Many people wrote about how they have changed their lives, particularly since the restriction were removed. The people who have been affected by the pandemic are astonished at how much they can live with it. left the city in droves left their long-term relationships• And, in locations such as the US that are taken part the great resignation.
What about smaller, more subtle changes? What about those of us, and there must be many of us, who are fundamentally altered by the events of the past few years but haven’t moved to the beach or left our partner or quit our job? Every person, no matter how minor, must experience some form of change.
I run in very ambitious circles and last year it was noticeable how many of my striving friends gradually … stopped striving. They did less work, declined opportunities and generally slow down.
Many people realize that their lives are more than just work. However, I was already radicalized by my first maternity leaves. It was 2017 when I discovered how to pass the time in a pleasant way and how much meaning there was in a life spent hanging out with the people you love (and by that I mean my friends and my husband and my sisters and my brother – not the baby, he was a nightmare). While I loved my job, it wasn’t what defined me.
My life has become simpler.
This happened slowly, without me realizing, but after enduring the pandemic that struck while I was pregnant, all of the trauma and then the extended lockdown I had with my one-year and three year-old, it has changed who I am. At the end of last year I didn’t feel different in any positive way, I just felt like all my emotions were extremely close to the surface and perhaps I was teetering on the edge of a breakdown – but I did not have time for that!!
Then in 2022, after I’d had some sleep, some swims in the ocean and most importantly some evenings away from my kids, the changes began to manifest.
At 21 years old, I had my first tattoo. In just six short months, I’ve gotten three more tattoos in 13 years. One was a spur of the moment ode to my husband – “Matty Q” – on the inside of my arm. I revealed it with glee proclaiming “Psycho wife!!”. It inspired two other women to follow my lead. Well, similar. Instead of Matty Q they got their own partner’s name, even though Matty Q would’ve been infinitely funnier.
After getting my usual haircut, I decided that I wanted a fringe. “Are you sure?” the hairdresser asked nervously four times, and I was. Was there anything worse that could happen? You would see it grow.
My friends began throwing theme parties. My 18th, 21st, and 30th birthdays were family events. There were occasional dinners and parties at other times, but my 34th was a party I held with friends.
For my friend’s 35th birthday we were “young, rich and tasteless”. For another friend’s 32nd we were “celestial thotties” in an entire bar booked out for the event. Every month, we were wearing different costumes for birthday parties at insignificant ages. Sometimes twice each month.
This week, I was at the costume shop for an X-Files-themed birthday party and casually inquired if there had been an increase in costumes.
“Oh my god,” the woman said. “It’s been like Halloween every weekend for months. It is crazy how many people are getting dressed up.”
I have another friend who refuses to do anything on a Sunday now because she realised she wanted more “slow” time to decompress and a full diary was not what made her happy. Another stopped saving so much money and moved into a fabulous apartment, saying “Yolo” instead of staying sensible.
The majority of my friends took Covid serious. The rules were followed, even when they made us feel deprived, isolated, or simply thought some things unfair. We believe (and continue to believe) in protecting those most at risk and the social contract. Some of us were most vulnerable.
With the restrictions easing, we were able to walk the fine line between being socially responsible and living in a different reality. Our #hotgirlsummer post-vaccination was rained out and freaked out by the emergence of Omicron but as 2022 has progressed, as we’ve got our third and fourth vaccinations, as we’ve caught Covid, we’ve also let more joy in.
We’ve loosened up. Been spontaneous. As curated playlists were played, I filled the dancefloor and sang along to Blink-182 for first time since our 17th birthday. A group of friends and me even spent real money on tickets to Oasis’ cover band. The next day, we woke up hoarse after singing along. I meant SOME friends.
I’ve also gone easier on myself on our home days. Matty Q or I don’t mind if our boys watch the same movie three times. Matty Q and I take advantage of the downtime to watch movies with our sons, or lay on the couch. We don’t worry about how much time they are watching. Apart from the fact that I am convinced they are losing IQ points because of Larva, which is deranged.
After all, we’ve all had a hard time.