” style admissions to Indian universities is the development of college consulting businesses targeting foreigners admissions to American U.

        My kiddo took a NY Times class (online) last summer, encountering a rich international crowd that spanned the world. Through those connections he started seeing posts in his social media by college consultants that package students for the range of American universities; the HS students avoid devoting their teen years to test prep and learn the ins and outs of the US system (and, I would wonder get “help” with their college essays — though mind you these kids were entirely capable in the NY Times class).

        It’s a big business.



    It averages about 80 million players monthly right now, daily average about 8 million. In 2020 it made about a billion dollars on players, if I’m reading the chart correctly.

    We aren’t playing, but we have adult cousins who do.


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