News & Politics

Restrictions Are Lifted and Offices Are Opening. But Some Washingtonians’ Lives Won’t Ever Return to Normal.

We asked people how their lives had taken a new direction. Here's what they said.

Photo by jmmf via iStock.

Ninety-six percent of the respondents to a recent 730DC survey said their lives had taken a “new direction” since February 2020. So as restrictions lift and life slowly returns to something like it was before the pandemic, we asked Washingtonians exactly how their lives have changed. Here are some of their responses, some of which have been edited for clarity.

“Since March of 2020, I relocated from Chicago to DC and completely changed industries. I was an event planner at a boutique hotel and now I’m a government contractor. I had originally moved to Chicago to pursue standup comedy and take classes at the Second City. That all came to a screeching halt with the pandemic and I felt like a lot of progress I had made was lost. Although I’m at a good place with my ‘day job’ now, I’m still trying to find my footing/motivation to continue performing comedy.” —Colleen Brown

“I hired a career coach to help evaluate what really matters to me. I highly recommend.” —Claudia Pors

“Lost my job then started a business. Recently built a barbershop/art gallery.” —Darius Davie

Darius Davie opened Groom Guy, a boutique barbershop/art gallery in the Yours Truly Hotel. Photograph by Ja’Mon Jackson.

“The pandemic gave me the courage to quit my job and re-apply to college. After an academic dismissal and seven years of soul-searching, Covid happened, and I decided I’ll never get an opportunity to make a change and challenge myself like this again. I took it. I happy-cry everyday, knowing I’ve come so far in just a year and a half. I’m tearing up while writing this. I will be graduating soon (only took 12 years to get a bachelor’s degree, ha!), and have made it my goal to go to GW or Georgetown for law school next fall. Besides my family, husband, and one to two close friends, nobody really knows I didn’t finish my undergraduate career. So… honestly I’ve never been more happy in my life. I finally did something for ME! Not to prove anyone else wrong, or to be better than anyone, or to avoid disappointing people. I found freedom during the pandemic, and for that I’m eternally grateful.” —Name withheld by request

“Facing FOMO tendencies (read aggressive over schedule) and embracing stillness.” —Holly Tobin

“Being more aware of mental health and accepting I need therapy to deal with anxiety.” —Emily Perego

“More focused on building relationships outside a career and even starting my own family.” —Alyse Gray Parker

“Got divorced. Looking for a job. Basically the two biggest things in one’s life and they both changed.” —Erik Cox

“Ended a three-year relationship in November. Already in a new/better one.” —Gina Psallidas

“Partner and I moved in together. Was scared to settle down before, now I love it.” —Leah Brown

“Bought a new car, our first home, and got engaged!” —Rebecca Yatovitz

“I got married! I loved our low-pressure outdoor civil ceremony with just the two of us!” — Whitney Kenerly

“My husband and I grew a pandemic garden with many flowers including ten types of dahlias. Then I grew my own Dahlia baby! She was born in March 2021, nearly exactly a year after everything shut down for quarantine.” —Sunny Thompson Durak

“Started fostering dogs!” —Mari Planas

“Cooking became a passion. As well as photography.” —Shanjida R Imran

“Started doing creative writing.” —Kriti Jain

“Let’s talk about the number of people that have bought a Cricut and DIY’ed everything.” —Liberty Baking Co. 


Editorial Fellow

Anne Tate, originally from Annapolis, MD, joined Washingtonian in July 2021. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied journalism and psychology.