During the global pandemic, which began on March 15, 2020 and is still going on as I type this on April 6, 2021, I did the whole thing alone and there were ups and downs for sure. Most days, I worked from home with my work phone at the ready, but I also found I had lots of downtime and suddenly, became extremely depressed shortly after lockdown began last Spring. My Father had just passed away about 6 months before the pandemic hit, so I was still recovering a little from that whole experience. So what did I do during the pandemic? I’m glad you asked! Below, I’m going to list some of the wonderful things I did during the past 14 months to fill the time and stop myself from going over the proverbial depression cliffhanger that is life in 2020.
What I did during the Pandemic..
- Got back into podcasting. Stumbled upon Ferg’s Atari 2600 “Game by Game Podcast”, listened to each episode over the last 7-8 years, which is about 200 episodes to date. Now I’m caught up, I’m leaving audio comments within the podcast, so check it out (I’m Brian in ABQ.)
- Began re-collecting Atari games, both boxed or loose cartridges. I started out with about 4 boxed games and 20 cartridges of popular titles and now have over 300 loose cartridges and 200 boxed games!
- Began collecting for the Atari XE game system, which I purchased during the pandemic after learning about it on YouTube. I began collecting games until I realized the games are extremely pricey and mostly rare. I now have about 50 loose cartridges and 10 boxed games for the Atari 400/800/1200 XL computer systems.
- Began collecting for the Texas Instruments TI-994/A computer, and have amassed about 30 games since pandemic began. (I already owned the system, just not all the games.)
- Began collecting for the new Evercade portable gaming system, which I acquired shortly before my move. I now have all 16 games and am constantly on a wait list as new game paks come out. Love this system!
- Began walking my dogs 2-3 times per day, for a total of about 6 miles each day. Since my gym had closed down during the pandemic and I cancelled my membership, too, I found that I had to get out of the house and get exercise still, and this was a great way to get out and get some exercise in, as well as spend time with my Chihuhahua babies.
- Was graciously invited over to my friend Suzi’s home to celebrate Thanksgiving (with masks on mostly and distanced.) It was amazing to be able to get out of the house and see people. I didn’t want to intrude for Christmas since I stayed home during all holidays in 2020, but we did exchange food. My family and I zoomed on Christmas for quite a bit and it wasn’t as good as really seeing them, but it was better than nothing.
- Completely shut down my dating/sex life. Not worth it. It just got shut down down there and still hasn’t re-opened for business (haha!) Being antisocial, I social distance every day, so 2020 was no different than how I normally live (save for the masks and focus on social distancing.)
- Volunteered at work to hand out food boxes to families over the Summer in 2020.. had a great time assisting!
- Continued my grad school studies from home (I attend an online school, and have since 2018). Stayed on the Dean’s List for most of the year, too! (great grades)
- Began researching first time home buyer program here in NM. My little Sister got a house right before the pandemic began and I felt a little jealous, so I started doing my research. Turns out, I pre-qualified for the program and began saving from Oct-Dec 2020 for my first home!
- Saved nearly every cent for 3 months, from Oct-Dec 2020, for my home.. and it was the hardest thing I’ve done in quite a while. I couldn’t make any more money since I was very close to being unqualified for FHA/MFA, and while I was used to making extra funds on eBay when needed for savings, I could not during this time since I was being watched like a hawk. Staying at home through the holidays in 2020 def helped me be able to save more, and my family was understanding with their smaller than normal Christmas present. 🙂
- I cooked at last 6 nights a week during the pandemic, mostly because of lockdown locally but also to save money for my home down payment and interest.
- Got my first new home in January 2021 and moved in on the 15th. Loving it!
- Rode my scooter to the mountains more than a few times per week, but ending up selling it to help finance my beginning savings for my first home down payment.
- Learned that my friend Bobby passed away in February 2020 and I didn’t find out until May 2020. I felt like a horrible friend (we were mostly online friends but had met up before in DC in 2014). I posted to his memorial board online and promised to become a better friend to those close to me.
- My ex Alex (from 2002/2018) contacted me to let me know he had Covid over the Summer last year, and his Mom had just died of Cancer a few years prior, as well as his brother (from Covid) in early 2020. Alex progressively got worse and worse and we ultimately ended up having a Zoom Christmas Party for him since he was always so fond of Christmas. He passed away shortly after the beautiful party and I forever hold him close to my heart. What an incredible, witty, funny and loving guy! (Makes me realize what I left behind, but it takes two to tango, and he wasn’t always willing or ready to.)
- I delved back into my vinyl & music collection, got into the newer digital Sony mp3 players and such, I now have two of those and have purchased some vinyl, cassettes and CD’s here and there. I previoiusly lived across from a music shop, now I don’t, but now i get most of my stuff from thrift stores or on clearance online.
- Shortly after moving in, I was able to get another 150CC scooter and now I can ride again!
- After moving in earlier this year (in 2021), I obtained some new items to help flush out my new 2,000 sq foot, 2 story home. I got a new dining table, ordered a La-Z-Boy recliner for myself, got a new futon and a new queen size bed for the guest room (for Mom and family when they visit), as well as smaller bookshelves and pieces I needed to help add to my lack of furniture problem.
- Paid for my website registration (which had gone offline for about 5 months) and began posting again earlier this year. Lots to catch up on… and still catching up.
We go back into the office next Monday (the 12th) so I’m mentally preparing myself to do that. I’ll definitely miss being at home but I also miss seeing my coworkers and meeting with families to assist them, as well as visiting sites, so I’m 50/50 on board with going back. I also think it’s a little dangerous for us to be going from 0% to 100% at work, with no phased return to work or option to stay home. But you know what? I’m going into it with hesitant optimism and I truly do hope it all works out and is a wonderful thing. Hoping and praying, for everyone’s sake.
The first step to getting back to ‘normal’ is by everyone wearing masks and getting the vaccine, so do your part!
(Photo was taken March 2021)