About one year ago, I wrote a post about missing life before the pandemic and how much I wondered “when will life go back to normal?” For some of the newer faces around here (hi, welcome to Preppy & Pink!) I live on Long Island, just outside of NYC. We were one of the first major cities to experience a major shutdown and most of us know people who sadly passed due to the virus. While everyone has been affected by the pandemic, things felt more heightened in the tri-state area.
So maybe you’re asking: why are you writing this now? It’s been a year and things are beginning to go back to normal again.
I realized: I don’t want to go back to normal. Give me a minute though to explain myself – I’m ready to see people and enjoy aspects of life that were put on pause for the last year – but I’m realizing I’m experiencing mixed feelings about everything.
I want to be better than I was before.
Before the Pandemic
Prior to the pandemic, I was working in a job that required 12-15 hour work days, in order to perform at the level which was required of me. I was glued to my email and slack but the job I was in had such amazing perks: I was invited to Michelin restaurants many times a month, taken on private yachts for presentations, given concert/sporting event/Broadway tickets as part of client meetings… that I started to lose touch with who I was because I was always so busy.
I would be up at 5:45am and on the subway by 6:15am, going to a fitness class, rushing to my job and then to an event in the evening. Most nights I would roll into my apartment around 10:30pm and then do it all over again the next day. This was exciting and honestly everything I wanted at the time. Until I got married and moved to Long Island…
When I moved, I truthfully got a little depressed because things slowed down: my NYC friends were close, but it would take me almost two hours to get home on the train after seeing them. My workout schedule wasn’t ideal anymore like it had been in the past: my 4:45a wake up just didn’t work with getting home late after taking public transportation. I thought changing jobs would help (long story short, I accepted a job in January 2020 and then changed jobs again in September and am currently settled into the perfect company for me) and I was feeling stuck in my professional life quickly after leaving my NYC role. I felt lost and unsettled in the new chapter of life I was settling into: and then a global pandemic hit.
Adjusting from work from home was tough: my hours increased substantially, and I was having a tough time disconnecting when I was off the clock. I went from being on the go constantly, to standing still (just like the rest of the world). I remember feeling angry because I couldn’t settle into a slower pace as easily as I assumed other people had. My newsfeed was filled with people learning language, baking bread, playing games and I was having breakdowns every night instead. I felt cheated out of so much joy and was having a hard time finding my own in the new normal.
Creating Content Saved Me (Literally)
About a month into the pandemic, I was chatting with a very close friend who had started a food blog and was telling me about how much fun she was having with it. She encouraged me to go back to Preppy & Pink and start writing and creating again – fun fact: I started this site back in 2017 but ended up falling off the bandwagon. I took her advice and decided to try. What could be the worst thing that happened?
Within six months, I had grown over 1000 Instagram followers and was starting to work with some brands I had idolized my entire life. I’d always loved writing and creating content, so my heart became so happy. This little “quarantine project” became a full-time job! I went from crying every night to getting excited about photoshoots, flexing my creative muscles and even working on a home renovation project to build out my own blog room! Creativity and having a space to create literally pulled me out of a very dark place.
Navigating “What’s Next”
So this brings me back to where I started: life is beginning to get back to how it was before the pandemic and truthfully, I don’t know if I want to go back to it all. I’m officially fully vaccinated (yay) and am still getting comfortable with seeing people and not having my mask on. Old habits die hard.. I’m beyond thankful for science and for the tremendous work that’s been done to help fight this terrible illness.
That said: I don’t know if I want to go back to the level of business I had before the pandemic. I was running on a hamster wheel and now that it’s slowed, I feel like I have a new outlook on my life and priorities. There was a point where I cried out of FOMO when I was home in my living room and knew my friends were at a party in the city; now I’m extremely content to watch Netflix with my husband and dog. I used to spend $100 every other week on a mani/pedi, which I now do myself (and am pleased with how well it comes out).
I’m excited to be able to celebrate special moments and attend fun events (shout out to my girls who are getting married this year) but I’m also beginning to feel bittersweet about our world spinning a little faster again. Setting earlier alarms to head to the office and not watching the 11pm news seem small, but I’ve learned to love those extra moments of quality time with Doug.
The New “Me”
Through all the change: I’m extending myself and others grace. Some days, I feel like I’m able to slip into a “regular” day more easily and others I really struggle. I’m realizing being busy 24/7 doesn’t equate to happiness and productiveness: sometimes staying still and allowing my mind to wander can be just as productive. My patience flows more easily than it used to and I’m kinder to myself.
Just as slowing down was an adjustment, so is picking up the pace again. Last weekend, Doug and I went back to having plans with others on a Saturday and Sunday. I was so happy – my cup was full and I felt like things were back to “how they should be.” At the same time, Doug felt overwhelmed. Socializing was something we really hadn’t done in over a year and jumping back into it was exhausting for him.
The way we both felt: totally okay. If you’re feeling conflicted too, know you’re not alone. Being ready to be busy all the time is not a “post-pandemic right of passage” it’s simply about where you are on a day-by-day basis.
Picking up the pace is on the horizon; that’s inevitable. However, as I ease myself back into it: I’m prepared to do it in a kinder way than when I entered the change of the pandemic last March. My promise to myself (and hopefully yourself as well) I will not beat up on myself for having a stumble or two along the way. Where I am each day is exactly where I need to be and the future is looking bright.