The last 30 days of quarantine have been interesting to say the least. Making the adjustment to working from home. All in-person meetings moved to virtual. No evening meetings or events. Barely driving my car. Walking the neighborhood more. Seeing people that I’ve never seen before walk through our neighborhood. Lots of family time, but no hugging or handshakes when you encounter friends. Standing six feet apart to have conversations. Cooking more. No dining in, always carry-out or drive-through. Virtual school. Someone coughs or sneezes in close proximity and people give them dirty looks. Life as we know it has changed during COVID-19. Of course, the big question on everyone’s mind is, “What will life after quarantine be like?”

Even though people don’t like being forced into anything, the massive push on the brakes gave people no choice but to slow down.

I’ve had friends tell me that it’s been a mixed blessing. Trying to work, school, parent and care for others with no support from other family members or friends has been challenging. Yet, the family time has been incredible. They’ve also had time to do many of the things they previously looked at and said, “If I had the time, I would…” 

The chaos that existed around getting children to sports practices, dance or music lessons or any other event was wiped right off the calendar. As a result, many wonder if they will allow themselves to go back to the frenetic pace they kept prior to sheltering in place.

Shockingly, some teens have even said they will never take for granted getting to be face to face with their friends again. And we thought all they really cared about was their screens.

So, what will people keep “intentionally” doing after quarantine is over?

In an informal survey, I asked people how they think their life after quarantine will intentionally be different. Here are some of the things they said:

  • I will appreciate being in people’s presence more and giving and receiving hugs.
  • I believe I will be more compassionate and more eager to remind others of the need for grace, mercy and love.
  • Less kids’ activities, keeping game and campfire nights.
  • A good deal more cautious about public spaces and high-touch surfaces, and probably a bit more stand-off-ish in large groups of people, at least until this has a better and more proven treatment and ultimately a vaccine. But I’m certainly not going to put my life on hold or hole up in my home forever, either.
  • I don’t think people will see me as much anymore. I am enjoying the slower pace, family time and being able to spend time at home. No more running myself crazy to attend a million functions, meetings, etc. Spending more time just living.
  • We run so hard. All the classes. All the social things… it’s been wonderful being at home. Even though the girls are still doing Zoom Girl Scouts/community and social meetings/dance classes, it doesn’t seem their hearts are in it. They get upset when it’s time to separate from the family and go to a class in their room. We’ve all enjoyed this!
  • I will be thankful for many, many freedoms I took for granted.
  • I’ll be cooking more for sure. And I think we’ve all come to realize we don’t need a ton of extra things to do! The girls will definitely come out of this as germaphobes and I will take more precautions socially, too.
  • Probably continue large tipping when we eat out.

Time will tell how different life after quarantine will be, whether it’s because we choose to be intentional or whether it’s because others make changes that affect our normal way of life. One thing is for sure: We’ve all had the opportunity to see, hear and taste what simpler feels like. Many prefer it. But I wonder if we will be strong enough or brave enough to stick to it over time.

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