The Good, The Bad of Last Year

Published: March 12, 2021

By Jim Lichtman
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Looking back over the past year we have faced the challenges of a lifetime.

During that past year, Pew Research has been asking American’s their views and reactions to the COVID-19 virus. How the virus has affected their lives. The results show a mix of the depressed, fortunate, money-savers, readers, angry, happy and more… Here is just a small sampling of the responses reported by Pew. (click the link to read many more.)

“Several friends have contracted COVID, many will have lifelong health conditions as a result. Other friends have had parents and family pass away. It is an emotional rollercoaster. My son suffers from depression. Anxiety is high.” A woman, 30-49

“Being very grateful for what I have … a loving relationship with my husband, both of us being retired so that we don’t need to venture out to put ourselves at risk (we want to live to hug our grandchildren again) and having the space and financial resources to be comfortable.” A woman, 65+

“I’m stuck in the house with my husband whom I’ve wanted to divorce for months.” A woman, 30-49

“People are weird and untrusting of others, social gatherings are nonexistent and the stupid masks are ineffective and just plain suck. I am DONE playing this game. DONE!” A woman, 50-64

“I’ve engaged in conversations on inequality (racism, biased welfare programs, science ignorance, LGBTQ+) rather than avoiding the topics and not having my family justify their bigotry.” A man, 30-49

“Trouble reasoning with nonbelievers or COVID deniers. Frustrations around getting people to abide by the regulations in place to actually slow the spread and reduce infections.” A man, 30-49

“My house is VERY clean.” A woman, 30-49

“Difficulties navigating my relationship being in constant close quarters with my partner, feeling socially disconnected or stir-crazy, feelings of boredom or ennui.” A man, 18-29

“Less door-to-door sales and/or religious folk stopping by. I like my privacy. I’m retired and live on a small farm. I hate dealing with people so now I don’t have to. I’m a prepper and am stocked up, grow my own food, etc. so those that called me a nut case now ask for advice and see I’m not so crazy after all.” A man, 50-64

“People without masks make me irritable. They are inconsiderate and self-centered. Avoiding them is a huge focus.” A woman, 50-64

“We are thankful we have not gotten COVID due to the knowledge shared by scientific experts about masking and distancing, which we have been following diligently.” A woman, 30-49

“I got sick and lost my job. My boss thought it was all made up because he thought the virus was a hoax.” A woman, 50-64

“I miss sharing experiences with others: a meal out, concert or a hike.” A woman, 50-64

“I feel isolated and fearful of contracting the virus. I worry about where our country is going in the future.” A woman, 65+

“Stock market is doing well.” A woman, 50-64

“My life has literally fallen apart since the virus caused the stay-at-home orders… I’m feeling desperate, scared, and cannot find a new job no matter how many I apply to. I am feeling helpless and alone and scared.” A woman, 30-49

“Gotten to know neighbors better. Have had some good times in the neighborhood.” A woman, 50-64

“My wife and I know 10 people (friends and family) who have lost their lives to COVID.” A man, 65+

“I enjoy and am much more productive working from home.” A woman, 30-49

“My husband, although in a high-risk group, is one of those people who thinks this is blown out of proportion. He is a Trump supporter. We cannot talk about any of this, because it makes me too angry. Other than that, he’s a great guy…” A woman, 50-64

“I’m sick of wearing a mask that doesn’t do anything. I’m sick of all the fake news and the U.S. media censoring of information.” A man, 50-64

“Due to the clear information coming from Governor Newsom about COVID-19 and county public health offices, my immediate family remains healthy as we are adhering to guidelines.” A woman, 50-64

“Seeing people step up to help out others when they never had before. To see the transformation in their lives is truly amazing and gives me some hope for the future.” A woman, 65+

“This is actually the most terrifying thing in my lifetime NOT because of the virus, but because what the media lies and hysteria have done to this country. How many tens of millions were infected with H1N1? Crickets from the media. States weren’t shut down and schools were open and H1N1 affected younger people.” A woman, 65+

“Watching the seemingly vast inconsideration for one another in our community…” A man, 65

“People are actually being more kind in our area.” A woman, 65+

“I miss my friends and family; I’m more fearful about being in public. I’m forming negative opinions about people based on how/if they wear their masks. I’m frustrated and angry over the destruction of the CDC and our withdrawal from the WHO. Don’t feel I know who to trust.” A woman, 50-64

“Since I am 80 years old, I’m a member of a more vulnerable demographic. I don’t go shopping for food or anything else. We have everything, including restaurant meals, delivered … even my favorite scotch.” A man 65+

“I’ve made good use of my time to read, do work around the house, and advocate for people to become more informed and to learn how better to filter and judge the information being spread.” A man, 65+

“It has nearly killed the business I manage as I have had to lay off 80% of my staff/employees due to a lack of sales.” A man, 50-64

“More personal reflection. More thought to how my actions affect others. More compassion and empathy and focus on others.” A woman, 65+

“Politicians are fighting as fiercely and as polarized as ever. This is how the republic of the United States ends. What comes next is uncertain: autocracy, fascism, civil war, chaos?” A man, 30-49

“Practicing being grateful for what I have.” A woman, 50-64

“I’m stressed because I do not have an income anymore. I started drinking more. I’m stressed because I gained weight from drinking.” A woman, 30-49

“I have spent more time with my boyfriend than I thought would be possible. Our relationship has solidified in ways that I don’t think it would have otherwise. I have learned that I can live without many things. A woman, 18-29

“It’s difficult seeing the uncaring and the young ignoring the facts about the need to wear a mask. I don’t care who’s president, they’ll never be able to stop this virus with the current public mentality. Every time the virus numbers start going down, a bunch of idiots find the need to have a mass gathering without masks and send the numbers right back up again.” A woman, 30-49

“It’s good to see how people come together in moments of crisis. Working together to ensure that we all stay safe and healthy.” A woman, 50-64

“I have not been able to go to the bar and as such have lost contact with many casual acquaintances, possibly forever.” A woman, 30-49

“The pandemic has certainly brought clarity to our family. The importance of our kids and each other is crystal clear. While it’s been challenging all being home together, it’s been a joy to have so much time with our small kids.” A man, 30-49

“Everyone has overreacted to this virus…” A woman, 50-64

“I’ve had disputes with friends and family members who refuse to believe COVID is a serious problem.” A woman, 50-64

“I like the live-streamed synagogue services; I can participate from home without getting up early, wearing a dress or driving.” A woman, 65+

“I am a teacher and have worked myself to the bone to deliver education remotely. It’s completely exhausting.” A woman, 30-49

“I’m an RN, so it has made being a health care provider more challenging. Oncology patients are petrified to come to the oncology clinic and it has been detrimental to their plan of care.” A woman, 30-49

“Really realizing how lucky we are that we have what we’ve got and be thankful.” A man, 65+

“My depression has gotten worse, and I almost lost my job because of it.” A man, 30-49

“Slowing down and reflecting on what’s truly important has been nice.” A man, 30-49

“It’s stressful to even go out to the grocery store.” A woman, 65+

“I love my morning commute … down the stairs to my in-home office. I believe we’ve all learned a lot from this exercise. We can be productive while working remotely. That will impact the way we conduct our business moving forward.” A man, 50-64

“We started out feeling optimistic and grateful for how fortunate we are, and still feel that way, but we underestimated how much the isolation would affect us psychologically and emotionally. We are doing OK, but we are really not ourselves and the thought of another school year like this has been very depressing to us all.”A woman, 50-64

“I’ve spent less money, so my financial condition has actually improved.” A man, 65+

How we handle what life throws at us depends on our strength, courage and resolve to move forward and… … it’s not easy.


  1. Wow–you really posted A-Z responses. I am glad to be healthy, have friends and family and food on the table. With acceptance, I move forward to something different.

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