Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was joyful and full of life. We saw movies in theaters, went to concerts by our favorite artists, ate at restaurants, and partied until the wee hours of the morning. That was the life everyone desired, but it was cut short in an instant. Now, all we see are empty streets and deteriorating infrastructure, with hospitals being the only places where you can see a large number of people. We can’t even go outside and do things like we used to. Students who used to dread coming to class now look forward to it. We’ve changed since then, and the unfortunate reality is that we still have a lot of uncertainties ahead of us. But here’s the thing. We don’t know what the future holds, so we might as well live our lives to the fullest, despite problems and challenges.
What was life before?We had always enjoyed living our lives before the COVID-19 drama. But now, even the most mundane activities, such as throwing a party with friends, attending milestone events like proms and weddings, chilling at the mall, and showing off new clothes, now feel like a luxury. Although we can’t do that anymore, it still makes us happy to reflect on our pre-pandemic memories, so join us as we take you to memory lane.
1. Dining out with family and friendsA lot of people miss the excitement of dressing up, getting pretty, and dining with family and friends at our favorite restaurants every weekend. Other times, we like to be surprised by undiscovered restaurants and get excited about the fact that we have no idea what their food tastes like. This is our way of catching up, keeping each other up to date on our lives, talking about random topics, and laughing until our stomachs hurt.
2. Food samplesRemember when you were doing your groceries and then felt hungry? Thankfully, there’s someone handing out free food samples on the corner. The funny thing is, when you finish all the food, the sampler will stare at you, and you will look back at them, feeling guilty but still slowly reach out for more food. Pretty nostalgic, right?
3. Playing sportsIf you are an athlete or simply a sports fan, you will surely miss this type of activity. Athletes used to practice on fields and then bond with their teammates. Some people use sports to motivate themselves and distract their minds from the negative things around them. On the other hand, others go to professional sporting events such as volleyball, basketball, and soccer to cheer on their favorite players.
4. Going to workGoing to work, as exhausting as it may be, is what makes some people happy as it gives them something to look forward to. They would get up early, eat breakfast, and then report to work. When they arrive, they will greet their coworkers and even engage in some light conversation. Many people miss this feeling because, now that we work from home, we no longer have someone with whom we can have office gossip and who can relate to us about how stressful it is to work all day.
5. Grocery shopping is therapeuticWe used to go grocery shopping once a month and have a great time picking out different items. We see that the shelves are still full, and the only people we see buying in bulk are those who own neighborhood convenience stores. Furthermore, when there is still no panic buying, people will buy groceries to destress themselves.
6. Traveling to different placesGoing to the beach is one of the best ways to connect with our family and friends. We’d take baths in the sun, grill barbecues, and tell funny stories at night. We’d even notice one of our friends getting randomly sad, but we’d just throw them on the beach and laugh it off.
7. Going to night marketsNight markets are typically open 24 hours a day, and you’ll notice that crowds fill up well before daylight. Previously, if you feel hungry in the middle of the night, you would call your friends and invite them to the night market to eat. Then you’d wander around looking for other random items as the market also sells clothes, accessories, gadgets, and so on.
8. Concerts for lifeParticipating in concerts improved and brightened our lives. We immediately save money and buy concert tickets whenever we see posts on social media platforms or news on TV that our favorite bands and music artists will be performing in our city. Even though we’re in the farthest reaches of the concert grounds, we know that as long as we see our favorite artists, we’ll go home bringing smiles to our faces.
9. Attending schoolsSome people are at ease with online learning, while others are not. They would prefer face-to-face classes because they would be able to learn alongside their friends. Furthermore, they may retain more information when they hear the professors in person and have physical textbooks to write in.
10. Birthday partiesWhen social gatherings are still allowed, we will celebrate the birthdays of our loved ones, whether going out of town or dine at restaurants, without worrying about curfews.
11. Trick or treatingEvery November, children and some adults would go trick or treating at various malls, asking for candies, snacks, and other items. You’d see them dressed up in various costumes, portraying different characters based on what they wore. Some malls would also hold contests to determine who the best trick or treater was.
12. Christmas spiritCelebrating Christmas before the pandemic was the most awaited time of the year. Here are some pre-Christmas traditions we used to do:
- Christmas shopping – Many people would start buying presents for their friends, family, and colleagues even months before Christmas. You would see people flocking at the malls looking for gifts and long cashier lines with cramped aisles.
- Caroling – When the ‘ber’ months start, you will start hearing children outside your home singing Christmas carols and witness their out-of-tune adlibs with wacky choreography.
- Night masses – In December, people go to night masses every 4 am and gather in churches for nine days before Christmas. When it ends, they would then line up to establishments that offer free breakfasts or snacks.
- Christmas parties – Aside from Christmas itself, the highlight every December is the Christmas parties. Everyone loves every bit of it, from good food to exciting games and activities from children to adults. Not to mention this is also where grand reunions happen, whether in family or friends.
13. Hugging our friends and distant familiesHugging is a way of showing our love and families. Whatever emotions we feel, whether happy, lonely, or angry, we just feel their warm embrace because it makes us feel better. Now, we can’t even do it as we need to follow social distancing measures to ensure safety.
The life nowLife has changed since then. Until the outbreak is contained, we must make do with what we have and adhere to the government’s restrictions. Even if we aren’t as free as we once were, we can still improve our lives at some point. Here are some positive outcomes from the pandemic.
Work-from-home setupSome people dread going to work and dress in office uniforms. Because of the pandemic, we no longer need to spend long hours waiting for public transportation because we can simply hop on in our pajamas and attend virtual meetings throughout the day.
Stronger relationships with familiesAs we stay in our homes, we form deeper connections with our families. Before, parents were busy working, and the children were also studying at school. Therefore, there is less time for communication. Now, stronger bonds develop within their household as they start to learn more about each other.
Newfound hobbiesStaying at home allows you to devote more time to yourself. You’ll get to know yourself better and discover new interests and hobbies you never knew existed, such as exercising, reading books, tie-dying clothes, DIY projects, baking, gardening, listening to podcasts, and more.
Appreciation of local small businessesWe used to eat at upscale restaurants. But, because we can’t do that anymore, we turned to small online businesses and discovered that they provide excellent food, just like those opulent restaurants, but at a lower cost. Today, we see on social media that more local businesses are starting to grow as consumers develop ordering food online.
TakeawayThe pandemic robbed us of the traditions we used to enjoy with our friends and families. But we can’t let that take over us and live dreadfully for the rest of our lives. We need to be adaptive, resilient, and learn how to overcome difficulties. Someday, we will relive these wonderful memories and learn to appreciate and love them even more.
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