Adapting Our Home to our new norm

How to identify our new lifestyle preferences post pandemic


How to identify our new lifestyle preferences post pandemic

Buying a home has become more of an investment during the last couple of decades.  When I was growing up, my parents focus was on one thing and that was schools.  As it turns out, their motivation developed into a good investment.  Real estate has become a “wealth building” avenue for many families.

Perhaps the pandemic has changed this a bit.  I know that I am looking at my home a bit differently now than I did on March 15, 2020.  For example, we are eating at home more, so the kitchen has become a gathering spot for the three of us.  We are not going to the gym so exercise inside and outside our house is a major consideration.   I am sure that most of us have changed the way we are living and are redefining our preferences.

Several years ago I wrote an article about considering your lifestyle preferences before looking at homes to buy.  It could be a good read while thinking through the changes that are happening in our lifestyle, our communities, our nation and globally.  Our house is a vital consideration as we move forward with new habits, needs and wants.

While researching for this article, I came across a website, Jessie’s Legacy, which provided a worksheet for self-reflection during our quarantine.  I think it is a timely thought provoker for those who are considering buying a home.

I have been pondering the self reflection questions since I found the article and trying to relate them to my house. I decided to consider the three things and/or rooms that make me the happiest as my first reflection. The kitchen won out. This is a paradigm shift because I had actually sworn off that room and was incredibly happy that my retired husband had taken over most of the cooking duties. Now we are all three collaborating periodically and coming up with delicious concoctions. We comment frequently about the size of the kitchen and refer to it as a one-butt kitchen but we are thrilled with all three of us being in the room together. It is our communal time and it is a treasured time.

Even though I have been working from home for many years, now that there is no choice, my office became my next favorite space. I appreciate that I have a window right next to my desk. I am on the third floor with a view of the back yard and can watch what is happening in the alley. I feel the light of the northern sun all day long. Delightful working conditions.

What is influencing our changes

“We are human beings, and we need connection — we need each other to survive. Being told to stay apart from our fellow human beings has been hard. And of course, that’s been exacerbated by all kinds of other behaviors, political and otherwise.” Lori Peek, director of CU’s Natural Hazards Center

There is no mistaking that Covid 19 is changing life as we know it. There are theories and research already available as to how much has already changed and what will happen in the future. The University of Chicago has produced a video series: “COVID 2025: Our world in the Next 5 Years.” In a series of short videos, leading scholars discuss how COVID-19 will change heath care and international relations, education and urban life.

The Covid 2025 video series is somewhat of a paradigm shift. I enjoyed watching them, they are very short and easy to listen to and give a look into the positive that can come about from the year we just experienced.

In my own life, I have already felt these changes. My mom and I, at the beginning of the pandemic, had a remote doctor visit. We now have a blood pressure machine, thermometer and scale so the doctor was able to record our vitals. We used the internet and our iPads to chat with our primary care doctor and show her any abnormalities since she last saw us.

Our urban life is being challenged. Our favorite restaurant that was within walking distance closed. A lot of my favorite restaurants are now carry-out only and the hours are greatly reduced. We have reduced our trips to the grocery store but are spending a lot of our money there. We have basically not gone inside a restaurant since March 15 and have only done carry-out a handful of times. We have not been to a mall but actually didn’t go that often before. We are supporting local shops with curbside pickup.

We are not going to the gym. I have a friend who I have been walking with 3 times a week for over 20 years. We walked in the gym. We both are over 65 and have husbands with compromised health issues. We solved this problem and are having a blast doing it by doing a virtual walk about three times a week. We put our earbuds in and talk for an hour while we walk our own neighborhoods. I know it’s hard to believe that two women can talk for an hour.

My neighbors and several of my close friends are university professors. They were forced to turn on a dime about the way they taught. According to legal scholar Randal C. Picker the massive shift in remote teaching is resulting in experimenting on a global scale. He feels that it doesn’t replace the classroom but augments the experience to the student by such things as inviting guest speakers from distant locations. One of my friends who teaches piano remotely (believe me it was hard for her) conducted an informal survey of her students and seven out of 10 preferred remote. She may change her schedules post pandemic to only 1 in-person class per month.

Politico discusses community, tech, health, science, government, elections, the global economy and lifestyle in this article.

Mary Frances Berry is professor of American social thought, history and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. What I got from her excerpt was that we all might go a little crazy for relief as they did in the roaring twenties after the 1918 pandemic.

According to Politico, we are already experiencing less communal dining and more cooking at home. The outdoors is becoming safer so parks are becoming a “go-to” spot rather than malls and movie theaters.

What are you already doing post March 15, 2020

Working remotely has been one of the biggest changes. This is something that most people are predicting will not change back to the 9-5 that has been the standard. As a result, all adult members of a family may need an office space at home. Flex time may be an option for some employees.

Will all families need 2 cars? Commute times for those who still need to go to the office will be less. Shopping is permanently changed. Most of my Christmas presents were ordered on-line either for delivery or pick-up.

What were your hobbies? We aren’t going to the gym anymore and are trying to do most of our exercise outdoors. I have a project started in every room for my crafts/arts.

Travel plans have changed.

Will there be more multi generational family requirements? My 96 year old mother lives with us and it was a big relief for us during this time to have her close.

We don’t know yet what changes will take hold but it is fairly evident that many jobs will be remote, online grocery shopping with delivery to your door and retail shopping will not return to our pre pandemic normal. Some of the changes may evolve over the decade according to studies of the 1918 pandemic.

Technology has taken a quantum leap and has just begun. My eight year old granddaughter is showing me new ways to use zoom. Online ordering is almost as good as being there. The remote advances in education are a paradigm shift. I am taking several online courses and am looking for others. Telehealth is easy for the entire family.

So my question: how much have you been affected and how does this relate to what you think you should look for in your next house.

Next question: What do you want to come back? Church worship, choir practice, large weddings, concerts, sporting events. What do you want to stay?

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