It has been over two years now since the COVID-19 pandemic began and, thankfully, it finally looks like the end may be in sight – at least that is what the World Health Organisation has said.
For some people, this may feel hard to believe. The last two years have been anything but certain with mask rules, quarantine requirements, lockdowns and border rules constantly changing. This has left many of us feeling like we’ve lost control and losing our trust in our leaders. It can also feel like the next lockdown is lurking just around the corner.
Everyone has their own pandemic story to share. For us, it has been really difficult and sometimes very depressing. The worst part was not really knowing what was going to happen and feeling like we were losing control. Not to mention all the changing rules. It was like everything we had worked hard for was at risk and we had no way to plan for the future because nothing was certain.
Thankfully, much of our lives have returned to normal – or at least the “new” normal. This has offered me time to finally reflect over how the last couple of years have been and to think about what I really missed.
Here’s my list of the top 5 things we have missed most during the pandemic.
Preface: I know the last couple of years have been extremely challenging for many people, particularly for people that have lost loved ones from COVID or suffered serious illness as a result of infection. We are lucky to have not suffered either of those. However, whilst we can be thankful for this, it doesn’t change that fact that the reality of our lives were very difficult during this time. Everyone had their struggles. These were some of ours.
The 5 Things We Missed Most During The Pandemic
Starting with the most simple thing – we missed simply leaving our home without a second thought!
We were in lockdown for a long time, and that meant staying indoors and risking a fine if you left home without a good reason.
This is something we put up with in the beginning without a second thought. This was what we had to do to contain the virus. However, as the months lingered on and no end to the lockdown was in sight, it became torturous. This is exacerbated by the fact that we lived in a property that had no yard for our young kids to play in and playgrounds were shut.
When we started to open up again, I was one of the many people who made the most of it. This meant going out to eat, having dinner, going shopping etc. as much as I could. Anything that got me out of the house! However, another lockdown was never far away. It was not fun.
I didn’t mind so much about the mask requirements, density limits or quarantine requirements if you got the virus. But I really hated not being able to leave the house.
Of course, we missed going travelling.
We have always been a travelling family and would go away multiple times a year. However, COVID meant lockdowns and border closures, and here in Australia, international travel was super restricted and only allowed under certain circumstances.
Not being able to travel left me dreaming about past trips – like our white Christmas in Switzerland – and planning new trips for the future. There was some benefit to this as we now have some awesome trips planned!
Also, I must say that dreaming about and having a trip to look forward to was something that made the lockdowns a little more bearable. It made it feel like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel (at least I hoped)!
We have since been lucky enough to travel both domestically and internationally and have more trips planned.
This was really tough. Our family is not only spread all over our state but also interstate and overseas. There was simply no way to catch up with them all. And mostly, we couldn’t see any family as none live within a five kilometre radius.
This is tough because there is also a lot of young kids in our family which means missing out on seeing them grow up and not meeting them as babies. I had four nieces and nephews born during or right before the pandemic and I missed out on a lot of baby hugs. It also meant the kids missed out on seeing their cousins.
I know – we are lucky these days to have phones, facetime and instant messaging. However, this is only okay for coping through these times but its not really a substitute in my opinion. There’s nothing like being present with your family. We missed them.
I’ve spoken before on this site about homeschooling my kids and my tips for doing so while juggling working from home – see here.
Let’s just say its super tough at the best of times. I did have somewhat of an advantage during lockdowns over other people who started to work from home. The advantage was that I have always worked from home as my full time job for many years has been running my own online business. This has meant I have somewhat perfected the skill of working through distractions.
However, homeschooling was a new thing to add to my routine and one that I wasn’t fully prepared for. It meant that I had to be present for my kids during their school time which meant that my own work often suffered. I was worried how this might impact my business.
I missed the routine. The kids missed it too. They missed their friends.
There were things that made it easier like being organised and venting to others that understood, but it wasn’t easy overall.
I also don’t feel like the kids really gained much from homeschooling. Not that they didn’t learn anything, but so much of the experience of being in school involves being among others and your friends, and dealing with challenges without your parents present. This can’t really be substituted at home.
At some point, it began to feel like nothing was certain anymore. I still have this lingering feeling whenever I book an event or begin to plan a trip. I always feel like we may go into another lockdown, or that there may be a new variant of the virus that emerges which spells an end to all our plans.
And the reality is that this really might happen! It’s not really a silly fear because it has happened before. There were many times when our hopes began to rise and they were quickly shot down.
I do feel slightly more optimistic these days but still, the worry that things may change lingers. But, this is life.
Some Things We Enjoyed
It’s not that the last two years were completely horrible and that we would like to erase all the memories. Nothing is all bad, and even in the darkest situations there is some light to be found.
For example, we took advantage of the time we had at home by starting some new activities. We began making our own natural skincare products from home which we shared with our family members as special gifts which everyone loved.
We also worked on developing our indoor garden. This was essential because our lack of a yard and limited time outside left us craving from greenery!
We also moved states for part of this time to escape the lockdown that loomed over our own city. This was wonderful as it meant we got to spend quality time with family members that we rarely saw otherwise. It also had us enjoying freedom more than every before!
We watched a lot of Netflix, movies and played a lot of board games together. I also found myself exercising more at home than I did before the pandemic. If there was any benefit to lockdowns, it was this. I loved putting on a dance workout video and moving around. The kids also enjoyed joining in on this.
I also spent a lot of time venting to friends and family. It’s hard to exaggerate just how helpful this was but it really helped. Just knowing that I wasn’t the only one going through the lockdowns and that others also had frustrations helped me stay sane. We were in it together and it made me feel closer to a lot of people.
Did We Get COVID?
Yes, we did! We have all had COVID and recovered and luckily for us it wasn’t too bad. We all had minor symptoms.
Most of my family has also had COVID and they have all recovered. We have been lucky in this regard and are are exceptionally thankful that no one in our family suffered life threatening symptoms.
Who knows what the future holds. I’m still processing what has been happening over the last couple of years and I still feel like we are within it. I’m sure many others feel the same. This is a feeling which will last a while and is perhaps something we just need to learn to live with. I certainly wont be taking my freedom for granted again!
Find more posts about life here.