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Image / Self / Real-life Stories

Pandemic regrets: 20 things we would have done differently if we’d known what was ahead


By Amanda Cassidy
25th Jul 2021
Pandemic regrets: 20 things we would have done differently if we’d known what was ahead

Bought shares in Zoom, learned how to bake, invested in a campervan...hundreds have been taking to social media to reflect on the last 18 months and what they would have done differently

Do you wish you’d rented that cottage by the sea for the darkest months of lockdown? Or regret taking on a new job where your watercooler moments were hacked down to awkward Zoom calls instead?

I wish I hadn’t let the pressure of homeschooling get to me. Maybe I should have hired a tutor, or just let the kids play outside all day.

But it’s easy to sit back and tweak the past when we know the outcome. Some of the answers that that very question posed on Twitter last week might surprise you.

“I should have set up supermarket online shopping accounts and only used click and collect. I’m pretty sure we picked up covid on a supermarket trip” wrote Stephanie Cole. “I’d have organised a bubble with my grandparents. We weren’t seeing anyone else and they were so lonely” wrote a Twitter user called Slowrunner.

“Bigger freezer!” wrote Rachel.

“I wish I hadn’t taken a holiday in Seville in February where I’m pretty sure I had Covid,” wrote another commenter. “Bought masks earlier!” wrote another. “Put in a pool” said Tim Begly.

Getting away from it all

And travel was the main feature when it came to regrets about live since January 2020.

“I should have moved to Sweden, they stayed mostly open, schools were mostly open too. They only had a few more cases and deaths than the average in 2020,” decided Alex P.

“I should have buggered off to Australia to see my newborn grandson” admitted P McL.

“Wish I’d taken a sabbatical and moved to a small island,” said Nahid B. Zach shared those sentiments. “I should have moved country. I’m a teenager. I wish I could have gone to school feeling protected from more severe covid side effects.”

“I so wish I’d built a garden office so four people weren’t doing live lessons at the same time in a small house. Pretty convinced the whole street knows more about maths now thank to my husband’s booming voice. We never thought it would last that long.” explained Rebecca B.

Too little, too late

Much of the commentary online also involved people wishing they’d done more to avoid getting the virus, if they could go back in time.

“I’d have been much more insistent in early march that my husband didn’t go out with his mates. In fact, I’d have double-locked the door and hidden the keys. All of them went down with Covid (two ended up in hospital) and I caught it caring for my husband.” said Hattie.

“I should have bought a campervan before the prices rocketed,” pointed out Jane M, while Sandra L admitted she’d have changed nothing. “I saw it coming. I actually watch and read the news. It was a fantasy to think we would somehow not have succumbed to the virus. But why did I think I needed to buy flour? Still piled high in the cupboard!”

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“I’d have gone back in time and bought shares in supermarkets, Zoom and Bitcoin and have moved closer to family. I’d have ventilated more in Nov/Dec and that would have I’m sure helped me not catch Covid which I did. Luckily I was far from my parents so they were safe’ Ciara tweeted.

Of course, most of the responses also involved family.

“We had our second child in Jan 2020 and would have visited a lot more family and friends between then and March. A year and a half on and there are still loved ones that haven’t met her yet,” Jame said.

“Seen more friends”

“I’d have told my uncle not to go into hospital for tests. That’s where he contracted covid and died, unfortunately,” Vicky shared. Smithers agreed; “I can relate to that. Avoided it for a year, then in Jan 2021 got admitted to hospital for non-covid illness. Caught it there. Nurse was saying about 90% of the staff there had it at some point”.

“I wish I’d kept my kids in school in person. I took them out too early because I was nervous and I’m seeing some problems now. I also wish I’d spent more time with friends instead of staying so locked down. I now know how to do that more safely,” said Tessa R.

“I wish I made my family wear masks at Christmas when four family members contracted covid,” Claire commented.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda

But, like everything, sometimes it comes down to cold hard cash decisions.

“I wish I hadn’t opened a coffee shop a month after the pandemic started’ graned Lionel C. “I”d have blown all my cash on nice restaurants before they locked down,” Kay contributed.

“I left my well-paid job at the end of Feb 2020. If I’d stayed I could have been furloughed on 80% pay for 18 months and then left.” Paul Clark explained.

“Why didn’t I started a PPE company?” Steven screamed into the void. “Or a toilet paper factory…”