It’s been a year since the novel Coronavirus struck our lives.

Remember last January when we began hearing about a new sinister illness that seemed to be striking without warning? As its incidence grew, its name changed to COVID-19, a reminder that it had been identified back in 2019, though most of us remained ignorant of that fact. As the virus spread into a pandemic, causing death and disruption throughout the world, our lives changed.

Those changes remain today even as vaccines are being given and we are asked to continue precautions. We know that the increasing numbers of those living in poverty and contending with food uncertainty are directly related to the economic losses of this pandemic. We know, too, that other things in our lives won’t be the same as before. Flex jobs, remote learning, online grocery shopping and doctor’s visits will be accepted norms.

Drive-through and curbside service will continue. We may see the end of large in-person gatherings, self-serve buffets and even destination weddings. At least they will be fewer in number.

Credit cards will probably remain more acceptable for use than cash, and contactless delivery of services will stay with us. Planned-ahead road trips will be the preferred method of travel for those who find sheltering in place too confining. Job interviews and home tours will be virtual.

Even our vocabulary has changed as medical and technical terms become part of our daily routines. I “Zoom” and can “InstaCart” with the best. “Clusters, droplets and PPEs” are too familiar.

It’s all very different than I expected. I am not a Luddite, but neither am I technologically adept. I don’t use social media and believe that I escape much of the vitriol and misinformation that emanates from there.

Our lives on Hays Hill have become even quieter. We read a lot, choose our news sources, cook for ourselves more and keep in touch with those important to us through old-fashioned means — letters, phone calls and email.

Taking care of ourselves has included the increased hand washings and disinfecting, adding Vitamin D to our regimens, assessing our mental health and trying to stay sensible in what can be chaotic times. Yes, we miss seeing people. We miss going to movies. We miss spontaneity but, so far, so good. We are still well and on one of the lists to get vaccinated.

One side effect of Covid that I had not heard about is that of “the Covid 15.” That’s the tendency to put on weight due to a more sedentary lifestyle and the fact that much of what we cook is comfort food. You know what I mean. That’s the stuff that tastes good, goes down easily and camps out on the thighs, refusing to leave.

I recently read that banana bread is one of the ten worst foods we can eat, and yet I have also read that it is the most popular home-baked treat right now. That’s yet another reminder to consider our choices.

It’s important to remember that we have those choices despite restrictions, precautions and rumors. Our lives are not and won’t be the same as they were a year ago. That doesn’t mean they can’t be meaningful and rewarding. I’m going to try to invite more positive change into our lives and to avoid those extra pounds.

Margaret Hays is a longtime Osawatomie resident who writes a weekly column for The Miami County Republic.

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