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Mental Health

5 Things I Wish I Appreciated More Pre-Pandemic

It’s been exactly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. While the past year has been filled with challenges, I’ve learned so many important lessons that have helped me grow as a person. However, even though it’s important to stay positive during these hard times, it’s also okay to reflect back on happier times. I really do miss life before the pandemic, and every once in a while I like to acknowledge these feelings. Specifically, I wish that I was more appreciative of the little things that I took for granted in my life pre-COVID. From simple daily activities to larger celebrations, I miss so many different things that used to be routine for me.

Traveling

Traveling has always been such an important part of my personal identity and lifestyle. Since I was only one year old, I loved to fly on airplanes and explore new countries. Pre-pandemic I would always look forward to large family vacations during my summer and winter school vacations. However, now looking back on those times, I wish I appreciated the smaller trips as well. While I loved these long trips, I never really thought much about our smaller road-trips and mini getaways. Now after one year of staying at home and barely being able to leave my house, I really learned to appreciate any form of traveling at all, whether it be near or far.

Going Out To Eat 

Another activity I really miss is just going out for a meal. I never realized how meaningful these memories would be, but now looking back at it, I miss just being able to grab lunch or dinner with friends and family. Since I am an avid foodie, I love trying new restaurants and cuisines, and not being able to do this activity anymore was definitely a struggle to get used to initially. However, looking at the bright side, the pandemic has really forced me to start cooking more. Pre-pandemic, I strongly disliked cooking or baking of any kind. However, I now find cooking relaxing and I enjoy learning new simple recipes once in a while.

People

I also really miss the simple things, like physical touch and being able to surround myself with people. I’ve always considered myself to be pretty extroverted, and I love to be around other people. Whether it be at the mall, amusement park or a concert; I always feel energized after being around and socializing with a large group of people. However, being in the pandemic has significantly limited my in-person interactions which has been a huge struggle for me. But at the same time, this situation has forced me to get out of my comfort zone by trying to socialize and reach out to other people over Zoom and other online platforms, which has definitely been an interesting experience.

Health

Another simple thing that I took for granted was just being able to feel safe and healthy all the time. Pre-pandemic, I never had to worry about not washing my hands enough or I was never paranoid about hygiene/safety protocols. But now with the pandemic, for the limited times that I am in public, I always am extremely cautious about what I touch and what I expose myself to. However, this could also be a positive thing since, at the end of the day, I am putting in more effort to keep myself healthy and safe.

In-Person School

Lastly, I never really thought I would be saying this, but I genuinely miss going to school. Because of the pandemic, I’ve missed out on so many milestones such as my high school prom, high school graduation, and first day of college. I always thought that these days would end up being really important memories that I would carry with me throughout my life. While I was initially very shocked, angry and sad that these events were just taken away from me, I realize now that there isn’t anything I can do about it. All I can do is just make the best of the online experience for now and when things get back to normal, I will cherish the in-person school experience even more.

While it really is unfortunate that I’ve missed out on so many different events and experiences because of COVID, I think that I’ve overall become a more grateful person. I’m trying my best to stay positive during these times and I know for sure that when things return to normal, I’ll be even more appreciative of these experiences that I miss so much.

Anya is a first-year economics major at UCLA and is a feature-writer for Her Campus. When she's not writing, she loves to scuba dive, go makeup shopping, and indulge in black sesame ice cream. She's obsessed with Disney movies and will 100% cry when watching Finding Nemo.
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