I was reading an article about how people who live through something stressful or traumatic may change their lifestyles, decisions, and behavior for decades afterwards. Made me think of how my grandparents who lived through the (First) Great Depression in the 1930s were still very careful with money and never wasted any food, even in the 1980s and 1990s. For me this is finally making it sink in, that when people say “new normal” they may mean a very long-term new normal; a years-long, possibly decades-long, new normal.
Which of your lifestyle changes and habits that you changed as a result of the pandemic, do you think will become either permanent or take many years to revert back to what it was before?
A few of mine… These are heavily influenced by the theory that the next pandemic could be something even worse. These are changes I’ve made to deal with the possibility of future pandemics, not just the current one.
Movie Theaters. Right now I can’t imagine ever going into another one. Even if there’s a vaccine I’ll probably go a lot less than I ever did before.
Amusement Parks, Disneyland, etc. Ditto. Hard to imagine going to one again.
Air Travel. I could see being unwilling to fly again for pleasure or business for at least 5 to 10 years, maybe permanently. Definitely don’t think I’ll be so quick to jump on a plane and take off to some foreign country, like I used to do on a fairly regular basis, purely for fun and excitement.
Working from Home. Likely permanent for me.
Less Sedentary. With my 25-foot commute done on foot, I’m saving over 21,000 minutes a year of sitting in traffic. (360 hours, 15 full days, or 45 eight-hour workdays). I’ve added an exercise routine to the time slot where my commute used to be.
Online Shopping by Default. I used to make lists to take to the store. Now I spend hours trying to find ways to avoid setting foot into any store. And when it’s not possible to get it online, we often just do without it.
Hand Washing. I think that I, and a lot of people, are going to be somewhat obsessive about washing our hands before we touch our faces or eat anything. Last year I could have happily spent an hour touching stuff at a grocery store, and then had lunch without washing my hands. Literally, never again.