SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The COVID-19 pandemic has made the past year frustrating for many people. Lockdowns, unemployment, business closures, social distancing, masks, work from home, Zoom school, and other new aspects of daily life have been sources of anger, despair, and more.
But there have also been some benefits to our "new normal," with many people shifting their priorities and focusing on life's simpler pleasures.
"I think people are a lot more sympathetic," says Vincent Reed, who is visiting San Diego from Tennessee. "I remember somebody saying it's going to take aliens coming from outer space to galvanize us the way 9/11 pulled us all together. But I think this pandemic did."
"Honestly, I can say myself," says Christina Blanco. "You had time to yourself. You had time to grow, time to spend with your family."
"My whole priorities have shifted," says Cindy Mucher, who started a daily Zoom prayer meeting with friends. "There's no way we had time for that kind of stuff before. We got kind of lost in the busy-ness of life, trying to meet schedules and deadlines and a lot of extra clutter, so a lot of that has just been gone. That's been good."
Some say they were able to get out of bad relationships. Some started new jobs. Other people say the extra downtime has allowed them to explore old and new hobbies.
Gary Jetter told ABC 10News that he started playing the piano again.
"I'm studying the classics," he says. "Beethoven, Brahms, Bach; trying to refresh the skills I had earlier in life."
There has also been an improvement in work-life balance. A study from FlexJobs found that 73% of people say working from home improved their work-life balance. 79% responded that not having a commute gave them more time for family or themselves. And 51% of people say they're more productive at work since the Pandemic began.
"I've been noticing I have been a little more introspective," says Sam Rotshtein. "When you have this time to yourself, you are kind of afforded the opportunity to look inside and make some personal changes if you need them."