The pandemic caused widespread grief in almost every aspect of life. Still, there’s a sense of comfort that comes with “hunkering down” and settling into a new routine. More time spent at home meant more time spent with loved ones, hobbies and introspection. As vaccines roll out and businesses begin to reopen, it raises the question — are we ready to go back to being who we were before?
“When I think about the person I was pre-pandemic, I was a person who worked every single day. I very rarely took a day off, I often worked in the evenings … I had a very active life and part of me wonders if I have the mental acuity to do that anymore.” –Professor Devon Powers, Temple University
Listen: Devon Powers on why we’ll miss our stay-at-home selves.
Devon Powers is an Associate Professor at the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University, and author of “On Trend: The Business of Forecasting the Future.” She recently wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled “The Coming Nostalgia for Hyper-Nesting.”
She says the restraints she’s put on herself during the pandemic are hindering, but they’re also a comfortable new reality. “There’s a good side and a bad side to almost everything. Life rarely gives us a straightforward lesson … and I think many have tried to gain or learn from this experience … it’s been bittersweet,” Powers says. This also pertains to the workplace, which might change significantly after mass remote work. “When I think about the person I was pre-pandemic, I was a person who worked every single day. I very rarely took a day off, I often worked in the evenings … I had a very active life and part of me wonders if I have the mental acuity to do that anymore,” she says.
Powers sees a stratification during this time, with injustice becoming even more visible in widespread adversity. “It’s not a coincidence that during the pandemic we have seen a reckoning and calls for an end to police brutality … an end to things that were just fundamental to the ‘old normal.’ People don’t want to revert back to the way things were because things weren’t good for so many,” she says.
Powers says the lesson she’ll keep from this time is, “Taking time to think about how my actions will affect other people.”
Web story written by Nora Rhein