My friend Pauleen has challenged us with this new genealogy meme during May 2022. How has the last two years of pandemic and lockdown changed us and our lives around us. Anyone can join in and let Pauleen know, so that she can include your post in her round up.
Pauleen’s questions were:
Has your day-to-day life returned to how it/you functioned previously?
Not really. I am still not out and about as previously and not travelling anywhere too far from home. Before I wouldn’t have hesitated to jump on a plane or head off on a road trip, but now I think ‘what if there is a lockdown and I can’t get home’.
If your “new normal” is different from your “old normal”, can you share some of the ways it’s changed?
Working from home hasn’t changed but now I am more inclined to accept offers to do Zoom talks rather than in person events. No travel time which is a real bonus. But I do miss the in person chats and acknowledgement from a ‘live’ audience.
As I indicated in the first answer, I am not travelling. This month saw the birth of my first grandchild and pre covid I would probably have travelled to Sweden to celebrate. Instead we are Zooming, Facebook chatting and text messaging. For the last 3 years I have promised myself a White Christmas with my son – cancer and covid put a stop to that. Now I am gathering the courage to book an overseas flight to join them for Christmas and New Year. Fingers crossed I will get there this time.
Do you think these will be long-term changes for you?
No I think once I am back into travel mode, I will have no trouble trying to make up for the last two years of no travel anywhere. I just need to leave Queensland for the first time in 2 years. The Coffs Harbour Family History Society recently asked me to speak down there in person. After a lot of talking to myself, I have agreed to that road trip in October.
What personal benefits have you gained from the change of pace and experiences in the past two years?
I have used the time to declutter my study and downsize my genealogy records. Most of the binders have now gone and a lot of the paper files. There has been a lot of scanning and writing up of family history that once resided in those heavy binders. I still have a way to go, especially writing up and finalising family history drafts but I try and do something each week.
Do you think the disadvantages have outweighed the benefits for you and/or family and friends?
We didn’t really have too many disadvantages apart from the inability to travel. Also being profoundly deaf made it much harder for me with everyone else wearing masks. I really missed not being able to lip read! The benefits were that I could spend extra time on my own research and how I want to leave my family history records for others in the future.
What do you value most about your new normal?
Having more time for my own research. I have found so many exciting new discoveries as I revisit my old research as part of the downsizing project. The thrill of the chase is back and now I don’t want to give up that personal research time. My other activities have to fit in with that although sometimes I can hear the garden calling me. Why do weeds grow so much faster than flowers and shrubs?
What do you consider have been the main influences: covid infection, restrictions and isolation, other health issues, changing inter-personal interactions?
Neither of us have had covid yet. We have had our 4th booster recently and the flu vaccination so hopefully we will make it through the coming winter with no more than a sniffle. I found the panic buying at the local shops a bit trying especially when all I wanted was milk and bread. Even in lockdown one person was still able to go out for food shopping. Why people stockpiled various grocery items was a mystery to me and just made it harder for others. I’m not mentioning the toilet paper issue but it was dire here at one point.
What is your view of in-person meetings (social or genealogy) and do you love or hate zoom meetings?
I much prefer in person meetings where I can see the people I am talking too. Chatting to people before and after is also good. You don’t get the same experience with live Zoom or prerecorded talks. Zoom is certainly more convenient and cheaper and I have been to some fantastic overseas conferences without having to spend on airfares and accommodation. That has to be one of the best outcomes from covid.
What was the main activity and/or person that supported you through the unpredictable times?
Family history research without a doubt. Not only could I work on my own research, but I could attend special interest group meetings and society meetings via Zoom. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook also kept me in touch with geneafriends. Researching meant that days had a purpose and I was still achieving something at the end of the day. Just watching daytime TV has never been something that appealed to me.
Has your community developed a new normal or just returned to the old one? What differences do you see, if any?
We were about to launch Bribie Genealogy when covid struck. Fortunately we were all familiar with Zoom, or soon got everybody online, and we just continued as the Bribie Genealogy Zoomers. We have gone back to host meetings in person and that has been good. Due to wifi issues, if we have an interstate speaker, we still resort to Zoom so that we don’t have any techno issues on the day.
All of these questions have left me wondering how the next two years will fare? I’m hoping for lots of travel and in person events PLUS some great online Zoom/Facebook events.
Thanks Pauleen for an interesting geneablog challenge.