2020 is the year of the pandemic. I’ve been isolated in my home since March 2020. In these past 10 months, this is what I have learned:

I don’t know anything about anything!

Whatever I knew in my 70 years of a “before” time, such as how to food shop, what to cook, how to run a household, how to invest, how to manage a home, how to make friends and/or influence people, how to manage your family, how to vacation, how to travel, how to maintain your vehicles and how to prioritize are all useless to me now. What worked for me ‘before’ ain’t gonna work for me now. We’ve been dealt a whole new deck of cards whereby the rules and the regulations have changed.

I’m learning as I go; taking one day at a time!

The first thing I have learned new is that it’s been a very good thing that I own my own home without a mortgage (and have almost no other debt). The Part B of that first thing I learned new was that it’s also very good to have an ample savings account with enough funds to continue to pay my property taxes. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have so much of a home to speak of.

The second thing I learned was how to prioritize my food shopping. Canned goods and long-lasting shelf staples are more valuable than hot pudding. Each shopping trip was a cause to grab an extra roll of toilet paper, tissues, napkins and paper towels. I never needed most of those items before but for some reason paper goods are necessary items right now to keep around.

The third thing I learned was how to prepare my sideyard for a garden, installing said garden, tending said garden, starting plantlings from seeds both indoors and out, growing my own vegetables, fruits, fruit trees, herbs and harvesting, preserving, freezing all of the above.

The fourth thing I learned was how to look sexy in pajamas and/or comfy clothes. Being that I was home more meant wearing my jeans less, my stretch pants more. I also learned how long I could go without a bath or a shower, how long I could go without tweezing my eyebrows, cutting my toe nails, hand nails and how long I could go before having my husband buzz my out-of-control hair. I found out the answer was: months!

The fifth thing I learned was about my finances. I needed my money to be a sure bet. That meant removing funds out of all risky investments and settling on earning less but being more secure. Having less money meant a change to my budget and my attitude regarding money. Throw in the fact that hubby lost all income and was ‘forced’ to apply for retirement benefits ahead of our ‘before’ scheduled time. This meant another chip to the income block. 2020 was all about financial upheaval and re-adjustment.

The sixth thing I learned was who my neighbors were (after living here for over 19 years!) I also learned who my friends were (not many) and I also learned who my true family was (not my hubby’s. they had a serious fight and have banned us from participating in any in-law future events. I’d say I was heartbroken over this but I’d be lying. Both of us are glad to be done with toxic family members). Needless to say we’ve bonded more with my side of the family only to quickly lose the patriarch of my family, my brother, to Covid-19 on April 13, 2020.

The seventh thing I learned was to start being kind to strangers. If I saw them struggling or having a bad time, I try to help out as best as I can. That includes paying for others groceries, making donations, giving food and toiletries away, smiling, being respectful, saying ‘hello, please and thank you’, holding doors open and giving other drivers on the road the right of way. This is no time to be judgmental or dispirited in any way, shape or form to other people.

The eighth thing I learned was that my past accomplishments and failures mean absolutely nothing in 2020. Whatever greatness or good thing I mastered in the ‘before’ time is not going to work in the current situation. I’m not going to make any real estate killings or spectacular money making investments. I’m also not going to suffer any losses either in 2020 because I learned in the ‘before’ time what works and what doesn’t work. This is no time to sit on your laurels. Service and delivery people are now king and should be respected. There’s a whole new set of hustling rules out there. Uber and AirBnB are mort!

The ninth thing I learned was the value of owning a top notch working computer and upgrading to high-speed internet connection. This is no time to go cheap IMHO as far as technology is concerned. I learned new software (Zoom) and the value of online communication. Most everything I do now is done on a computer. This also meant upgrading hubby’s older model iPhone and buying him a state-of-the-art Apple Watch. Hubby has a serious heart condition and the Apple Watch monitors his heart, notifies him of any abnormalities, plus he can do daily EKGs as well as communicate with his cardiologist when needed. We both have been able to see our doctors virtually, which I love, and also receive our meds through the mail. No physical human contact whatsoever!

The tenth thing I have learned is that I am a totally changed person. The person I am now, today, is a very different person I was last year at the same time. I hope I have changed for the better. I know that I am more patient now, more understanding (but I still detest dishonest people….sorry). I think more before I speak. What I have learned the most is that I don’t know anything. I used to think I knew everything. Well, I don’t. I know nothing. It’s as if I was starting from scratch. Yes, even at 70 years of age. I also found out that being 70 isn’t as horrible as I thought it was going to be. There are a lot of people out there, in their 70s and 80s running the country (Biden) overseeing the pandemic (Dr. Fauci) and just about being as active and successful as humans can possibly be. I’m looking forward to my next 10 years in my 70s.

I can still do whatever it is I set my mind to do. I still have dreams, goals and ambitions. I’ve got a lot of examples to let me know that all things are possible. This is a brand new world. I’m just so happy and thankful I am still alive to be a part of it. Now, if they can just find a solution to people who have allergies and can not take the vaccine currently (that would be me) I’d be ever so grateful. I know its just a matter of time. So, meanwhile, I wait.