It’s hard to believe it was just over a year ago (March 10, 2020) that Michigan announced its first two confirmed cases of Coronavirus.  Fast forward a year and it is hard to remember the world as we knew it before we had ever heard of Coronavirus. I do remember having mixed feelings from disbelief to being frightened of the unknown. There was so much uncertainty, so little known or shared in the beginning. When it became apparent that this was very serious and things were going to get much worse before they got better, I could have never imagined where we would be today or how long it would go on. A year ago, I remember seeing someone at a store wearing a mask.  She was the only one in the store wearing one at that time and it was strange. I thought to myself, I wish I didn’t care what people think and I really should be wearing a mask as well.  Slowly, more and more people wore them and now, it is just the norm. Masks are a fashion statement, people are matching them to their wardrobe, making statements with them, owning more masks than socks!  Almost feeling like the odd one out if you don’t have a mask on. The complete reversal of my feelings a year ago.  

Remember when we couldn’t find toilet paper? It was a hot commodity across the nation. Lysol, lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and other essentials were impossible to find or keep stocked. The shelves at the stores and our experiences shopping them was unfamiliar to us. Social distancing, directional arrows up and down the aisles, limiting the number of people entering, washing down the carts among other changes have become so routine to us. 

Countless other things have changed in the past year. Changes in our daily lives, social life, home, work, school and in our activities from working out, dining, travel, seeing friends and family, and as mentioned before, our shopping experiences. Some of the changes are actually good and I find a number of people asking “what are some of the changes over the past year that really make sense and you feel should continue?”  Igloos, greenhouses and many other innovative ways restaurants found to stay open outside throughout the year providing more space. I absolutely love this idea but who would have ever thought you would see such things during a frigid Michigan winter?  This is one thing I hope continues as I feel it provides an intimate and unique experience. 

Changes in environment, personal space and surroundings, maybe our inner circle has even changed due to a number of factors such as change in opinions on the virus, masking up, politics, or simply not being as social. Some businesses that are able to allow working from home have seen success and become accustomed to this and will surely welcome this change into the future.  However, working from home and online learning forces us to make changes to our home environment in order to have a comfortable and functional work or learning space. Our personal space becomes less personal when this happens and it becomes hard to define or distinguish time and space, personal versus work. Staying focused and not getting distracted by home life can be an issue for some and for others, they may have a hard time knowing when to shut off work and enjoy downtime.  It all starts to intermingle.

It is so heartbreaking to think about the tragic loss of loved ones and their family not being able to be with them at such a devastating time. Graduations- high school or college, something people work so hard for, dedicate years to and to just be cancelled, such a huge achievement to be seemingly dismissed! Weddings being postponed that were planned forever, not to mention the honeymoons booked to stunning locations having to be cancelled due to travel restrictions. New parents having babies and not being able to have anyone there for that momentous event or have visitors at home to show off that bundle of joy.  

I have seen many people tackle new projects, getting out of their comfort zones and embarking on new adventures. As many businesses that have closed, I saw many others thrive or new businesses braving the economy by opening during this past year. As mentioned in my last article, being a realtor, I have witnessed a shut down, then very slowly opening back up with precautionary measures and countless restrictions put in place. For a period of time, we couldn’t have showings so with the market the way it was even a year ago, we had offers on homes site unseen.  Still a ban on open houses, eventually, when we were able to enter the home, we became more and more creative with virtual showings and facetime showings as if we (or sometimes the homeowner themself) were taking the buyer through the home room by room, again virtually. 

Although one’s mind could not comprehend the immense devastation and vast changes we experienced over the past year, we must remain open to the fact that as humans we adapt. Albeit, a new version of ourselves and the world as we knew it. As we welcome things to return to normal or our new normal let us also hold on to hope, yearn to evolve, seeking to see things in a new and different perspective, for Pain Always Leaves a Gift.” – Sean Croxton