Some pandemic lessons

Mask wearing taught me a few lessons. First having your own bad breath go straight up your nose is sobering. More mouthwash, please!

I know my hearing isn’t great but without the ability to read lips and facial expressions my responses were a crap shoot. Someone might ask me “How are you enjoying your summer.” My answer may be “The table is on order but scheduled for a fall delivery.” I wouldn’t be surprised if someone asked the beloved husband if I was losing it. There may be pamphlets for nursing homes in his nightstand.

Not being around people all the time isn’t a bad thing. In fact I like it. Now I have to wean myself to the noise, chaos and people’s stupid opinions.

I enjoyed not being overbooked or even moderately booked. I expected to read a lot but that didn’t happen. I bought a house, sold a house and moved instead. I don’t recommend those activities for a pandemic. There were times (like when prospective buyers came through touching stuff or the movers refused to wear masks) when I thought I was going to die. I didn’t. I’m more resilient (and lucky) than I thought.

I didn’t sink into pity parties when my routines disintegrated. Maybe I did but only for a day or two. I looked for other routines, trying new ones. Some worked and some didn’t. That’s ok.

Being by myself is not a lonely thing. I kind of like my own company. Does that make me weird?

Anything you learned that you didn’t know about yourself?

71 thoughts on “Some pandemic lessons

  1. I am not an introvert, but do like my own company. My quiet time in the morning is enjoyed most when I walk by myself. I’m not that hepped up on the chatter at the Park, especially when it was political before the election. I enjoy solitude but don’t really feel like a loner. Since I live alone and have no family and all my close adult friends no longer live in Michigan, I will be careful for a long time, masking up 100% of the time as I just worry if my health is in jeopardy, who would take of me?

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    • I am surprised you don’t think you are an introvert since you seem to live a fairly solitary life. I definitely agree with you on the political stuff. It was getting so bad as it pitted people against people. When I walk, I just want to be peaceful. I don’t want arguments.

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      • No, I don’t feel like I am an introvert, because once out and about I don’t mind being around people and chatting with them, but I just don’t invite it. That probably sounds rude, but I do enjoy my peaceful morning walks. Also, since I started taking more photos for my blog, I sometimes find it annoying having to chit-chat when I could have gotten a shot. (Even if it looks like the same old bird or squirrel.)

        After my father left in 1984, it was just my mom and me and my grandmother in Canada, who died two years later. So, we were used to a pretty quiet existence and no one coming to visit (which is fine with me now as well as back then). When I think of introvert, I think of someone who is afraid or reluctant to strike up a conversation for fear of being rebuffed or afraid to state her opinion on anything. I told a woman at the Park off when she was spewing Trump nonsense about the vaccine having “code metal shavings for the Government to monitor us” like animals getting chipped at the vet. In the end, she got the vaccine, so then I was tempted to say something, but held my tongue as I’m not a rabblerouser. 🙂 I have never seen such divisiveness in my life. I’ve never been a racist, having grown up in Canada where we had no issues (back then anyway). A Black woman at the Park walks with a golf club to use on any squirrels that come up to her (not to chew on her ankles of course, but to beg for peanuts) and she said to me “White people are stupid for feeding rodents – pretty soon you’ll take them home with you.” I held my tongue and seethed and I didn’t”bite” though I don’t consider myself stupid and resent the accusation. I was made for a simpler era in time when people played nice.

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        • Actually introverts are not fearful or reluctant to be around people. They just prefer to limit their exposure. I consider myself an introvert but the jobs I had were not what you would think of as introvert jobs. I supervised 36 people at one time, spent years as a trainer and finished my career in human resources where I constantly dealt with people, mostly in conflict situations. When I got home from work, I liked my peace and solitude to relax. I get energy off of people and some of my best posts are about them.

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          • Hmm – perhaps I am an introvert after all. After we moved here from Canada when I was ten years old, I had loved school, but was bullied physically by classmates and ridiculed for my accent by the teachers (yes, multiple teachers). I hated to leave the house every single day for several years. Then, I had my five close friends in high school that I wrote about last year, but the best thing for me was working at the diner the entire time I was in college as it brought me out of my shell.

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  2. I agree with some of the mask challenges. I hope I can convey a smile with my eyes. Yes, noise, chaos and opinions. You make an interesting point about “resilient” or/and “lucky.”

    What did I learn about myself? Something I likely already knew – my body reacts far sooner than my brain. I need to continue listening to my body.

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  3. I learned that I really do like isolating. I always wondered if when I said I’d like to live on an island by myself (with maybe my husband, children and grandchildren…maybe) I really meant it. I found out that I would take to it very well! 🙂

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  4. I’m laughing at your possible response to a question while masking. My wife uses hearing aids, but still struggles in loud public settings. That and her own soft voice makes for unusual conversations with strangers in the best of times; masking made it that much harder. Sorry about the movers not wearing masks. I did enjoy having a built-in excuse of why we were avoiding functions, people, etc. Now I feel that’s been taken away. Oops. – Marty

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  5. Reading facial expressions is a huge loss for us and even more for kids. They’re wearing masks during formative times. They may never learn to read micro-expressions. But, it will all work out the way it should.

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  6. I don’t know that I learned a lot about myself – I knew I am an introvert and that was totally confirmed this year. I did learn I could work at home and actually get more work done (less interactions with others), so that was good to know 🙂 Also, I always thought how amazing it would be to sit on the porch at lunch and wear t-shirts and sweatpants or shorts all the time, and was 100% correct about that, too!

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  7. I enjoyed the new point of view of never being in a hurry to go anywhere, do anything. If I took an extra minute to pet the cat before work, then I just shifted my 8 hours down a minute. No stress. It was enlightening. I began to see all the earlier part of my life differently. It feels great to unwind and slow down!

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  8. Good question. Before the pandemic I knew that I enjoyed being by myself but didn’t realize how creative I can be to keep myself entertained. And that I really like cooking and eating at home all the time. And that having no travel plans is ok. I’ve mellowed into who I am now, relaxed and kind of happily indifferent to stress.

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    • I miss the occasional dinner out but I’ve been ok without a busy schedule. Missed some friends too but I adjusted well. Introverts had it much easier than extroverts. I have a few extro friends who were going crazy.

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  9. I’ve always been a bit of a loner too and had thought I’d spend my “pandemic prison sentence” at home reading book after book and eating bon bons. Well bon bons there were none but snacks there were too many……books surrounded me but not a one was I interested in…..and I did miss getting dressed up to go out to dinner once in a while – you can wear your PJs to get a curbside pickup after all. Sigh. Seems pandemic or not there’s always something to complain about but honestly I am just happy I’m HERE. It amazes me there are some who still think the virus is a bunch of nonsense…….

    Hugs, Pam

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    • My hairstylist, who is a smart 40-something mom, expressed the view that she thought it was overblown. She said her whole family (husband, daughter) had it and it was no big deal. I was both stunned and a bit nervous as this was my first haircut last fall when it was still raging. I chose not to challenge her belief because she had a scissors in her hand and my hair could have been sacrificed to make her point. I was raised by a skeptic who wasn’t quick to believe (except for the pope or the president but that’s another story) so if something doesn’t make sense to me I usually dig deeper. Perhaps I was quicker to believe this as I knew people who died from it.

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      • Like you I am a “digger” – someone may tell me something but that’s not the end of it – I will check it out if I have any doubt. The Covid thing seems so obvious but apparently it isn’t to a lot of people. I hope they don’t have to learn the hard way……. !

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    • You and Gus. He was adopted last July and has put on 3 lbs. He’s 4 years old so he was at his adult weight when he was adopted. Let’s blame that on the pandemic although his food theft is well documented here.

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    • It was a hard year for me. I avoided interactions in stores because of that. The friendly baristas said things and I just shook my head yes and smiled (hoping they could see smile crinkles by my eyes).

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  10. I’ve always enjoyed my own company and have never felt that I got enough alone time. The only thing that changed during Covid is that I got even less alone time since the two of us were home together so much. So, maybe I’m not so much looking forward to getting out and about myself as I am for my husband to get out and about 🙂

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  11. This post and all its comments remind me of that meme “Introverts Unite … Separately” 😆

    Yeah – I too learned about Stinky Mask Syndrome … but also that masks were very helpful on cold winter days.

    I learned that I really liked my alone time. I discovered I’m considerably more creative than I ever thought I might be … either that or else I’m simply getting better at it because I’ve had a lot of time to practice.

    I discovered I really like audio books, my hair is actually quite curly/wavy, and that my Armageddon supply of essentials was inadequate to handle a real crisis … with the exception of wine. We were well prepared for that 😁

    But mostly I discovered that I don’t want a busy life anymore. I miss my friends, family, and various activities, but going forward, I will guard my calendar jealously.

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  12. Well, I didn’t really learn this about myself, but I learned something about our front yard. My home office is in the front of the house and working from home for over a year, I learned that our front yard is the gathering place for dog owners. Each morning around 7:00 people would congregate on the sidewalk in front of our house while their dogs all did their business in our yard. I would rather not have known this. Even though I loved working from home, I did learn, once I was back at the office that I missed my co-workers.

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  13. Yeah, the “being on our own” part – we were born for this kind of isolation. To others it’s a hardship, but to introverts? Most desirable.

    What I didn’t know about myself was revealed on the handful of times when I’d encounter someone on a walk. I took more care to wave, and to smile brightly – lot of good that did, what with the mask, sunglasses and hat – and we’d chat and gab and pass the time like we were long lost siblings or something. I learned that I do need human interaction to some degree.

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  14. Well, what did I learn???? That I have NO patience for the idiots that support that this virus was not real. That they chose not to believe in science. That every time one of them said that their rights were being taken away…I wondered how inconsiderate they were to take others lives away.
    I guess I could go on and on…but that’s for another rant!

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  15. I remember the first time we ate burgers and onion rings in the car and then put a mask on to go into the hardware store. Thought I would pass out from the onion smell. Never did that again. 🙂 I’m an introvert, always have been, but the pandemic made me appreciate other people. I like people, smart, nice ones who have creative ideas and a good sense of humor. After a year inside, I really don’t have patience for the stupid ones.

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  16. I’ve always been a homebody of sorts; being an introvert by nature meant that I had to use a supply of energy to appear to be extroverted when around people! This year, I’ve been “piddling” around doing a bunch of little things. Except during the heat waves, or when I just don’t feel like it! That’s a positive of living alone! I was always okay being with just myself for company, but lately, I find I actually enjoy it more and more! Emails and all things social media keep me in touch with the world, without having to leave home!

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  17. I didn’t too much mind the mask mandate, but like you, I had difficulties hearing what folks were saying. I am a loner, so I was surprised that I missed visits with people. I found that too many days of being alone can be a bit depressing. I don’t think liking your own company is weird. I think it is a good thing. If you don’t like yourself, why would anyone else?

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    • I find that I’m more gregarious on my outings if there are fewer of them. I walk in my neighborhood and almost everyday I meet someone new but that’s likely to be the only real social interaction I have.

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  18. I learned that I really do like to go out to eat and if it is outside dining I like it all the better. I was surprised that I do like to put a little makeup on… especially blush, eyebrows, and a little lip color. I moved during a pandemic too and I survived it… shocked. I learned that the first hurricane in the new house is scary. No, you are not weird… I like my own company, too. I don’t think I’m weird, quirky maybe but not weird.

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  19. I too moved during a pandemic. And retired from full-time work when Covid-19 was still some weird disease that popped up in China and wasn’t yet front-page news. So not sure what was learned from retiring vs from the pandemic. It’s all jumbled together and that too is OK.

    I too like my own company…but not a pandemic or retirement lesson. It’s something I’ve known forever. Nope, you are not weird Kate! Liking your own company is a great thing! I bet many envy you this.

    Deb

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  20. I mostly enjoyed not being overbooked as well, and now, when I have 6 pet sitting appointments in a day (which I don’t mostly) it feels overly busy. I’m glad we went into semi-retirement as things opened up and didn’t have to go full tilt. Don’t think I could have done it.

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