When a glimpse of normality appears on the horizon, it's a good time to make an assessment of what we lack – and what we do not.
While the ultra-contagious Delta variant is spreading, and it seems unlikely that the United States will achieve herd immunity to COVID, there have still been occasional glimpses of a return to "normal" for many of us, especially those living in areas with high vaccination. And when that sense of normalcy before COVID creeps in, it's worth considering all the wonderful things we look forward to experiencing again — and some of the less wonderful things we, yes, fear.
First and foremost, the most important part of getting past COVID is the huge reduction in deaths, suffering and financial misery. But beyond that, businesses are reopening, adults are returning to offices and many children will return to schools this fall. So what do we look forward to when we return to normal (ish)? And what are we not?
In this article:
Things we look forward to
We are not sure what is better: Being able to hug your parents without wearing a mask or worrying about getting sick or watching on your parents hugging their grandchildren (in some cases for the first time). Both are a powerful reminder of the important things we sometimes take for granted.
And let's be real: In addition to the joy of seeing your loved ones IRL again, for many of us, another benefit of family visits is sudden childcare, which means the opportunity to reconnect with a partner or spouse you've seen at home around the clock, but without really see . Yes, the only thing that corresponds to your parents' joy in playing with your children is your joy of not having to, at least for a few hours.
Before COVID, less than 4% of children in the United States were taught at home. This indicates that the vast majority of parents believe that their children will receive a better education from professionals, and that they will learn important lessons about how to deal with other people by being in school. It also suggests that most parents simply do not want their children at home all the time. So, yes: thank goodness the schools are reopening. Parents can now work from home while focusing on, well, work – and can stop studying algebra for the second time in their lives.
More importantly, COVID has been extremely disruptive to children, and the fact that yours can now return to a more normal, consistent track (we hope) is reason to celebrate.
Return to the office
Listen to us: The office gives you regular contact with other people without having to organize anything. There is friendship, teamwork and preferably hanging out with people from all sorts of backgrounds as you work towards a common goal.
Going back to the office means that your home can become a home again, not a hybrid space where you can never really feel like the working day is over. It allows you to bounce ideas with colleagues, it gives surprising meetings and it is a good excuse to go and eat something new for lunch. You can even end meetings without saying "goodbye" and make that weird kind of half-wave when you fumble for Zoom's suspension button. What is not to like?
It is not that bowling itself is so special in itself – it's more about what it represents: meeting friends to do something whose sole purpose is fun in a crowded indoor space, surrounded by others groups of friends do the same. And I do not feel nervous about it. After a year and a half that we've had, even the dubious food sounds like heaven. (Note: The emotions in this section may also apply to going to concerts, cinemas, arcades, libraries, cafes and watering holes of all kinds.)
The Freedom to Work Anywhere, Anytime
in a new study from Haven Life, 49% of respondents expect more options for hybrid / flex work from home, and a further 8% say they do not expect to return to an office again. Depending on the type of job, this may mean that you can choose to continue working from your kitchen table or to spend time in the Bahamas, Grenada, Dubai or in one of the other countries that now offer remote use visas thanks to COVID. If you are a professional, you can find new enthusiasm for your job if the "office" overlooks a beach.
Things we look forward to a little less
Let's be real (again): Family can be tough. In-laws can be tough. There are all sorts of reasons why this could be the case, and in 2021, talks about COVID (and how governments have reacted to the pandemic) could put even more strain on difficult relationships. In addition, seeing other families' happy reunions on social media can only remind us of that pain – or remind us again of those we have lost. Everyone's family is different, and we realize that not everyone gets to experience feedback with all the smiles.
If you enjoyed having a commute that could be measured in feet instead of miles — and did not require pants — then a return to the office can fill you with fear, not excitement. There is time left in a slow car; the smell and sound of other people on cramped trains and buses; get up earlier than you want in the morning. Our recommendation: If you can, take public transport instead of driving, and commit to reading (or listening to) a certain amount of books per month.
The obligation to work everywhere, all the time
During the COVID era, many people who worked from home found that the boundary between working time and leisure went from blurred to non-existent. When you work from home and / or on mobile devices, your boss and colleagues know that you are basically always in the office, which makes it difficult to ignore emails or "urgent" work issues after hours. Also, what else do you have going on while the pandemic is still raging outside? Hopefully, when ordinary life returns, the new standard of teleworking will give us more time that is truly ours when we are in our own homes, but it remains to be seen.
Do we really need to explain this? Okay, good: They spread disease, they sometimes turn a friendly exchange into a completely awkward game, and they sometimes include sweaty palms. We take fists, cartilage hugs or a friendly wave every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Ah yes, the fear of missing. Many of us have forgotten how it feels because there has been so little to miss lately (apart from a normal life, which we all missed together). Now that your friends' Instagram feeds are full of more than sourdough, you can feel the familiar pain of old anxiety and the nagging feeling that you could and should do something more exciting. If you can ignore these feelings, after COVID moments, this can provide an opportunity to decide what you really want to do with your free time and see what you did just because you thought you had to.
Our way of thinking before COVID
For many of us, this crisis has fostered a renewed sense of the fragility of life and a deeper understanding that it can be torn away from us at any time. The pandemic has also had unequal effects on our society, and the burdens – in economic terms and in the form of life or death – have largely been shouldered by the elderly, the poor and those with black and brown skin. Seeing this reality in such a brutal way has increased everything from social justice movements to how we think about our work and live a purposeful life. The price of that knowledge has been steep, but as Churchill once said, "Never waste a good crisis" —if we fail to act on the lessons of this age, it can certainly be a lost opportunity for once in a generation.
And finally, what we're really looking forward to: Elections
Above all, the final decline of COVID signals that alternatives will return. You can choose to go out or stay, work in the office sometimes or never, see your friends in real life or not right now. One of the worst things about COVID, beyond the really awful things, was the feeling of not being able to make our own decisions, no matter how trivial they were. (Pre-pandemic, did you ever think it would feel like a kind of freedom to go to the store to buy milk?) Perhaps what we are most looking forward to is returning to normal the simple, banal enjoyment of normality in sig.
Well, that and bowling.
Our Editorial Policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency supported and owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigation decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly easy.
Our Editorial Policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance company supported and owned by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe that navigation decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall well-being can be refreshingly easy.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not support the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less difficult if they suit your situation.
Haven Life is not authorized to provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide and should not be relied upon for tax, legal or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to consult their own taxes or attorneys.
Haven Term is a life insurance policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and is offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a simplified life insurance policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Insurance numbers and equestrian form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our agency's license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.
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