The challenge was to write an essay that answered this prompt:
The world is opening back up. It’s been over a year. How has the pandemic changed you?
Alesia shared the story of a surprising change that took place in her life after the pandemic. Enjoy her winning submission:
The lady loved planning and was expert at making lists. One of her favorite apps allowed her to keep lists of restaurants, books, movies, and places she’d get to someday. Someday — so promising, yet so vague.
Anyway, planning was the lady’s middle name. She was also known for taking her time and moving at a leisurely pace with everything, as if time waited for her. She dawdled, she dreamed, she planned, but rarely did anything exciting happen in her life. Before 2020, in the days and weeks before her birthday, when asked how she planned to celebrate, she usually responded, “I think I’ll hang out at the Harbor, get something to eat, walk around, and do a little shopping.” Nice, but nothing unusual or exciting.
Then the pandemic hit, and life slowed down. An introvert, she moved with ease during this downtime. She loved to stay in shape through walking outdoors and through her Zumba classes. She had been walking for years. There was nowhere to go but outside to walk around her neighborhood and sometimes the park.
During the pandemic, she cherished the opportunity to get outside. Teaching classes and attending meetings via Zoom left her exhausted and sent her flying to leave her apartment. Watching the change of seasons up close, noticing things in nature she had never noticed before, and breathing in the fresh outdoors air illuminated her days and heightened her appreciation of nature.
A strange thing happened, though, in January 2021. She found herself getting bored with walking. She needed a new activity.
She decided she’d buy a bike and use it for an amped-up workout. She vowed to take more trips and started making reservations. She decided that she’d go to an amusement park she hadn’t been to in 20 years even though it was less than 20 minutes from her home.
The pandemic awakened in this lady a desire to do more, go more, live more, and venture out more. She loved the slow pace during the pandemic and thought she’d be reluctant to go back into the world after the pandemic subsided. But instead of disappointment as pre-pandemic life returned, she relished the opportunities to do things she had never done before.
Her birthday is now a week away. When asked about her birthday plans in 2021, she has a new answer: ziplining. Not necessarily on her birthday but as a birthday gift to herself before summer’s end. That trip to Hawaii she’d been wanting to take? Booked. That bike she wanted to ride? She’s still searching for one, since bikes have been in high demand since last year.
As long as adventure calls and she answers without hesitation, she’ll be all right. For this new outlook, she can say the pandemic brought out the go-getter in her.