What I miss now — and what I don’t



Early March,  Middleburg, VA. My last breath of freedom for a while. I miss travel!


By Caitlin Kelly

It’s been two months now of self-isolation, at least here in New York.

It will last at least another month, maybe two.

I only go out for walks and, maybe once or twice a week, to buy groceries or go to the hardware store or pharmacy.

It makes me feel normal, even though, of course, I’m wearing a mask.

Here’s what I miss most:


Leisurely, spontaneous chats, whether at the gym or on the street or in the hallway or lobby of our apartment building.

Spin class, three mornings a week. Super-fun, energizing and social. Helps with weight management.

Going to movies at my favorite local art film theater, sometimes three times a week, with popcorn.

A lazy afternoon wandering a few blocks of Manhattan, usually with a good meal or a drink.

Browsing stores. I rarely buy stuff, but I do enjoy looking.



Grand Central, taken from the balcony restaurant Cipriani


Grand Central Terminal, the station I commute from to our suburban town. It’s truly gorgeous, a cathedral of bustling elegance.

Having friends over for a meal, setting a pretty table to welcome them.

Sunshine! We have had truly depressing, terrible weather, week after week, with rain and temperatures in the 40s.

Our gorgeous, quiet, large, sun-filled town library with its tall ceilings and windows. I love sitting at one of its long wooden tables and savoring the silence.

Dressing well — make-up and decent clothes and pretty shoes. Not much point now!



Our last big trip, a week here in June 2019


Travel! It’s normal for us to always be planning our next trip, whether upstate to visit friends or back to Canada or overseas. I really really miss it.

A decent head of hair! Ohhhhh, I miss the hair salon.

What I don’t:


The New York subway, dirty and crowded.

Driving everywhere all the time. It’s not healthy for me or the environment, but also typical of suburban life with lousy public transportation and towns without sidewalks.




Too many magazines — we’ve drastically cut back on our subscriptions and I feel less overwhelmed.

Constant airplane and helicopter noise. We’re on a flight path to Westchester airport and live near the Rockefeller estate, so normal life adds a daily barrage of inescapable aviation noise.

Traffic! The streets and highways are practically empty.

Stupid public relations pitches. Normally, I get probably a few dozen every day, none of them of any interest to me. I find it really annoying. Now I get many fewer. Yay!

Robo-calls. Also much diminished.

Oddly, my friends. I’ve stayed in close contact with the people I value most, by phone or email or Skype. The rest? No time or energy anyway.


How about you?


24 thoughts on “What I miss now — and what I don’t

  1. Barbara Mahoney

    I enjoyed your piece. I miss some people – especially my grand daughter. If I’m perfectly honest there are some people I don’t miss.

    I miss going into the city on the train and browsing, people watching and stopping for a cup of coffee.

    I miss going out to the movies and having Chinese food.

    I miss going to concerts.

    One thing I actually like is virtually exercising from home. I do Barre and the studio offers a live virtual class every day. We can do it live or view the tape whenever we want. I find I’m actually exercising more! I’ve been doing it every day. I give myself one rest break a week. When I had to go to the studio I only did it a couple times a week.


    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Jan Jasper

    I miss volunteering at the animal shelter –
    I used to go a couple times a week. For over a decade I’ve been helping out. I worry now about cash-strapped people surrendering their pets to shelters and shelter staff needing more hands on deck. But my local shelter no longer allows volunteers.

  3. I’m with you — definitely don’t miss driving! I have so many more free hours in the week now, and I’m using them to do things like exercise classes, cooking, reading… Not driving is having a real impact on my quality of life.

    1. It’s so good to be OUT of the car and not feeling guilty every time I go — pollution. It’s saving us some gas $$.

      It’s interesting how we fill newly empty hours. I am finally (!) getting through huge piles of unread newspapers and magazines. Not books…Until those piles are GONE!

      1. Same here. And I’m saving a lot of money from not eating out. Those dinners with friends, lunches out and coffee treats add up to a lot.

        Sounds like a good way to spend free time. 🙂 I’m trying to exercise more as the downside of spending more time at home means I’m moving less. I’m excited to see that the New York City Ballet has posted home workouts on YouTube — definitely going to try them out!

      2. If you are on Insta — Gaynor Minden (ballet shoe maker) has pro ballerinas offering videos as is the artistic director of the Australian ballet.

        I have splurged a bit on some goodies — since not buying gas or restaurant food or travel coats — and am enjoying a new set of sheets and a rug, especially now so housebound.

        It’s POURING sheets already today.

        Shit — if I wanted Scottish/Irish weather, I’d live there.

      3. Oh, wonderful! I’ll take a look — thanks for the recommendations.

        I hope the weather clears up soon. It’s been dull, grey and rainy here today, too. This kind of weather makes me want to hibernate. Thank goodness for strong espresso to get me through the work day! And I just read an article that praised the health benefits of coffee. Not the first time I’d heard that, but it was the first time I’d heard that coffee might cause epigenetic changes! https://www.newscientist.com/article/2241666-drinking-coffee-appears-to-cause-epigenetic-changes-to-your-dna/

  4. i miss the in face-to-face human contact, the shared experiences like going to movies or concerts or classes. i miss seeing my family. i miss my pre-k classes and families. and i miss the freedom of being able to go where and when i wanted to go somewhere. i do enjoy the slowed pace of life, less of the busy-ness and unimportant drama of things, the return of nature and a healthier environment, and the quiet. an interesting phenomenon is happening in the field of education. after adjusting and struggling at first, many children and families are settling into the pace, the extra family time, less organized extra-curricular activities and better relationships with siblings. many parents never let their child get bored, therefore never having to exercise their imaginations and creative spirits, which are emerging as well. also, children that struggled in school, for a variety of reasons, find distance learning a more comfortable way to ‘do school.’

  5. I miss hugging people I care about. I miss going to movies and shows (I had tickets to a ballet and Wicked, both shows getting canceled). I miss going out without fearing what diseases people might accidentally give me just by passing by. And I miss the opportunity to go back to the Ohio State Reformatory for a convention. That’s gonna sting.
    I have to say though, I don’t miss going into the office. Working from home is nice.

      1. I appreciate you picture of Middleburg. I miss my friends and acquaintances there and the feel of the town itself. The plains and rolling landscape. Self isolation here in the epicenter is a challenge but Long held off painting the kitchen cabinets underway along with book reviews, clutter control and the adventures of food shopping for myself. I hate having to feel like I am in a leper’s colony avoiding other human beings as well as finding out how truly selfish many of my neighbors are. Without a boot on their necks they refuse to wear masks or adhere to the Sox ft. If I were murderous I could joyfully inform them their time on this planet has expired but the virus will probably save me the trouble🥴

      2. It was my first visit — so lovely! I treated myself to some nice things there (2 design books, some lemon shaped soaps) that I am now really enjoying.

        We have 3 pints of sample paint to test, so that’s a weekend project.

        Really sorry your neighbors are so shitty and selfish. It makes me so so so angry, especially as I have read many MDs narratives on Twitter about what a hellscape they are working in.

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