Getting vaccinated in April felt like a giant exhale. I actually cried in the car on the way to my appointment because the last year–living by myself after a breakup and coping with isolation during a global pandemic–was the toughest thing I've ever been through. During my pandemic year, I picked out new furniture and coached myself through panic attacks, took long walks around my neighborhood and rediscovered podcasts, read a lot of books, and relied on a select few people to keep my sanity over the hardest period of my life. Emerging on the other side has been freeing. I'm still not feeling totally "ready" for everything yet, but I feel more hope and gratitude now than I have in a long time. I don't know where post-pandemic life is going to take me, but I know that I feel endlessly grateful and excited that I get to find out.
An image that embodies where you'd like to be this year? I took the photo above after having brunch with my friend Maya, who I hadn't seen during the pandemic at all. We went to Butcher's Daughter in Venice, and found this little "pop-up" bar across the street that used to be a parking lot, but was designed to look like the beach in Mexico. We went in and had a drink because: Why the heck not?? It was the most normal I've felt in such a long time. This year I'm so excited to reconnect with friends I haven't seen in person for over a year, and this scenery made me feel so freaking fabulous I want to go back again and again.
Where's the first national/international trip you'd like to take? I went to Arizona in May to meet my newest nephew, and it was the ideal first plane ride as a vaccinated person (the flight is only about an hour long). I'm heading to Reno/Tahoe next to celebrate my friend Lisa's 40th birthday–her request is that she wanted to rent a house and do "normal things" with our close friends, just somewhere else. After that, I'm heading to Minnesota in August to see family and celebrate my grandmother's life, who passed away in January. I'm sticking stateside for now, but eventually I'd love to actually visit the real beach in Mexico!
What's your indoor post-pandemic fantasy? I keep having weird flashbacks to a bar that I used to go to in Venice that has kind of a speakeasy vibe on the top floor, but the basement is a full-on dark, sweaty dance party. I'd sort of like to go there again someday, but I don't think I'll be ready for a long time. Something more realistic I'd like to do is just go to a movie in an actual theater and drink a glass of wine while I watch a sci-fi flick.
Work goals for post-quarantine? Now that we work from home permanently, my goal is to figure out how to work from places that aren't my house maybe once a week. Living alone during a pandemic was tough, obviously, but continuing to spend a majority of my day completely by myself now that I'm vaccinated is still a challenge. I'm somewhere in that gray area between extrovert and introvert, and I need to see people IRL more often than I currently do to be happy. So figuring out a schedule for injecting people into my day without an office setting while maintaining my current productivity levels is my challenge for 2021!
What's one thing you "hated" pre-quarantine that you love to do now? Home improvement? I never hated it at all, but investing in things for my house like quality furniture, art I love, an actual desk set-up with an ergonomic chair, painting the walls, hanging curtains, etc. just seemed like a lot of effort when I didn't spend all that much time at home and would rather spend my money elsewhere. I have done a full 180˚ on that, and now there's nothing I want to do more than make my home my haven. I'm spending a lot of time and money making my home somewhere I want to be (I also recently moved to a new apartment that's better for my WFH needs) which may seem counterintuitive now that things are opening up again. Coming home to a place I love just hits different now.
Any quarantine habits you plan to apply to post-quarantine? Long walks! In my pandemic apartment, I was in the habit of going for a walk at least once a day, sometimes twice. Since moving, I've completely fallen off the walking wagon and it hasn't helped my mental and physical health at all. I feel 5000% better when I take a walk every day. My new apartment is in a walkable area but feels less like a sleepy neighborhood than where I used to live. I'm still adjusting and trying to find a standard route that works for me as well as the one I used to have.
What's a skill you learned in quarantine you plan to continue post-quarantine? How not to go completely insane? Haha. I learned a lot about meditation, gratitude, insomnia, and isolation during quarantine which are things I will hold on to for a lifetime.
How did you grow and change over COVID, emotionally? I mean... do you have a few hours? I went through more than just coping with a global pandemic during quarantine time. I went in at age 30 and am coming out of it just shy of 32, which feels wild. I'll probably refer to it as "the lost year" when I'm older, because that's sort of what it felt like. I had to suddenly exit society at a time when surrounding myself with people would have been good for me. I've learned a lot about myself over the past year and a half (both good and bad).
Any big travel plans that were cancelled during quarantine? There are a few weddings that got postponed and a trip to Minnesota for the holidays that we decided not to do, but otherwise, I am one of the lucky ones that didn't have to cancel a big trip in 2020/21.
Any large event you missed in 2020 or 2021 that you plan to make up for post-quarantine? I'm really excited to go to the weddings I missed! It felt very strange not to go to Minnesota when my grandmother died, so I'm glad we're doing it this summer.
Aside from eating indoors and seeing friends, what not-obvious indoor activity do you miss most? Going to Target. I grabbed my reserved-for-special-occasions N-95 mask a few times during quarantine to go to Target, but never actually made it inside because the lines were too long. I finally got there in April after getting vaccinated, and I've probably been to Target, like, seven times since.
Are you buying anything in anticipation of post-quarantine? I'm buying literally everything for my apartment right now since I'm trying to "finish" it so I can move on to doing other things with my life. Eventually, I'll start buying clothes (that aren't WFH-wear) again now that I have places to go!
Any concert/event plans? Actually, no.
What is the one thing you're most excited for in 2021? Feeling like myself again.