The end is nigh. We hope. Unfortunately, we’re still not in a post-pandemic world. The quarantine, however, did help people in some ways that they weren’t expecting. Working from home, spending time with family, and getting perspective on your real friendships are just a few. Honestly, for me, it was a tough first two months. Then, what was important to me came into focus. By that I mean, what shows I really wanted to finish before I die. I’d really like to finish Justified. Sadly, I’ll probably waste more time “reading” and “listening to my loved ones when they speak.” One day, though, I’ll accomplish all the things I set out to accomplish during the COVID year.
One person on Reddit asked a question that seems hard to answer: “Was there ever a time you were thankful the pandemic happened?” It’s hard not to feel guilty for thriving when millions of people died from an awful disease. Not every place is the same, though. Not everyone had the same reaction to the news that the nicest thing they could do for their neighbor was staying home for a while.
One day, we’ll all look back on this past year, and we’ll laugh and cry and wish we’d done better. But, for now, let’s look at the silver lining of a year spent dealing with a catastrophe, and see what we can learn.
Here are the best responses to the question: “Was there ever a time you were thankful the pandemic happened?”:
1. Time off.
“First child born right at the beginning of it. Being off from work with benefits for months longer than expected gave me so much more time with my child and wife than I ever would have had. Time spent like that is impossible to replicate later.” –deathbydeepfriedmilk
2. Time well spent.
“It allowed me to spend more time with my brother during his last months before he died of cancer. Time I otherwise would’ve spent working.” –StarvingWriter33
3. A big move.
“Was given the opportunity to keep my job, work from home, and move out of state. The only thing keeping me in my home state was my job (great pay, insane benefits, etc.). So when they told me I could get out of dodge, and keep my spot with the company, I didn’t even need to consider.” –lineman77
4. The daily chat with Mom.
“My mom is 85 and in assisted living in a city 250 miles away. During lockdown I started calling her every day at 11am, and we became closer than we have ever been. She became a close friend. That is quite a gift.
She’s become a lot more confused lately and is slipping into dementia now. I’m sorry her last coherent year had to be during Covid locked down, but I am so glad we had our daily chats. We still do, but she is fading now. Love you, Mom.” –Oryx
5. The open road.
“Did you not see the freeways under lockdown? I will never not miss how light that traffic was.” –ThyShirtIsBlue
6. Going through it.
“Ok, without going into too much the week lockdown happened my ex moved out. It was a bad relationship but I was in denial. So now I was locked inside, with a lot of big feelings and no where to go. It forced me to confront myself, a lot of my own mental issues and a lot of my own trauma. I hated it, resisted it and fought it. Eventually, though I learned to work on myself slowly, and I don’t think that would have happened without lockdown.” –SnooDonuts8606
7. Finally dealing with it.
“Yes. It made me slow down and re-evaluate what I was doing with my life. I cut out people who were dragging me down, and reconnected with old friends through group zoom calls. Changed jobs. Started taking care of my body and lost 30 lbs. Found a new hobby.
I do wish I made these changes years ago, instead of waiting for a global health crisis to kick my butt into gear.” –elfarmy
8. Even teachers loved it.
“Fucking absolutely! I am an English teacher and I have maybe 2-4 classes throughout the day. Before, I would have to travel to and from each class and maybe go home in between if there was time. I live in Bogota and it’s a big city with no metro and the traffic sucks donkey balls.
Now, all my classes are online. I’ve saved between 3 and 6 hours of travel time EACH DAY!” –NevetsSnibbig
9. Students changed majors.
“It gave me some time to think a lot about myself and where I was going, and I realised I was taking the wrong subject/trying to set myself up for a career I didn’t want.” –
10. Adults switched medications.
“I’m 25 and just got diagnosed with ADHD and – WOW – the difference between myself pre and post-diagnosis/medication is huge” –bobjarkings
11. Dogs had a good time with their best friends.
“It gave me a whole year to spend every day with my senior pup before he crossed the rainbow bridge.” –SheBeOkay
12. Deadbeats were put on notice.
“It made me realise how bad my relationship was. I hate comparing situations, everyone struggles differently but he didn’t talk to me for the first six weeks of the lockdown because his stress was worse than mine. He was at his mums with his brother, having her cook and clean and basically do everything for him while he played games all day. Meanwhile I had just moved in my own flat, had no bed and very little furniture, no internet and I was struggling to get hold of groceries but despite all that he had it worse. I realised that I needed to look after myself.” –ValenciaHadley
13. Masks had a dual purpose.
“Got braces but wore a mask 😷 and now I’m comfortable with my braces.” –BigBruhter6281
14. Win some, lose some.
“Yes. 1. I got to know my daughter better. We are closer than ever. 2. I got to know my spouse better. He moved out.” –eddiethreegates
15. Another happy dog.
“My 14 year old dog tore her CCL the week before everything shut down. The vet said she wasn’t a good candidate for surgery because of the risks associated with her age, we didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t put any weight on it at all.
A few days later I lost my job and was staying home all day. I spent a few days researching everything I could about dogs and ligaments, then I got to work.
I designed a whole physical therapy routine for my dog and set the plan in motion. And it worked! Within two months she was able to walk normally without a limp. Within 4 months she was able to move around like she’d never been injured in the first place.
I never would’ve been able to put in all the time with the physical therapy if I hadn’t lost my job, so I can’t help but feel a bit thankful. My dog is still around, happy and healthy. She just stole my sock and ran off into the yard. I love that troublemaker.” –MrBigTimeJim
16. Pretty big development.
“mRNA tech got fast tracked and might help cure cancer.” –eldrichride
17. Debt-free, baby!
“Stimmy checks cleared my CC debt.” –DanielagainDaniel
“Because of the pandemic, Australia’s top art universities in big cities had a huge decrease in international students, and hundreds of apartment complexes were empty and desperate. Its safe to say there wasnt a lot of competition. This means a lot to me since I lived in a very small, barely populated town and I would likely go unnoticed or prioritized less over international students. I had the opportunity to go to my dream uni and get a steal of an apartment lease with my partner.
Though sometimes I feel like I’m undeserving and feel ashamed of ever taking advantage of the borders being closed.” –melonmelon__
19. Things worked out.
“I proposed to my girlfriend on March 20th. She said yes. Lockdown happened the following day, so she moved in with me into a small 2 bedroom apartment.
That Wednesday, I got laid off from a job I desperately wanted to quit. Since I got laid off (and didn’t quit) I got enhanced unemployment, which basically meant I got a raise. A couple months later, we got married. Due to Covid regulations, we could only have 10 people at the wedding, which kept the guest list small for a very good reason that everyone understood, and kept our wedding expenses very low. Getting married allowed me to get on my wife’s insurance, which was much less expensive than getting it on my own.
A little over a month later, I started a job related to pandemic response, which paid very well. I made more during the 2nd half of 2020 than in all of 2019. This income allowed me to save up enough to put a decent downpayment on a house, with historically low interest rates. In December, I got another, more stable, job, which required me to work from home. This job pays about the same as the one I had before the pandemic, and it’s for a much better company with many more opportunities for advancement.
TL;DR: Before: single, renting, in debt. After: married, homeowner, with comfortable nest egg.” –MrDStroyer
h/t Reddit: r/AskReddit