Can you believe it has only been a year when it feels like an eternity?
Remember February 2020? You were on the run – chasing the next train ride or a looming deadline or a late date night. That era is a hustle and bustle of different activities. You work until the wee hours. You travel to see a concert. You try the next trendy restaurant. You go to the movies and attend a lot of parties.
Your life is completely different now. You are confined by the limitations of the virus. No eating out. Only take-outs. No grand celebrations. Only improvised party decorations. No beach getaways. Only backyard kiddie pools.
If someone told you this would happen, you would laugh and tell them the story could pass off as a remarkable dystopian plot. Here you are, a character to a real-life dystopian tale.
Who would have thought that only a year had passed? With a lot happening now, your life before this worldwide phenomenon is far-fetched. It is as if everything happened an eternity ago.
The memory could have been foggy but the longing for that carefree life is strong. The hole is never filled up until the situation goes back to the way you are used to.
The grave situation taught you to be grateful for the things you might have dubbed as ordinary and mundane in the past.
But in some circumstances, you can’t help but yearn for the lost moments of the pre-pandemic era. Your mind is filled with those recollections of stories you wish to go back to.
- Drowned out cafe conversations.
You rushed out of the office to go to the nearby cafe you frequent. You took your favorite spot. Thankfully it was empty. As you made your way to the counter, the barista greeted you by name. You recited your order, the one you knew by heart.
With your usual drink and a bonus food at hand, you went back to your seat. There were conversations around you and drowned them out.
Sometimes you can’t help but focus on a few of them. Most stories are usual and forgettable. A few are controversial, something you wish to unhear.
The cafe was full of people when the night was drawing near. But it was a crowd you did not mind. You barely knew anyone. You can do whatever you want without a set of critical eyes judging you. That cafe was an escape from the real world.
See also: Prologue: How is Life for a 25-Year-Old Before the Pandemic?
Now, you are used to the deafening silence of your home office. It was all the click of the mouse and the clank of the keyboard. No more conversations and boisterous laughter in the cafe.
- The taste of the food you only get to eat somewhere else.
Do you miss the delectable food experience you had pre-pandemic?
Do you crave the sweet goodness of the Conti’s Mango Bravo cake or the smoky smell that lingers in the clothes after your Samgyupsal extravaganza?
How about the experience of waiting in line for a Coco milktea? Maybe you were nostalgic of the turon of your office canteen.
You could also be yearning for the food you encountered during your travels. You were thinking of the delicate softness of Baguio Country Club’s carrot bread. Or you were missing the crispy bite of Ilocos’s bagnet. You were also counting the days when you could get a hold of the mango sticky rice of Thailand.
These are the cravings that might not be satisfied in the near future. By the time you have them again, you will savor every bite (or sip) of it.
- Meeting people.
Before, you looked forward to book club meetings on weekends. Yoga classes after work. Seminars that were out of town. Christmas parties every December. Random coffee dates with friends.
You went to these events and functions without considering social distancing and other health protocols. You were elbow to elbow with strangers during concerts. You pigged out at buffet restaurants. You were in the same room with 10+ people, all cramped up in a tiny dining area sharing food and stories.
With the virus looming over your head, you do everything online. You content yourself meeting yoga classmates online. You chat with friends on Messenger with the occasional video calls. You set meetings on Zoom. The Internet gets the job done but it is not the same experience. You are a human being after all longing for personal connectivity and interaction.
- Being bare-faced in public
You have an arsenal of lipsticks in different hues but with the directive of wearing a mask, these ravishing lip products started to collect dust in your vanity. Every time you look at it, you wish for the time when you can wear and boast their beauty again.
The freedom to go out without a mask and a shield is a distant memory. Today putting on a mask and shield is as automatic as breathing.
Now the number of COVID-19 positive cases is at an all-time high. The medical frontliners are on the verge of exhaustion.
Our situation is as grave as when it started. Our lives wouldn’t resume the way we were used to anytime soon. That is why staying at home, following health mandates, and reminiscing for the past is all we can do.