Recently, after a long drought of social obligations other than with close friends, I had two work events to attend in one week. And I am here to tell you—I am out of practice being out and about. After two pandemic years spent mostly at home, I’ve missed having easy conversations around a restaurant table while catching up with friends or meeting colleagues I’ve only ever seen on Zoom. It’s exciting to be easing back into the swing of life, but it’s also unfamiliar. I feel a bit socially awkward these days with questions of when to interject, when not to interrupt, who picks up the bill.
It also seems we have been given new permission to be homebodies and a little antisocial, blissfully so. There’s an undeniable pleasure to domesticity: curling up with a book, watching your favorite streaming show, or puttering around with projects. During the reopening, I’ve discovered how much I love coming back home after an event or a day at work. Now that I’m not in it as much, I realize how much I love and value my home as a sanctuary from the hubbub, the commuting, and the traffic. Walking in the front door feels like a warm hug. Making dinner feels cozy, especially if I put some effort into it and try something new. A colleague remarked that before the pandemic, she felt like home was a place to drop off things between appointments or a place to sleep between commutes. Now she’s a nester.
The pause of the pandemic, particularly during the early lockdown, made us see our houses or apartments in a new light. With more time away again, I feel like I have a deeper relationship to my house, like being away from a loved one then seeing them with fresh and appreciative eyes when we’re reunited.
The times still feel chaotic. And everyone’s mental health is more important than ever. The security and comfort of our homes are vital to providing a sense of well-being. That’s the point of Better Homes & Gardens, now in its 100th year—helping readers create the best, most fully realized version of their home life. Sometimes to appreciate familiar things clearly, we need to leave and come back in again to really feel at home.