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11 Things We Won’t Take For Granted Again In 2021 And Beyond

Of course we miss concerts, sports, and stress-free hangouts with friends, but believe it or not, we even have FOMO for ... FOMO.
We can't WAIT to hang out with friends again without fear!
We can't WAIT to hang out with friends again without fear!

Remember how it felt to leave your house without your “phone, wallet, keys,” and face mask? Do you regularly find yourself daydreaming about when you could make spontaneous plans on your own, or meet up with others? You are not alone.

The carefree, wistful days of life before the COVID-19 pandemic, physical distancing, and quarantine feel like a distant memory. Now, with travel restrictions increasing across Canada, and COVID-19 cases on the rise amidst the start of our national vaccine distribution, many are hopeful an eventual return to “normal” is on the way.

Whenever that comes — and we can safely travel, socialize, return to the office, and help rebuild our infrastructure after economic hardships — here are some things we will appreciate, savour, and not take for granted again.

Crowd murmurs and idle conversation after seeing a movie in a theatre

What was the last movie you saw at a theatre? Do you ever reminisce about kicking back and watching the latest releases away from your couch, or with friends or family outside of those you live with? Well, beyond the buttery popcorn, sticky floors, concessions, pre-show trivia questions, and film itself, the highlight has to be the general “hum” of audience chit chat after a movie wraps.

This swell of community is pretty unmatched: you have people trying to decipher plot points, talk about when they figured out the big twist or major character turning point, and share their unfiltered opinion about what they just saw together, or in small groups. Got to love it.

High fives before, during or after a sporting event

Whether at a stadium, arena, or just watching a game at a local sports bar, there is something special about high-fiving a stranger or somebody in your party when the match or race goes your way.

A Jays home run? A Canucks goal in overtime? Another win for Milos Raonic? All great reasons to high five or cheers your neighbour with less worry about the spread of germs.

Hugs, handshakes, and even ... a “kiss hello

It goes without saying that in this era of isolation and “touch starvation,” it will be very nice to greet people again outside of a Zoom wave, or outdoor shouting.

Sure, handshakes may not return at full strength in professional settings, but saying hello or goodbye with a hug or cheek-kiss (with consent, of course) helps us show physical affection and appreciation for our chosen family. And wow, does it feel great to be appreciated.

Small talk

Weather banter? Inane conversation about what you did over the weekend? Commiserating about a bad commute into the office, or brutal traffic on the way home? This low-impact chatter and venting with acquaintances, pals or colleagues is the ideal stress relief we didn’t realize we missed so strongly.

“Grabbing a drink”

Whether a quick coffee catch-up with a friend you have not seen in a while, or a meeting with somebody from out of town, there are few things as freeing or joyous as schmoozing for an hour or two (or more!) at a local hotspot.

In-person workplace banter

Slack, email chains, video conferences and instant messaging are great and all, but how does it compare to sharing a laugh with a colleague when they’re right in front of you?

Stress-free indoor dining

Plastic barriers at restaurants may be here to stay, but wow, will it feel great to return to a time when you could visit your favourite eatery or try someplace new in-person, without fear of occupancy rules or contact tracing. Maybe you’ll even spring for dessert?

Live theatre, concerts and singing in public

Live events took a major hit this year, and shifted to virtual entertainment where possible. Although, as magical as it is to watch a creative at the top of their game performing on-screen, witnessing their power and energy in-person with hundreds or thousands of other like-minded fans is a completely different story.

Besides, it’s much more fun to scream-sing when everybody around you knows the words to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” ... or pretends to, anyway.

An impromptu trip

Craving escape? Feeling boxed in at home? Looking to take advantage of your vacation days? Booking a trip used to be as easy as a call or click away, and hopefully, it will be once again ... and we can start cashing in on all of the Air Miles or Aeroplan points we’ve accumulated while sheltering at home.

Making in-person plans (and bailing or rescheduling, if you feel like it)

Regular hangouts and catch-ups with friends and family can be very rewarding, but bowing out every once and a while can feel just as nurturing for the soul.

Staying at home ... and FOMO

I know what you’re thinking ... who would want to stay at home once we are able to reprise our “normal” activities and routines? Well, there is a big difference between staying home because you have to, and staying home because you want to.

Think of it as the comparison between a vacation day and a sick day: on one side, you have the ability to enjoy yourself and do as you please for a day, and on the other hand, you’re at the mercy of your illness, or fatigue, with limited choice.

Choosing to stay home will be a welcome luxury once again, and with that comes a return of those biting feelings of “FOMO,” or the “Fear of Missing Out” when we ponder all of the fun activities or events we could be doing instead of chilling on the couch. But those FOMO pangs will hit differently this time around; they will feel like a reassuring sign that “normal” is back in play.

WATCH: Entertainment to look forward to in 2021.

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