OPINION: Living intentionally after lockdown

During lockdown, going on walks became a more frequent activity. (Maddy Daniels | Collegian Media Group)

As we seemingly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, my head has been filled with thoughts buzzing around about how society has changed and will continue to change. While it was under dire circumstances, life in lockdown might have shone a light on a positive way of living.

I want to preface this with the fact that the negatives of the pandemic were nothing but truly negative: from loved ones suffering from the virus, lost jobs and overall uncertainty leading to declines in mental health.

We’re glad to be back to “normal” in the sense that the spread of the virus has slowed down, and schools, stores, restaurants and events are mostly in operation, but the urge to constantly be moving and going might not be something we want back. Working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week at an office desk, only exploring the world for two weeks out of the year with vacation time, therefore leading to having no creativity, is what humans — particularly in the U.S. — have been conditioned into thinking is the only way to live this thing called life.

But what about how we were living when we couldn’t do those things?

We were doing yoga, baking banana bread, spending intentional time with family, FaceTiming friends and going outside – why did any of that need to stop after lockdown was over? We experienced a new way to function, of taking care of ourselves, that we seem to have forgotten as soon as the stay-at-home orders were lifted.

Of course, getting back to socializing in person and not being cooped up in one place is so important for mental well-being and something I’m so glad to have back, but did we need to leave behind those wonderful things we discovered in that hidden pocket of time?

I feel as if I have whiplash: from growing up with the same expectations of school, work and doing the things I enjoy, to the slowing of life during the pandemic, to being expected to go full force again. I can’t catch my breath. The uncertainty of what the future holds weighs on me, and the urge to do life in a completely untraditional way beckons.

I wish our society prioritized living life slowly and having more time to do things we enjoy. Working from home has stuck around post-pandemic and seems to be a growing implementation for workplaces. While not for everyone, the flexibility to work where people are comfortable or even travel while working, choose hours that work for individuals, allow people more time to actually go out into the world and for the little things that should be enjoyed — that sounds like the start to a solution to me.

Maddy Daniels is the Collegian’s assistant arts and culture editor and a junior in mass communications and graphic design. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.