Throughout my whole life during every tough situation, my mom has always told me to “look on the bright side.”
So here I am, trying to look on the bright side of this awful, stupid year.
Everything was weird in 2020, but I have to admit, there are some things that I would like to see stick after we get back to normal — whatever normal will be.
The pandemic has rattled our everyday lives and changed so much, it’s hard to even think about what normal was.
Throughout the year, I’ve been jotting down random changes to life that I thought “hey, maybe we should keep this.”
Here’s my list.
Online Government Meetings
Suddenly, the pandemic made us realize that all of these school boards and city councils do have the capability to live stream to social media.
Look, it should not be that hard to see what our local government is up to. They work for us, after all.
When there are millions of dollars in taxpayer money at stake, we should be able to watch over our local school boards from the convenience of our living rooms and help make sure they’re not doing anything stupid. Also, live streaming goverment meetings to Facebook helps make these meetings significantly more tolerable, easier to follow, and more entertaining.
Goverment transparency helps all of us. Let’s keep live streaming government meetings to social media in 2021.
I’m an introvert and honestly, crowds have always made me nervous, even before the pandemic. I can’t really think of a circumstance where I would want to be less than six feet from a stranger, ever. A lot of people have a hard time with spacial awareness — I know this because I am hyper-aware and can recall all sorts of scenarios when a stranger got uncomfortably close to me (in the gym, at the beach, at the grocery store, etc.).
I think the pandemic has forced us to recognize spacial awareness more and made more people think “hey, maybe it’s rude to stand within hovering territory of this total stranger, so maybe I’ll step back a little.”
It’s good to spread out. Let’s keep that going.
Work From Home Option
I started working from home in January this year and I have been shocked how much I’ve loved it.
For the first time in my life, I’m getting eight hours of sleep every night. I’m significantly more productive than I ever was in an office. Come to find out, I’m a much happier person working in my pajamas. All of those hours I spent getting ready for work and traveling to an office are now spent on much more productive things.
Anyways, I know some jobs require offices and face-to-face interaction. I also understand that in-person meetings are much better for most business transactions. But I think companies need to start realizing that they don’t have to force workers into the 9-5 office life. If they want their workers happy (look at me, I’m filing a story I didn’t have to write on New Years Eve), they will make working from home an option after the pandemic.
More outdoor dining
We adopted a dog this year, right before the pandemic hit. Luna has kept my spirits alive and brought so much joy and love to our family during some dark times this year. But also, Luna is used to two people working from home all the time.
Because of this two-way attachment situation we have going with our dog, we like to take her with us as much as possible. Our dog has serious separation anxiety.
I know, this probably sounds ridiculous.
We like to take her with us to bars and restaurants when we can. It’s been nice to see a lot of restaurants get creative and make more outdoor dining space. We are usually blessed with beautiful weather in South Carolina, and I almost always prefer eating outside. I hope restaurants keep their outdoor spaces after the pandemic.
Clean airplanes and surfaces
When I flew to Napa for a Bachelorette party this year, a lot of things were strange about the whole flying in a pandemic experience.
Like before each flight I boarded, American Airlines would send me an alert saying something a long the lines of “we cleaned the plane for you!”
OK, but why weren’t you doing that before?
Planes are disgusting. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught a cold from flying. These airlines only cared about cleaning when it affected their bottom line and that is silly.
In general, we should all do a better job to keep sanitizing and cleaning surfaces (which don’t spread COVID-19) just because it’s the right thing to do.
The occasional mask wearing
My partner and I (along with our dog) just drove from South Carolina to Kansas. During that 20-hour drive, we had to stop at a lot of unfortunate gas stations and rest stops. Something we noticed? Masks have many purposes — aside from the whole protecting against disease thing.
Not only do masks help protect your face from the blistering cold winds of winter, but masks make gross restrooms *significantly* more tolerable.
I will definitely keep my mask handy on future road trips, even after the pandemic.
We wish the best for everyone next year. It has to get better, right?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an award-winning journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].
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