What I Bought During the Pandemic

What do our covid purchases reveal about our lives?

New green swim cap, goggles, wetsuit, candy-striper swimsuit. Photo by author.

In Late July a group of swim pals were sitting around a patio enjoying strong coffee and sweet treats after a long lake swim. We’re always in a state of life-appreciation after spending 90 minutes moving through calm butter-water, as we call a smooth velvety day on the lake. A pandemic was in bloom, yet we were happy in this moment, happy to be able to swim on a gorgeous summer morning and be together.

“Have you noticed how much money you’re saving during covid?” one friend sighed. “What’s there to buy, where’s there to go?”

I started tallying a list in my mind — everything I had added to my possessions outside of the usual lotions-and-potions, food, supplements, books and office supplies. It was such a short list, most of my new items had been in use that very morning: sleeveless wetsuit, swimsuit, bright green swim cap, goggles. New Chacos.

When I mentally added up what I had bought since March 2020 , I saw a micro-memoir marching down the page of my new-possessions list. Recently, a wrote down my list and emailed it to a friend. She wrote back with hers. I bought a delicious orange face spritz from her list.

I’d like to say I was one of those creative pandemic responders who had this inspiring side-hustle and took up something new — a hobby, instrument (my pink guitar still languishes), an art form like painting — and invested in that. Nope, my life, my interests stayed as tidy and consistent as ever. I was more fallow, less productive and more daydreamy than ever. I did my sports, though — did I ever!

Here’s my list.

· 2 workout swimsuits

·2 wetsuits, sleeveless and sleeves

· 1 pair swim goggles

· Swim caps

· Swimmer’s kick board

· 1 pair Chaco sandals

· Running shoes

· Running hat

· Entry fees to several virtual running events (I recommend Orca Running for how they serve runners, the community and social causes)

· Runner’s compression socks

· Running bra-and-top in one

· Jump rope (used once)

· A bike tune-up (after a five-year riding break)

· Cute pink-and-black padded underwear for cycling (worn about twice)

· CSA membership

· Old Clive Cussler paperbacks for my husband

· Serving trays for the summer dinners we hosted outside (one tray per couple, no sharing outside household!)

·Two plane tickets to Phoenix to see my mom

· Face masks

· Clear shop glasses (for traveling)

· Face shields

· Coaching package with a favorite author

· Elbow brace for “tennis elbow” (v popular right now, according to my PT daughter-in-law)

· Copious amount of YumEarth strawberry and black licorice (gluten-free)

· One air purifier

· A new set of “green” cookware

· Membership to the League of Women Voters

· Pair of Hoka “recovery shoes”, slip-ons to wear around the house (aka “office”)

Not a fashion-forward year, but plenty of color.

· No Stress beginner’s chess set (after watching Queen’s Gambit)

· Rain pants

· Fleece-lined yellow Crocs (which I vowed to never own)

· Two plaid shirts (same vow as above, but anything goes in a pandemic)

· Private coaching and courses focused on the art of being human, and writing

· New office curtain with flowers for Zoom background

Psst — one friend gave me a curtain tip: shower curtains. Pretty, affordable, swap-outable.

Here’s what my list shows me —

Sports — namely swimming and running — are my front-line activities. I love my family, my friends and I’m pretty set in my ways. As much as I like to consider myself an adventurer, I’ve been doing the same things — working, sports, writing, coaching, family, friends, going outside, making meals, entertaining — year after year after year. Not even a pandemic breaks the cycle. (Except my donations were way up — at one point I was sending money to anyone/cause who asked). So there we are, my life on a list.

What’s on your list?

Writer, coach, swimmer, runner, late-marrier. I coach writers, professionals & re-inventors. Everyday Creative Coaching, www.everydaycreative.net

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