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It's nearly impossible to count the ways our lives have changed or the number of days we've spent enjoying our communities. Certainly, 2020 has changed our idea "20/20 vision" looks like. But regardless of where we are today, we can agree that when we return to life as we knew it, we'll have kept all that we've learned and carry it with us moving forward. For instance

1. All toilet paper is created equal. 

Before quarantine, maybe you favored a specific brand (lavender-scented, triple ridge toilet paper, anyone?). But from today's perspective, they all do the same thing, grocery shelves can attest to that. Who would've imagined that scouring through countless stores and gas stations could leave us feeling discouraged? Or refreshing websites for basic needs would become a daily ritual? Sure, everything feels a bit gloomy at the moment, but we can all appreciate the essential workers who help us meet our needs when things go right and when they don't.

2. Full dress code is non-negotiable. 

Putting on dress pants may not be rocket science, but at 6 a.m., it sure feels like it. Nevertheless, it may be safe to say that wearing pajama pants every day makes the circumstances feel a bit cozier. Whatever you do for work or however you spend your day, getting through each hour is nearly as enjoyable as your lives before this moment. Almost. There's something dignified about putting on a uniform or crisp button-up that makes you feel like a superhero.

3. At-home haircuts and dye jobs will be a thing of the past. 

If the style you were going for didn't exactly turn out the same way as the person on YouTube, at least you have time to grow in those patches. You can always wear a hat during virtual meetings and get back to your best self (with the help of a professional) by the time you’re back at the watercooler, genuinely interested in the fact that, yes, it's 60 degrees out and, no, you didn't hear it raining cats and dogs last night. Human interaction is something we all could use right now, even if it's harmless small talk.

4. In-person meetings are a welcome change. 

No more having to fidget with video conferencing platforms, talking over each other due to a bad internet connection or praying your webcam is off before quickly scarfing down your lunch. Given our time spent indoors, these in-person brainstorm sessions will only highlight your creative abilities.

5. Community takes on a whole new meaning. 

Each day we've seen people offer help wherever it's needed. Living on a specific street or in a particular community doesn't mean neighborly acts should only happen there. Each of us, in our own way, are doing our part to make those in uncomfortable situations feel a little closer to home and a lot closer to love. The community we feel so connected to has now never felt so big. We can take comfort in knowing that before all of this began, we spent time with our families and loved ones over the holidays, enjoying the meals we wait anxiously for each year and listening to relatives go on about how different things used to be. All of that, holidays or not, will happen again, and again and again.

6. Smiling burns calories. 

We all miss the days of spending time at the movies or taking our kids to the zoo. As a friendly reminder, those days aren't over. Just on hold. Continue making the most of the memories you've made indoors; there'll be plenty of stories to share once you're out on the town. That in itself may be enough to generate a smile across your face, concrete evidence of the impact a positive attitude can have in any situation.

7. Make-do activities may be your new passion. 

Whether it's putting puzzles together, filling up coloring books or trying at-home workouts, the tasks you adopted to help pass the time may have transformed into a hobby you can't go a day without. There's no better time than now to make mutual connections, virtual or otherwise, to keep your world turning in the right direction.

8. Tex-Mex restaurants will be back. 

Think of it now: that first sip of an iced margarita, sunny patio weather and fresh chips and salsa nearby. Whether or not you're from Texas, it's a pastime many have whole-heartedly adopted. That's one thing that makes Texas stand out from the rest. As hard as it’s been spending many beautiful spring days indoors, soon enough, you'll find most of us on someone's patio feeling grateful to experience the things that make Texas unique.

For a year that led many to believe it would be a year of clarity, 2020 has certainly lived up to expectations, if not exactly the way we envisioned, by offering a renewed appreciation of the things we can live without and the experiences we can't.

Friday April 24, 2020