On March 17, 2020, I left my office on orders for all staff to start working from home. Because I worked mainly in business development, I already had a laptop and was basically accustomed to a roaming office since I traveled substantially for work. The same was true for my team. All I needed for work was my phone, a light, durable computer, and reliable WiFi to work from anywhere. I was also accustomed to working double-shift as often I would be at a conference and connect with colleagues with a 6-12 hours time difference. So, I was ready for remote work since I had done it already. Yet, there were many new life lessons from the global pandemic we now take for granted.
A Series Of Pandemic Projects
We learned that we indeed have multiple skills in us. Now home more than we are outside, many of us decided to engage in projects we have been yearning to do but have never slowed life long enough to complete. We spend more time at home, too, so we noticed little things – that room where we have always hated the color but never had time to paint it, fixing the roof with the leak in the chimney, the bookshelf that just needed to be sanded, and varnished, and upholstering that old coach we love so much. I discovered various ‘white’ paints in my quest to paint a room. I developed a headache from indecisiveness. We decided on pure white.
One of my friends remodeled her entire kitchen. She would find insomnia-induced projects at 2:00 AM, like removing her kitchen cupboard doors, painting chairs, making beds for her kids out of wooden pallets, and even tiling. As a result of a yeast shortage, since everyone suddenly took up baking their bread, my daughter took up baking with homemade yeast. She named it and kept referring to it as ‘she.’ She mastered artisanal loaf making, which we enjoyed until she left for her new job. It’s still in the fridge – sleeping, I guess. I focused on cooking as gourmet as possible in a Master-Chef type scenario of making a great meal with whatever was available in the pantry. The intellectual challenge was always invigorating.
The New Skills We Acquire During Covid Lockdown
New life lessons from the global pandemic also included new skills. I have friends who went back to study for a degree, or MBA, while others learned new computer programs. My work got more intense in my industry as subsectors wrestled with how to survive past the pandemic. During weekends, I launched this website and stepped up my social media engagement to connect with the outside world. Many of my family members focus on their home business, including artisanal soap made by Nodaj’s Touch.
One of the primary skills many of my friends and family valued was learning to manage their finances better. With the job market fickle in a pandemic economy, people started focusing on saving and determining what’s essential to spend on. Since we were cooking more at home, we ate out less and spent less time in restaurants, clubs, and the nightlife – at least some of us, as other forms of entertainment, adjusted to COVID. Some folks with two or more cars in storage put the unused vehicles in storage and reduced their insurance payments. Others sold their vehicles, and their jobs went totally virtual. We held conferences online and participated in many meetings on video platforms. You may have already heard of Zoom fatigue.
What’s Next To Learn
As much as we relish that life will return to normal, we intrinsically know that normal will not mean life as it was in 2019 and before. Many people have lost jobs and failed businesses, including half of the black businesses, due to COVID. We all have suffered somehow, and this episode of our lives is not over. As I mentioned in other posts, I miss travel the most and crave being in another country and culture, absorbing the people’s rich foods and characteristics. Hopefully, the availability of vaccines may help me and my crew get back to our travels.
Entertaining people at our home is reduced. Some people already opt for smaller spaces or spaces geared to their needs rather than as a showpiece for guests. A home party that does not follow COVID-19 etiquette could cause someone to suffer or even die. We will have to continue to have these precautions for social gatherings. Yet, I think we know what’s more valuable to us. We choose people most often, especially family and authentic friends. That’s probably one of our most important life lessons during this global pandemic.