I haven’t left the state since March, which has been hard because we're a family who loves to travel. But nevertheless, we’ve settled into a new routine the last two months and life here doesn’t seem so bad even though it still isn’t “normal.”
We've avoided indoor spaces as much as possible. The exception is the grocery store, but my kids can't go with me anymore. Happy hour is done on residential patios. We play in the yard when it isn’t too hot and we spend the remainder of the days swimming at a nearby pool. We play tennis or golf when we can, wear our masks if we have to and see our small group of friends regularly.
In short, we are lucky. Our life here pretty good.
That was confirmed to me even more after traveling to New York City a few weeks ago for a last-minute work meeting. Life there was eerie. Stores and restaurants were all boarded up. Makeshift patios were being constructed in the streets to give business owners a chance to survive, even though most of those patios sat empty. While walking down one of the busiest streets in the city, I passed less than 10 people. Normally there would be hundreds of people packing the sidewalks at any given point. Masks are required inside and out.
Green spaces were a little busier. I saw kids riding scooters and couldn’t help but think how that is likely one of very few options for them. Most New Yorkers don’t have yards and, in most cases, no patios either. Those who couldn’t escape the city this spring lived in confined spaces. Their city was in crisis and the mental health of kids and adults surely took a hit.
The trip definitely made me count my lucky stars for the life we are able to live here — one with restrictions but opportunity. Here are a few reasons I feel lucky living in Omaha during the coronavirus pandemic.
• Outdoor activities. Many Omahans have yards to enjoy activities outside. But for those who don't — or those who want a change of scenery — there are lots of outdoor spaces open to the public, like pools, tennis courts, miniature golf, the zoo, baseball fields, parks and golf courses.
• To-go service. Many restaurants were able to survive thanks to Nebraska allowing take-out food and alcohol.
• Cars. Many people in Omaha have cars and can go for a drive or go sit on someone’s driveway to chat. All of the signature yellow taxis in New York City are gone and the subway is only recommended for essential workers, which means thousands to millions of residents had to walk or bike anywhere they wanted to go. I feel so lucky I am able to drive anywhere I need to go or even just go for a drive (hello, Safari Park!) when we need a break.
Time will tell if we continue to get better or have to return to businesses closing back down and people having to stay home more. But I'm hopeful things are better by the time it’s cold (not sure i’ll be able to remain as optimistic then). In the meantime, I continue to feel thankful that my family and I are able to live comfortably here in Nebraska where life is pretty good.