In my last post, I shared how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted—even improved—my friend’s life in Iowa.
Today we are following the experience of my other friend who lives in the Boston area. In his story, there is no ER visit like what we saw in The Stories That Don’t Make Headlines. There is no delayed medical treatment like what happened in Tell Me About Yourself: When Family Planning Is Put on Hold. At the same time, there is not a long list of ways that his life is more convenient like what we read in Tell Me About Yourself: Admitting that the Pandemic Makes Your Life Easier.
As he would tell you, not a lot has changed in his life since the pandemic hit.
Interestingly enough, even when a global pubic health crisis does not dramatically change your life, it still might transform how you perceive it.
How has the pandemic changed how you perceive your life?
Here we will find out how it has changed his perception of his life.
This Q&A has been edited for clarity.
What was your life like before the pandemic?
I’d say it was pretty normal, maybe even bland.
I moved from Brooklyn back to the Boston area the first week of January for a new job. It’s my second, and hopefully final, stint in the area.
I was in the middle of getting accustomed to a new job, and a new career, before everything really went down. Seriously, I was on the job for maybe six weeks when talk about the Coronavirus started picking up here in the US. Being a former journalist, I was already aware of it because I had been keeping up with the reports coming out of China for weeks.
A day in the life for me before the pandemic was getting up to go to the gym at 5:00 a.m., arriving at the office about 8:30 a.m., being busy almost non-stop for eight hours, and leaving the office around 5:00 p.m.
Depending on the day, I was either going home for another workout, or going out for a drink.
One thing I miss is going to The Tam near my job for a drink. It’s a great dive bar with a couple of bartenders, who are easy on the eyes and nice people. I miss going there.
What is your life like now during the pandemic?
Honestly, not a lot has changed. I’m incredibly fortunate I have a job I can do from anywhere with a computer and an Internet connection. It’s a privilege, and I recognize that privilege. I think it’s important to recognize that privilege from time to time.
I miss the gym, but I’ve been keeping in shape with power yoga and two-mile runs. I’ve actually lost weight.
I promised myself when this all started that I wasn’t going to stress eat. The only time I indulged was Easter Sunday with some candy, but that was it.
However, I have been drinking more. I drank vodka sodas for 10 days straight when this whole thing started. Since then, I’ve been keeping it to the weekends, but that’s still more than I had been drinking before this all started.
If there’s been a silver lining to all this, I’ve been able to chip away at my backlog of TV shows and video games.
What have you learned through this experience?
I’ve learned that even a pandemic can be political, proving that yes, everything can be political. That’s a shame because this whole thing has brought identity politics to another level. That’s why I’m thankful I waved goodbye to that way of thinking years ago.
I don’t align myself with a political party. I don’t align myself with a particular ideology. I don’t align myself with any politician. And I believe I’m a better person for it.
To what extent does this clarify or confuse what you want from life?
Not that I needed a pandemic to clarify that I need to find my better half, but this sure as hell has solidified it. That’s scary in itself.
I saw a friend post on Facebook about her feelings with being single right now. While she’s happy with herself (I think), she’s jealous of those people who have someone to lean on during this pandemic.
I’ve been feeling the same way to an extent. I’ll always believe life is best experienced as a pair. No one will be able to convince me otherwise. I’ve always thought people who say, “I’m okay with being single,” are really full of shit and aren’t being honest with themselves.
But I do also know I need to tread carefully and not throw myself at the first person who shows interest in me. It’s a problem.
What do you hope to experience in the future?
I’d like to be free of regrets at some point. I know they say it’s not good for you to live in the past, but I can be deeply introspective. If I can’t allow myself to pinpoint exactly what went wrong in the past, how am I supposed to move forward? I’ve been thinking a lot about this during the pandemic.
I also want to experience new things after this, or at least attempt that mindset. The first chance I get to do a major overseas trip, I’m on it.
What action steps do you think you can take now?
In order for me to truly let go of some things in my past, I believe I have to do just that: let go. There’s no use beating myself up over some of the decisions I’ve made. The sooner I can do that, the happier I can truly find myself.
As far as the travel, I’m already doing my research. I had an old friend suggest Berlin to me. I think that’s going to be my first stop when I can do it.