Like everyone else, I’m reflecting on the last year. No one really knew what was going on, except that things were getting worse. We were officially in a pandemic, who would’ve thought that would happen during our lifetimes. At school, we kept wondering what was going to happen. Parents started keeping their kids home, and we prepared for an extended spring break-take home some extra books and a review packet and we’ll see you in April. Of course that never happened.

Meanwhile, I was 33 weeks pregnant. My doctor appointments started happening weekly, and I asked at each visit, “what are the current rules at the hospital?”. My biggest anxiety outside of staying safe was making sure my husband could be with me when I gave birth.

We hunkered down inside. We built a couple Legos, cleaned rooms in our condo, started cooking more often. Waiting to know when this was going to end. We ordered a carseat, stroller, and other baby essentials earlier than expected, afraid stores were going to close and items were going to be out of stock. I carefully went to the grocery store at 6am with the Seniors and people with autoimmune illnesses to reduce the crowds. I virtually taught about 6 weeks before going on Maternity Leave. Leggings and athleisure became my new wardrobe.

There were no visitors after we came home from the hospital. There were lots of FaceTime calls to introduce our daughter to friends and families. There were lots of walks and park parties getting together with family and friends so we could be with others and be outside. Time went on and we kept waiting for an end.

Here we are a year later, still waiting, but there’s hope in sight. I’ve gotten my first vaccine and some of our friends and family are fully vaccinated or in the process. The weather is getting warmer again, so we can start being outside again. There’s hope that more activities and places will open up soon. I did not plan to spend the last month of my pregnancy nor being with a newborn in quarantine, let alone starting to plan a first birthday party.

But not everything has been negative. What started as a virtual game night for something to do with my husband’s college friends turned in to a weekly Zoom get together. I’ve taken a lot more walks with the dogs or stroller to get outside than I may have if we weren’t otherwise stuck inside. While it would be nice to do classes in person, there is definitely a benefit that I can grab my daughter after a nap, sign on to Zoom, and be right on time. Or put her down for a nap and continue my workout or group conversation. Curbside pickup for groceries and dinner has been super convenient so I don’t have to carry the heavy carseat inside.

While Listening to Gretchen Rubin’s latest podcast episode, she brought up the question, “What valuable lessons have we learned from the pandemic?” This is something I’ve been pondering as well as “What do we want to stay?” We’ve made many lifestyle changes to keep us and others safe the past year, but not all have been negative. What have we learned and what positives should stay as we return to another new normal.

Would love to hear your thoughts!