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FIRST POST IN THREAD
How has the pandemic affected the various areas of your life--work, church, social, family, mental health, physical health, etc? What have been some unexpected blessings? What have been some unexpected hardships? What is one major "normal" thing you're looking forward to once it's available again?
*Note: please, please, please, no politics on this thread, explicit or implied.
END FIRST POST
Unexpected issues: Dealing with aging parents and other relatives who just don’t get it.I’m not sure if it’s the generation or lack of education, but it’s been exhausting to deal with. Also, seeing how terrible social media really is has been eye opening. The divisiveness is a hurdle that I hope can be overcome once this is behind us.
Unexpected blessings: Seeing one of my adult children grow in her faith. Our church really ramped up the zoom offerings which works better for her situation. She’s taken full advantage and has joined everything, which has been both a social and spiritual blessing for her. I also got to know some people at church who attended different services than we do, which has been nice. But, overall, I’m over Zoom!
Looking forward to socializing and traveling the most.
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Like many others the pandemic totally upended many parts of everyday life. Serafina and I went from working in an office to working from home full time. Our church had to shut down services and Connect Groups (Sunday School for all you traditionalists like me. ) for months. As for social life DW and I didn't socialize too much beforehand so it wasn't a big change in that arena.
For family there are a few family members in the local area, all older than we are. We along with them decided that while we would be careful to follow COVID guidelines while in public (and quarantine ourselves if there was a hint of us getting sick) all of us were effectively taking the same risks. Thus we were basically a "household" so we kept meeting regularly.
Mental health definitely suffered during the beginning and middle parts of the pandemic. It was an extra stress on top of several other stressors. My physical health hasn't been the best and I suspect DW and I could both use some more physical activity.
What have been some unexpected blessings?
Two things come to mind. First, the extra stress of the pandemic "broke the camel's back" if you will and helped provide the catalyst for DW to get help for her severe OCD and anxiety. We just couldn't take it anymore. As a result DW got the help she desperately needed for her OCD. I also got a lot better with anger management that I had started counseling for pre-pandemic.
The other is the decision to go ahead and buy a house. Pre-pandemic I had wanted to wait another year to be in an even better financial position but living and working in an apartment 24/7 365 was just about unbearable. We bought a nice house that came on the market at just the right time. DW loves it here. Additionally living here and the medical treatment she is receiving has caused her OCD symptoms to be dramatically reduced. The illness had taken so much from her. I can't tell you how good it feels to see my wife "live" again.
What have been some unexpected hardships?
Not engaging with people. I have social anxiety and sometimes interactions make me anxious. However, we have discovered I am also an extrovert (God has a sense of humor). While it has been pleasant to not have to get dressed for work/church and drive to the office I miss interactions with co-workers and friends. Fortunately with the pandemic easing up, vaccines coming out, and us getting the house there have been more opportunities the last few months for those kinds of interactions.
What is one major "normal" thing you're looking forward to once it's available again?
I am definitely looking forward to ditching the masks and not feeling guilty about going back to the store if I forgot something (because that means I am increasing my risk of exposure).
We did okay through the summer. Plenty to do outside, and good company from the others on the land.
But then we got winter, which is always limiting, and the combination has been rough. I can't share how I feel without getting moderated, so suffice it to say I'd, really, really, really have not enjoyed it. And I'm glad it's looking like we may return to semi-normal in the next few months.
We've really missed church. Last summer we did drive-in church, but come cold weather we were left out because our internet doesn't allow us to stream. I've recorded some of the sermons overnight, but it's not the same thing. They have started to meet in person again, but since I've at high risk and half our congregation sees a mask as the mark of the beast, we've not gone.
I also miss eating out. I miss it a lot. Last summer when cases were very low in our rural county we did a local place at low traffic times, but it's been over half a year now. Sitting in the parking lot eating is just not the same thing!
We have one set of friends who had Covid, so we've spent time with them. That has helped, but it's not enough.
Fortunately, our weather broke early this year. We sat outside for the first time today, and we will be working in the yard in a few days. That sure helps a lot. And we both got our first vaccine dose, so that will help too.
Enjoy it for us!
What has changed?
1. Having had to adjust to is the wearing of a mask most places.
2. Learning a newer version of ProPresenter for church. We added live stream services to our in person services. We still have 2 Sunday services and the various youth groups. Limited on the numbers that can come because of the switch from cloth chairs to plastic chairs so we can wipe them down between services. The live stream is a blessing for the church as we are able to reach out to more people in a larger reagion. ALso being one of the few Bible teaching churches in the area has been a draw of people whose churches still have not reopened even with the limits of 50%. We will have 3 services for Easter and will be opening up other areas of our campus for overflow as we are still limited in the numbers in the main santuary.
3. I have learned a lot about my fellow Christians - good and bad.
4. Because of government rules we had to cut short our home-school arts and choir co-op and we could not get it going this year.
5. Trying to find places for groups to meet where masks are optional and we can exceed the governmental requested people limits.
What did not change?
I had to only work from home for 1.5 months - Mid March 2020 to first of May 2020 but had to return to the office. I did have two weeks of unpaid vacation (furloughs for some). I work in a field that is considered critical. Before the plandemic started ramping up and the drum beats to shut down grew to a fever pitch, my family took a week vacation to Florida. Later in the summer we took our normal week long camping trip. first half in the UP of Michigan and the second half with other home-schoolers in Green Lake area. Our son's soccer team had a somewhat normal season against other home school teams and they did quite well. They did get to finish out their big end of the year tournament in 2020 as in 2019 the weather forced a one day cancellation - a sign of what was going to happen in 2020.
All 5 of us in our house got "Covid" in early December 2020 and did the obligatory 13-14 day lock down (4 of the 5 had gotten tested and were positive). Fortunately we were prepared because of living where the winters get bad and you might be stuck in your house for a few days to a week not being able to get to a store. This made us more determined to be prepped more. But as the majority of people our "Covid" was not severe - none of us had to go to the ICU, none of us died, and the one person in our family with the worst health issues had the least symptoms. For me it was like a bad sinus infection and others had various symptoms. The only one with a high fever was my wife the rest had mild fevers and more chills. Almost like we all had a a cold or the flu at the same time.
One great thing is I am finding more like minded people in our church and our county.
What is one major "normal" thing you're looking forward to once it's available again?
Definitely not having to wear masks. When we go to a restaurant we can actually eat in the restaurant instead of our car or find a place in the park. One thing is that people will not be afraid of each other as they walk past each other, right now people will cross the street to avoid any form of contact.
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@Paul - Yes...or a lack of faith...or brain-washing...or...or...or. It has been so divisive and crazy. We're struggling with our Easter services, having to take RSVP's for safety, taking shots from both sides for limiting seating with distancing, providing both a mask encouraged service and another mask required one. We're not doing enough...we're doing too much. Who decided the times? Why aren't we earlier? Who'll will make the bigger stink if they don't get their preferred time slot? It's not a sin or salvation issue and yet some people are acting selfishly and without grace on both sides of the issue! We always been asking the questions, who are we serving? What is our witness to the community we serve? Are the ministries and pace sustainable not only for our staff but for our volunteers week in and out?
@SLS - glad to hear 2020 provided some catalyst and opportunity for change, healing and personal growth. YEAH!!! It's a matter of perspective and choice! Some grew...some didn't.
Thank you and God bless all those in ministry. I’ve found that those who complain the loudest are the least likely to lend a hand or volunteer in any capacity. And it’s not just during a pandemic!newwifenewlife wrote: ↑Thu Mar 18, 2021 8:52 am We're struggling with our Easter services, having to take RSVP's for safety, taking shots from both sides for limiting seating with distancing, providing both a mask encouraged service and another mask required one. We're not doing enough...we're doing too much. Who decided the times? Why aren't we earlier? Who'll will make the bigger stink if they don't get their preferred time slot?
I can’t even imagine what retail workers have had to endure this past year. No one is paid enough to deal with entitled patrons who think the rules don’t apply to them.
Pandemic-land has been a doozy. I am incredibly fortunate to have been able to part-time telework while in-office population limits fluctuated, and I'm hoping for at least some telework opportunity post-pandemic when the kids go back to school. I'm looking forward to lunch dates with Wifey! I've gotten much more sleep in exchange for the travel time to/from work. I'm not looking forward to early mornings 5 days a week again!
One of Wifey's uncles died from COVID, and another nearly so. Her dad has the most medical issues out of his siblings, so we have been cautious. My in-laws moved to be close to us in 2019 and were just starting to meet new people when the lockdown happened. After a month or so of distancing, we decided that it was better for our collective mental health to have them in our bubble at the cost of excluding others. The kids have been virtual schooling the entire year, I went into work on Saturdays when no one else was there, and we've been selective on who we interact with and only in outdoor gatherings. That's harder to do when it's cold, looking forward to summer again!
Vaccine rollout has been pretty good in our state and our last first shots are already scheduled. No bad reactions, just sore arms for a day or so. Drink lots of water!
The church front has been hard. Long story short, we have been watching other churches online to see where we may want to go once we go back to in-person meetings. COVID isn't the main reason we're looking, but was just the final straw in a long line of hurts and frustrations. Doctrinally they're great, organizationally they're a mess. @NWNL, I commend you for working hard to ensure a safe place for high-risk families. There's a special crown in Heaven waiting for you!
Having a lot more time at home has been awesome. We've taken up reading chapter books aloud to the kids, which has been a really nice alternative to watching tv. We're going to start Chronicles of Narnia next, and I want to read LOTR with them. We're raising extremely nerdy children and I love it!
Being home more with Wifey has been good too. The opportunity for communication has been great and we've found creative ways to do date nights at home. I've been able to be more attentive to improvements in Wifey's mental health that have been a welcome and exciting blessing! Praise God! Global pandemics are not good for people with clinical anxiety, so it's been a bit of a roller coaster.
The hardest thing has been seeing the most aggressive unloving behavior from proclaimed Christians. It's been way more isolating and lonely within our community of Christian friends than elsewhere.
Relatedly, we became aware of how many of our relationships were one-sided. Once we weren't the ones always reaching out, several relationships just fell away. On the plus side, those we've stayed connected to have grown deeper and we're looking forward to getting together more soon!
Our first big family vacation was delayed several times, but it's all finalized and we're counting down! We're also looking forward to hosting people in our home again.
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No close family member deaths, but some among close acquaintances.
I telework as well, haven't been to an office in now over a year. That has worked well, because even when we were in formal offices, being a global company, so much if it was telework anyway due to the desperate team locations, except I had to commute a long drive to an office to do it. I don't miss the commute.
We did take a vacation to the beach, so that was nice. Well... she is a beach person, I took her and teleworked from the condo - perfectly fine for me; great view while doing a Zoom meeting.
Gyms shut down for a while, but they are now re-open - attendance isn't what it was, so they aren't crowded. Classes are limited, so that isn't as intense as pre-Covid.
Because it happened before Covid was Covid, (early Jan 2020) I think I had the Covid. Reviewed all my symptoms several times with a MD friend, and if it wasn't Covid, I don't ever want whatever it was again. I was anti-body tested, but the time to test had lapsed too much.
And, amen to all the mask wearing stuff. I am a technical person and deal in technology where I understand the science (or lack thereof) behind all that so I have some deep feelings about the efficacy of mask wearing that would get me in real trouble here if I stated them. Maybe I'll live long enough to see life get back to normal.
But, I'd have to say, that, all in all, Covid is the best thing that has ever happened to our marriage.
DW and I were chatting on the way to church recently and the subject was how much deeper our friendship is out of all this. Sure, we've been married over 45 years. So, sure we were friends. Sure, we have been MB partners, and that's been a good MB. Sure, we've been parenting partners, grand parenting partners, church participation partners, etc., and all of that, and had an overall good marriage, a low drama one - one that if I didn't have, but saw that someone else did, I would want. I am a blessed man.
But, it is so much deeper than it ever was, and we sense it; we know it. Being home, even though the majority of my workday is occupied in an office room, still during breaks, meals, slack time, etc., we are around each other constantly. No more leaving for a six AM commute, arriving home after seven PM, and after a late dinner, falling in bed dog tired after getting everything arranged to do it all over again the next day - imagine trying to fit the odd MB into all that.
Speaking of the MB, it has had a quantum leap effect on our MB.
I've posted on this board on threads already about our frequency, and its affect on my PE and overcoming that and taking me - no, us - to levels we never knew were possible. There is a fairly current thread on frequency that I will post that on again soon, so not here. But the bottom line is that quite, quite often, in those time frames when I would have been commuting one way or the other, we are enjoying each other's company. It has taken our relationship to levels we never knew possible, and never would have found I guess, unless or until I retired. (We ask ourselves, do all old people carry on like this? We have never been old before, so we don't know.... We also ask ourselves, what if the kids knew, what would they think???)
Now, nothing like being in the middle of a Zoom meeting (I deliberately have no camera on my computer) and having her pop in nude and flash me. That just didn't happen when I was at the real office, naturally. Thank you Covid.
So, count me as feeling very blessed out of all this tribulation.