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Chicagoans say the pandemic has changed their lives for worse but also better

Deaths in the family. Pay cuts. But also motivation to work out more and to learn to appreciate what we have and take nothing for granted. Those are some of the things we heard from you.

One reader told us she “finally found the motivation to work out consistently, which I haven’t done since playing sports in college.”
One reader told us she “finally found the motivation to work out consistently, which I haven’t done since playing sports in college.”
Scott Olson / Getty Images

It’s been a year now that the coronavirus pandemic has been with us, and here’s what Chicagoans told us are some of the ways they’ve changed since the world around them changed. Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“When they said they were going to shut down everything, I was happy, I thought my family and I would be safe at home. But the virus found its way into our home and destroyed my family. We all got sick, and my mother passed away in June. My life will never be the same.” — Vanessa Ramirez

“I’ve finally found the motivation to work out consistently, which I haven’t done since playing sports in college.” — Ruth Anderson

“My circumstances sure changed. Started with a huge pay cut at work and resulted in a layoff. Then, I vowed to make lemonade. I did. Went back to work after only nine weeks and got a pay raise and much much more, both personally and professionally.” — Karen Renee Webber

Made me realize I like being alone.” — Amanda Burke

I’m a lot more relaxed by not having to go into an office. I’ve been consciously making time for playing music, reading, working crossword puzzles, building Lego sets, cooking from scratch, working on various hobby/craft things and generally enjoying my life.” — Connie Cae

“Made me appreciate everything out there that is available to us which I will never take for granted again. Like live concerts, sporting events, museums, etc. I never really knew how lucky I was to have those available until it was taken away.” — Tom Cooper

“As an introvert, I found wanting to stay in and avoid others and being forced to stay in and avoid others are two totally different mindsets.” — Tony De Castro

For starters, it’s made me want to be around dogs and cats more and people much less.” — Elliott Avant

“I lost 12 pounds. I don’t miss going out as much as I thought I would. I planted a garden, and everything grew!” — Nadesna Moran