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Remember the days when words like “quarantine” and “pandemic” weren’t part of our everyday vocabulary? The days when we just needed to remember our phone, wallet, and keys to leave the house instead of a mask and sanitizer? As we get closer to March, we near the year anniversary of the COVID pandemic changing life as we know it. What we wanted to believe was that after two weeks of staying home, the virus would be under control. Clearly, especially in the U.S, this has not been the case. While some countries like New Zealand and Australia are slowly returning to “normal” life, cases in the US are soaring; vaccine rollout is slow and confusing, and we seem to be on an endless, senseless cycle of lockdowns and reopenings without any end in sight. It’s bleak. Homelessness rates are rising, people are or have been laid off en masse, small businesses are closing, schools are online, essential workers are being placed in harm’s way without any bump in pay, and the government is doing a pitiful job of addressing these issues with laughably small stimulus checks. Especially with narrow parameters guiding who receives aid.

I’ve been spending most days missing all the things I used to do. The old chichè “you never know what you have until it’s gone” is once again ringing true. Join me in reminiscing about some of the things we used to do in our free time away from the ever-spinning wheel of work, class, homework, and sleep. Life is meant to be lived, and quarantine has made us rethink what that means. I’m waxing nostalgic, so here are the 6 things I miss the most about life pre-pandemic:

Concerts

I miss driving to LA to wait outside a venue for 8+ hours, sitting on the ground, making friends in line, and feeling the sense of community within the crowd. I miss the feeling and vibe of live music, magical in a way that live streams can’t capture, no matter how many I watch. I miss the energy in the pit, drinking at the bar in between sets, feeling completely invigorated, accepted, home.

Pole Classes
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I was about a year into my pole fitness classes when the pandemic started, and I’m bad at motivating myself to join zoom classes or practice on my own regularly. I miss all the women at the studio and the lovely, encouraging, community atmosphere. I miss the post-workout sore feeling you get for a couple days after an intense class. I miss the celebration and cheering when we accomplish a new trick. I miss feeling strong and fit. 

Zoos and Aquariums
Giraffe
Alaura Dannon

I love going to the San Diego Zoo, Aquarium of the Pacific, and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Wandering from enclosure to enclosure, seeing animals in recreations of their natural habitats and getting to see their personalities is so much fun! 

Movie Theatres

I miss movie theatre popcorn, playing games in the arcade (if you arrive at the theatre early), watching previews,  finishing my candy before the movie starts, and then watching the film you’ve been waiting to see on the huge screen with surround sound.

Ice Skating, Laser Tag, Escape Rooms

This wasn’t a super often night out, but I miss the random date night activities. I miss going to do something fun and a little bit out of the box, and then grabbing dinner with a significant other or friends. 

Restaurants

Curbside pickup, DoorDash, GrubHub, PostMates, etc. are great and all, but I really miss going out to restaurants and sitting down to enjoy a meal. I know outdoor dining is a thing, and some places are even allowing indoor options, but I definitely don’t feel comfortable doing that yet.

Random Shopping Trips

When I was bored, Target and Michael’s used to be my go-to’s. I’d wander the aisles and look at everything in the stores, and I could stay for hours. It was my escape to be lost up in my head without any sense of purpose, just lost in my thoughts and unconstrained by time or thoughts of safety from getting sick. Since March, I’ve been buying a lot of groceries and random items online, and cutting back on my in-person shopping by a massive amount. I make a list, I go in and try to get the items without getting distracted, pay, then leave. No more exploring the store to see what treasures I can find. 

I miss a lot of things that I had made a huge part of my life without realizing it. COVID has made us all rethink our hobbies, our connectivity, and our motivations behind what we do. I miss Emo Nites in LA. Recently,  I joined the discord to connect with that community again. I got into a podcast called Name 3 Songs about women in the music industry, misogyny, and patriarchal systems. The podcast’s discord has given me many new friends to share book and music recommendations with!  I’m trying to focus on what connections to people I have and how virtual connection and events can give some level of the feelings that in-person activities did. I’m hopeful that by next year we can return to some form of normalcy and embrace our old joys with a newfound gratefulness.

Michaela Steele is a senior at ASU Online, studying Mass Communications with a Women&Gender Studies minor. Michaela enjoys writing, going to concerts, and binge watching David Attenborough documentaries. She aspires to work in music PR. She's passionate about intersectional feminism, discussing philosophy, and analyzing media. Feel free to reach her at: [email protected]
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