No matter how you feel about this virus, it has affected the world in ways we did not expect at all. It wasn’t long ago that practically everything was closed down, and people were staying at home. As weeks passed, some places experimented and opened up with certain restrictions. Depending on where you live, cases may have risen or fallen. In some places, like my own state, places have gone back to either being closed or quite limited in operating.
While it’s uncertain how much longer life will be like this, it’s most likely that the days we were used to just last year will reappear. And when the old normal returns as the new normal, there will be many things that people will want to start or resume doing. This includes yours truly, and all this time made me reflect and think of the things I miss. It made me think of the things I want to do as quickly as possible. So without further ado, here are some things I want to do as soon as the world re-opens.
Find A Job
Things looked promising back in February in terms of finding new employment. Then the virus came and – poof – nearly all opportunities here and across the world went up in smoke. Any aspirations to go out of state, or abroad, for work were dashed even to this day. But I’m glad and grateful for this internship I took up before all of this began. Not only does it give me something to do all these months, but it also shows productivity. When companies see the resume, and notice I was making use of my time, they may love that drive and hustle. Rather than sit at home doing nothing, I found a way to take on tasks and gain skills that could open other doorways.
Even though some jobs are starting to pop up, they are mostly minimum wage type jobs. At this point in my life, I really want to develop a career identity; doing something where I can grow where I’m at. Most importantly, I could use the money in many ways. For the rest of this list, they are nearly dependent on this factor. I can’t really do the rest without having a job that pays first. Unless more stimulus checks come my way, I won’t be able to do what I planned on starting last Fall before things went South. It begins with new wheels.
Buy A New Car & Roadtrip
Yeah. . . I’m a Jeep kind of guy, but this was before it became the cliche vehicle for the average 20-something year old hipster wanting adventure. Maybe it stems from seeing it on Jurassic Park first, or just always seeing it on commercials involving camping. I used to camp quite a bit in my younger years. And so, in terms of affordable and realistic cars to own, this was at the top of my list of things to have. Though I loved the Trailblazer that was passed on to me, which you might recall died when I loved in another city, there was another SUV model I preferred. And when I get that job, owning a new and spiffy car like this becomes the next thing at the top of the list.
I’m not sure exactly when that’ll happen once everything clears up. Even after I get a job, it would be about 6-10 months before I can pay a good chunk of it. Maybe family can help pay up front, and I pay them back later, or I just buy early and make monthly payments. Although, I’m not looking forward to the interest rates. It still is months away, but it’s exciting to think of what that’ll mean. A car that will be under my name, and my name alone. I can do whatever I want to with it.
And by whatever, you know that includes road trips. Once those keys drop into my hands, I’ll already think of where I will be driving to. Remember, there is supposed to be a traveling/adventure aspect to this blog. I have to make up for lost time. Depending on the work I have, I thought about weekend road trips to towns around my state and exploring them. Long time off, like Christmas breaks, may mean trips outside the state to nearby neighbors. Exploring all the stores and natural scenes will be so fun. This also includes going camping and off-road excursions, which have been quite popular with everyone staying home. Could I go camping now? Sure, but some things like this I prefer doing with friends. And many of my friends, now, are still hesitant to do things in public. This includes buying camping supplies and such, which I still need to do as well. Whenever the world opens up some more, you can be certain that once I get a new car the travels will quickly follow.
Concerts and Events
One of the major things I enjoy doing is venturing through a city, and discovering events that are happening. That is especially true as it pertains to music and sports. When I went to Orlando to visit Universal Studios, I also bought a ticket to see a Magics basketball game that was happening during my few days staying there. Getting to explore the city, and talk with locals is always an experience. For music, I love going to see shows in smaller venues. It just feels more intimate and personal as you connect with the singer or band. Big stadium shows are alright, though.
Throughout these months, it’s been a pain seeing tours get cancelled and local singers stuck at home not being able to have an outlet to sing. Even though I will listen to music on YouTube, watching live performances online just isn’t the same and not as enjoyable. The same can be said about conventions and lectures that I also like to go to; including Comic Con. All those things where you’re among like-minded people, who share the same interests, I cannot wait to run into again. I’ve bumped into amazing strangers at such events, and shared good stories with them.
Even little things like nature groups, library/bookstore events, and foodie experiences are on hold. More big events I miss are the cultural festivals and lantern festivals. My city is one of the top ten biggest in the U.S., and is filled with people of different cultures. We often have festivals that celebrate a variety of heritages from Asian, Indian, German, Mexican, and more cultures. I love going to see the different history, dancing, music, and food. I also like seeing what I can buy that pertains to their culture. Lantern festivals, and other unique events like it, are so amazing to experience in a sea of other people. I’ll never forget the view of a dark night sky being filled with orange lanterns. Everything listed here do not occur anymore but, when things get back to normal, you can bet I’ll be researching what interesting events I can try to attend once again.
Make New Friends
Now, this isn’t a slight at my current friends, but this was something I was interested in doing for a while. When I moved for my past job, it took me months before making a few friends because I was constantly busy trying to keep up with the tasks given. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out and I moved back and lost touch with what I hoped would’ve been great friendships. The same happened after grad school, where I felt many of us would stay in touch, but it didn’t last long. Unlike high school where you tend to let go as you venture into adulthood, or college where you move on as career and personal life develop, I assumed grad school would be different because of where most people are at in this point of life.
Some go on to grad school right after university, but most take a few years off before going back in. And many of my friends made there were older and had life more established. But life happens, and through thick and thin, my main best friends have been the ones from high school. Do you remember all that stuff mentioned prior to this about outdoor adventures and going to events around town? Most of my friends really aren’t into that, or they have to be dragged into doing things like that. If it costs too much, and the parking will suck, then I have my work cut out for me in hoping to get them to go.
In the past, I didn’t mind setting up get-togethers for events but I’ll admit it’d be nice to have a group of friends who take initiative and are hyped to go do something different; like hiking a mountain. While my friends meet some needs, there are others areas that I would like to nourish such as the outdoorsy and concert side. Again, I don’t mind doing things alone and have done it before, but memories are more enjoyable in the company of loved ones. Plus, new personalities and stories are always exciting when meeting new people.
Join Local Groups
So how does one go about making new friends, especially since schooling ended years ago? I’ve always wanted to join groups, whether here in town or wherever I end up. Because my interests are wide, there are plenty of options that I could consider. From taking yoga or rock climbing courses, dance classes, to book reading clubs there are numerous opportunities to meet those like-minded folks. What held me back in the past? Money and time.
When I was in grad school I was busy making friends within the program, and when I moved I was preoccupied trying to learn all that was being tossed on my plate. There are some free groups I can join, but some also cost money; which certain times in the past, and now, make this a little more difficult to do. But once places and events re-open, the groups will also follow suit. And I already plan on finding groups I find interesting, and go from there. There are even outdoor groups that I’m eager to explore more about. No matter where it leads, there can always be people in that group who are interested in other things as well like concerts, road trips or even. . .
Surprise, surprise! Did you expect me not to mention travel on here? What kind of blog would this be if I didn’t?! As y’all may recall, I wanted to travel back in December before life threw curveballs my way. And then I talked about trying again this Summer, around August, to fly across the ocean. And then the virus happened (how many times have we said this phrase in a frustrated tone?). Yes, the travel gods have thrown many uncertainties our way. Right now, travel is possible within the country and to select other countries as well. But honestly, it’s not worth it right now with the whole process of proving you’re not sick, and then arriving to the location only to find out it’s mostly quiet due to the restrictions.
Unless you want to just see the outdoors, it’d be hard to find a good reason to spend that money to go somewhere that’s barren right now. Restaurants only offering takeout, concerts and sports cancelled, museums limited, and more not listed. The opportunity to fully experience a place, and meet many locals, just isn’t ideal at this moment. We don’t know when things will be fully okay, but for now we must assume not until Winter. So I have this Christmas as a temporary target date to try and fly again. Again, so many other factors like the job and car come into play, as well as social life with friends, but I think I should be okay come December. We shall see, but despite being last on this list, it’s clearly the top of my desires.
I cannot wait to board the plane and feel the rush of taking off. Ready to find those hidden gems at the destination, and hearing interesting stories from strangers. Travel also includes doing things I might have on my bucket list, such as bungee jumping off some of the highest places in the world. But for now, I’m in wait-and-see mode for a lot of things. Just like the rest of the world, we’re ready for things to get back to some sense of normalcy. We don’t know when that will be, but when it happens we have some idea of what we’ll do. You know what I’m excited to do, and I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to doing once COVID-19 finally comes to an end.
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