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No hangouts, no hookups, more stargazing

Millennials, amid the pandemic, seem to have travelled back in time – taking pleasure in the simple joys of life in a world that has slowed down

‘Weekends’ – this word held a special significance for millennials like us until the pandemic happened. The pre-Corona world was a different one – and we all are aware of that. But for millennials, life has taken a step back in time. From the way we hang out, to the way we date – our life post-Corona has definitely altered.

Initially, weekends were the most-awaited time of the week for us. After a week’s work, we would make plans for the off days. Be it meeting friends or venturing out to explore the city or a new restaurant or a small house party, socialising was an integral part of weekly offs. Then again, for some who craved ‘me-time’, weekends might have been the best time to just curl up in bed and binge-watch a Netflix series.

A virus has changed the entire scenario. House gatherings – rare – are the closest we can officially get to hang out in the unlocking phase. But one may not want to risk calling friends over or meeting them for fear of contagion. Thus it is often a video or phone call that satisfies our want to do so.

Exploring the city isn’t fun anymore, rather, it’s a scary prospect. Moreover, the only place to explore every week turns out to be the grocery store. And sometimes going out for grocery excites us – because we get to go out at least! For instance, once I was so bored at home, being in my pyjamas all the time, that I literally dressed up only to buy veggies.

Eating out sounds like a dream. Though restaurants are re-opening, gone are the days when we enjoyed our meal without worrying about whether someone who might be infected had sneezed on it. We can order online but some of us are even apprehensive of that!

My friend ordered biryani the other day. After months, she decided to eat something other than homemade food. However, the experience was marred because she confessed that while having it, she wasn’t fully comfortable. Not everyone has such qualms. Some of us are enjoying food from outside. Still, dressing up, going to a restaurant and checking the menu to order – all these are rituals we miss.

Pre-Corona, most of us used to plan out the whole weekend and keep up a busy schedule. This, sometimes, became the reason we struggled with our household chores. Be it cleaning, washing our clothes or repairing a tap that has been leaking – we had difficulty finding time to get all these chores done. But since now we are always mostly home, we do get the time to fix or repair, or clean. Spending so much time indoors leaves us with no other option!

Our hobbies, even if we had any, weren’t nurtured. Maybe we sidelined them, as we got ‘busy.’ But during this pandemic, many of us have rediscovered and rekindled our love for them. I learnt cooking; started painting again and discovered karaoke! One of my friends started learning a new instrument; another one discovered her love for writing and started a blog. Like this, many have taken up different indoor hobbies and it seems like we are back in the 90s!

The way millennials date has also changed. Not to sound judgemental, but straying and casual dating were a frequent phenomenon. Dating apps like Tinder, Hinge or Bumble made this easier. One swipe – and a date is yours. And there were so many options to choose from. Not any more.

Social distancing being the new norm, we are not open to meeting new people. And we only trust people we have known since quite some time. They can be infected too, but probably it’s just a psychological thing – that we tend to feel secure around them.

And also, knowing someone for a long time means you know their whereabouts and habits – so this gives an assurance too. Thus, more millennials have stopped straying, and are holding on to a single partner. Quite a change that has come about in the ‘hook-up culture.’ Still, dating apps are being used – probably to kill boredom, or just for a ‘friendly chat.’

One thing I have realised is that many of us feel like they are back to the old days – when going out was not a ‘thing.’ And weekends meant visiting a friend who lives nearby or cooking a meal or maybe reading that book you have long intended to.

Since the pandemic has started, I have been skygazing more often – something that I used to do as a child. Somewhere in the fast-paced world, in the world of hashtags and filters, millennials forgot their roots – they forgot how to slow down.

At present, there aren’t any big events to attend, nor any coffee dates to dress up for – but we surely have the terrace where we can watch the sunset, and we have that one friend who we call up or meet when we feel vulnerable — no filters, no Insta moments – but only heartfelt conversations. And that’s probably the biggest advantage ‘time travel’ brought for us!