We’re about to hit the two-year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world.
It’s hard to believe that a little over two years ago, we were living normal lives. Travel was booming, concerts were at full capacity, and people around the world hugged each other without second thoughts.
Now, many of us haven’t set foot on a plane in two years. Many of us lie in bed dreaming of the day we’ll be able to see our favourite artists in concert again. We long for the embrace of another human being or the feeling of sitting inside of a restaurant on a Saturday night.
It’s hard to fathom what we’ve had to endure over the last couple of years. We’re literally living through history.
While I know that we’re adapting to a new normal, sometimes it’s hard to ignore the things we miss from before the pandemic. Here are five parts of our lives that will never be quite the same as we recover from the pandemic:
Oh, to be sitting in the airport with my $10 cup of coffee, four hours too early for a flight. I swear the airport is the only place where it doesn’t matter how you look, dress, or act because, well, it’s the airport. Anything goes there. If I want a glass of wine at the crack of dawn, I can have it, and no one will judge me.
But who would have thought two years ago that we would be craving that $10 cup of coffee?
Before the pandemic, sitting next to a stranger on a plane was as bad as sitting in rush-hour traffic. Even worse was sitting in the middle seat — next to a stranger. The horror you felt when you had to get up and shimmy by someone to use the bathroom was all too real. But now, I’d happily sit next to a stranger if it meant I’d get to safely travel. Heck, I’d even sit in the middle between two strangers if I have to.
We all miss the thrill of a new adventure. The rush of a takeoff, and the excitement of the landing. The serenity of glancing out the window and seeing an endless trail of white clouds.
We miss the way it feels to walk barefoot across the warm sand of the Caribbean or stroll down the busy streets of Manhattan. We miss experiencing new cultures, food, and activities. Above all else, we miss feeling free and unapologetically in love with the world.
2. Concerts and sporting events
Crowds have never been my thing. But a big crowd meant that I got to see my favourite artist, I could live with it.
This pandemic has made me realize how much we have taken for granted — things like cheap lawn seats at a country concert or attending a multi-day festival with thousands of people. We never thought that these activities would be taken away from us — until they were.
When I see old videos of full concerts, I can’t help but feel empty. I feel a void in my chest — a strange longing I didn’t think I’d have.
Concerts were a way for friends to have fun together. Sporting events were a way for friends and families to bond. Events like these were special, not only to us but also to the performers and athletes.
Concerts and sporting events also meant laughter and cheap beer. It meant high-fiving the stranger next to you when your team scored. It meant hot weather, lawn chairs, and good company.
Thinking of attending a big event any time soon feels bizarre. It’s been so long since I’ve attended one that I almost forgot what it’s like.
Events are coming back. Though they may look different, I’m confident that we’ll get to enjoy cheap beer in the near future.
3. Movie theatres
Oh, yes, the movies. There’s nothing like a massive bag of buttery popcorn, a large pop and the sounds of people’s shoes sticking to the floor.
The beginning of the pandemic hit cinemas hard, and since then, we know we took the movies for granted. We waited for the cheapest tickets and squished ourselves and our families and friends into huge, dark rooms with 100 strangers.
I know many people who miss the movies terribly. There’s nothing like seeing a movie on the big screen. Streaming services, like Netflix, are great, but they just don’t bring you that same sense of togetherness like watching a movie in theatres does.
Theatres have opened up again, but let’s hope that the pandemic never forces them to shut down again.
4. Eating out at restaurants
When the world shut down, and we could no longer go to our local Boston Pizza for a sit-down meal, it interfered with our social lives.
Pre-pandemic, many couples and friend groups went out for a sit-down meal once per week. They got some fresh air, ate some delicious food, and bonded with each other.
We lost these luxuries when the pandemic hit, and many of us feel like restaurants will never be the same.
After all, before the pandemic, I could walk into a full restaurant and not blink an eye at all the maskless people. Today, though, if I see a maskless person out in public, I avoid them like the plague (no pun intended).
Even though restaurants are open, many people hesitate to eat out. It’s going to take a while for us to feel comfortable eating in public places again
5. Human interaction
As humans, we crave human interaction. After all, we’re social creatures. Interacting with others is good for both our mental and physical health.
COVID-19 has left us longing for human interaction.
Over two years ago, we didn’t need to worry about missing the important people in our lives. We could see an infinite number of people we love.
Today, the world is a completely different place. We now stay home and socially distance ourselves from others.
Families now have to meet over platforms like Zoom or have gatherings outside, which is less doable when the weather’s cold.
The absence of social interaction led to many mental health problems in all age groups. Many young adults have reported feeling depressed because of the isolation.
Having virtual gatherings and socially-distanced hangouts can help us regain a sense of social connection, but socialising will never be the same. The good news is that we may get to see our friends as summer approaches.
These are scary times, and it’s hard to not think about the “good old days” before the pandemic. It’s OK to reminisce, but it is also important to remember to look forward and know there is a light at the end of this seemingly never-ending tunnel.
So while we all miss these things, just know that they’ll come back. In the meantime, remember that we’re doing the best that we can.