To be fair, there are still three full months left of the year, so there’s a pretty good chance I may end up eating my words. I’ve always been a silver lining kind of gal, so I really want to end this year focusing on the positives. For as many negative things that happened this year, there were still so many good things to come out of COVID, things I think (and some that I hope) will continue to affect us for the rest of our lives.
So even though we are still suffering through masks, virtual schooling, and a shortage of disinfectant wipes, let’s cheers to the best things that came from 2020.
- Quality family time: Despite how miserable stay-at-home orders felt for the duration, can we acknowledge that there was some upside to a six-month spring break? I know it wasn’t easy for everyone, but as a working mom, I really enjoyed the extra time I got with my kids and my husband. He and I both switched to being full-time remote workers in April, and we pulled our three-year-old from daycare for a few months. It was NOT easy in any aspect -– lots of hard days and tears -– but since I’ve been a working mom through both of my kids’ infancies, it was really special to get a glimpse into their learning, development and adaptation. And I still enjoy getting to eat lunch with my husband every day.
- Curbside everything: When my seven-year-old daughter was born, I would have given my left pinky to be able to pick up formula by driving into a curbside parking space. Some of that was starting to exist, but most of the time, there was a $50 minimum. But now, whether it’s a retail clothing store, grocery store, or restaurant, nearly every single business has had to adapt to contactless pick up, and it’s glorious.
- Doctor office visits: Can we all agree that waiting in our cars is definitely one of the best things to come out of COVID-19? I have had both a dentist and dermatology appointment during COVID-19, and both times, I got to sit in my car, listen to music, and peacefully read a book while waiting to be called back. I hope this is a trend that continues forever!
- Stomach bug free: Speaking of doctors, I haven’t had any illness except one short-lived cold in all of 2020. (Again, I may eat my words.) I know there is a pandemic affecting thousands of Americans, and I don’t mean this to be insensitive. But because of the pandemic, masks and quarantine, my family has stayed extremely healthy this year. I have no doubt this will bite us in the butt in 2021, but for now, I’m going to count as a positive.
- Community coming together: This isn’t quite as prevalent now that everything has opened back up, but when stay-at-home orders went into effect, the Knoxville community really came together. People were posting on NextDoor offering to get groceries or assist elderly and immunocompromised neighbors. Faithful Yassin’s offered up their dining room as a place to get fresh fruits and veggies. People did drive-by celebrations for the hospital crews, and restaurants started taking care of the frontline workers. Amidst all of the uncertainty and fear, COVID-19 gave us hope too.
- A new way to dine: I thoroughly enjoyed the family meal deals all of the restaurants started to offer (and some still do!). We also coordinated food trucks once a week in our neighborhood to support local businesses and make it easier for families to get dinner. It was awesome to see and catch up with neighbors while waiting for food — safely social distancing around a food truck, of course! And the absolute best thing of all? You can still get to-go margaritas from restaurants.
- Saving money: I won’t say we saved a ton of money but not dining out…let’s just say we kept a lot of restaurants still in business, but we did save on a few months of childcare, no birthday parties for the kids, not as many birthday presents for other kids, and a lot fewer activities. I’m generally a parent that loves to be on the go — the zoo, the trampoline park, bowling, visits to Chuck E. Cheese, etc. Being a working parent, I always feel the need to make the weekends full of activities. The pandemic forced my hand to find more creative ways to spend time with my kids that didn’t involve spending money. We started making forts to have movie nights in. We went geocaching. We took the kids fishing for the first time. We have honestly created so many more great memories this year by doing those things, rather than just going to JumpJam.
- Zoom everything: I’ll be the first to admit that Zoom fatigue is real. I’d love to be back to having in-person events or traveling to conferences. I’d be remiss however, if I didn’t at least mention that Zoom (and other online conferencing sites) has opened up a world of opportunities, literally. I got to attend at least three marketing conferences I wanted to go to that I probably never would have had the chance otherwise. I’ve also been able to arrange speakers for events and conferences that probably would never have traveled to Knoxville. And of course, Zoom has also enabled us to reconnect with family from all over the world.