‘Get out, and enjoy every bit of life’ and other lessons Chicagoans have taken from the pandemic

COVID-19 ‘has taught me the lesson that nothing is permanent, patience and to plan ahead for a situation like this,’ one reader said.

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Cherry trees in Jackson Park. One reader said that the pandemic “has reconnected me with nature.”

One reader said that the pandemic “has reconnected me with nature.”

Ashlee Rezin Garcia / Sun-Times

For many, the coronavirus pandemic has provided a chance to step back and think differently about the future.

We asked readers how COVID-19 changed the way they look at and plan for the future. Some answers have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

“Get out, and enjoy every bit of life, it just may disappear in the blink of an eye.” — Maureen Vanderbilt

“It has taught me the lesson that nothing is permanent, patience and to plan ahead for a situation like this.” — Ivan Ruíz

I know now that, if I get a cold or flu, I’ll wear a mask so I don’t spread my germs and snot on everybody.” — Steven McElyea

It has not changed my plans for the future. Why would I have to worry about things not in my job description to control.” — Fred Yakel

Has not changed it at all.” — Terry Dillman

“Right now, I’m in a state of waiting! Waiting until the U.S. finally lifts the ridiculous travel ban from Europe. That’s all I can do right now. My life changed to a state of waiting.” — Angela Brauchle

“It has reconnected me with nature. Instead of going to crowded events and eating in restaurants, I now hit the road on my motorcycle and cruise rural areas and small towns. Go fishing, hunting, and camping. Haven’t been back to restaurants yet and when I start back, it will be very sparingly. Don’t know if I will ever do cruises again. Will not do sporting events unless it’s with a small group in a skybox.” — Tony Williams

“I am living YOLO.” — Olga Ramirez

“It has made me realize even more not to take anything for granted. Especially summer activities: festivals, going out, eating out, grilling more, etc. Summer is way too short here in the Midwest regardless. If you’re lucky, you can have six decent months. Not wasting them anymore.” — Brice Notardonato Ellett

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