Before we know it, we are more than halfway past 2020 and the year is drawing to a close.
And honestly, this year hasn't been all that great.
Travel plans have been thwarted due to the coronavirus and things like putting on a mask before going out, have become the norm.
When we look back at pre-Covid-19 times, we realise how there are many things that we took for granted, things that we wish we could do again once this entire situation blows over.
Walking into shops without SafeEntry
In the past, we didn't give much thought to simply walking into a shopping mall without having to whip out our phones or NRICs.
Now, to track our movements, it is mandatory to check in and out of buildings using the SafeEntry digital system.
Frankly, it's quite a hassle to do it all the time when going in and out of shops. Personally, I am guilty of forgetting to check-out of places sometimes.
And woe betide anyone whose mobile phone has gone flat (with no NRIC on hand).
Multiple entry and exit points at malls
Not sure if you've noticed but some exits at shopping malls have been blocked off. And it can be really frustrating because it means having to make a huge detour just to get from the MRT station into the shopping mall.
For me, I have gotten lost in a mall for a good half an hour, trying to find an unblocked exit to the MRT.
Enjoy free sampling
Be it makeup products or ice cream, we love anything that is free, even samples. But during this period, sharing is not caring, so we guess that's why free sampling has to go.
While we miss being able to test out a product before deciding to purchase it, safety comes first.
Eating out in a big group
With social groups now limited to five people when we gather, we miss the company of a big group of friends.
Now that we have to choose who to go out with, some of us have accidentally discovered that we were the sixth person who had to be "kicked out" in order for the rest of the group to hang out. Ouch.
Don't even think about playing the system and trying to split tables in a restaurant. Not only does it have consequences for you, it may also cause the restaurant to be suspended as well.
Birthday parties and blowing out candles in public
No more big birthday parties where you can invite your friends, family, extended family and neighbours to celebrate with you. And while you can try hanging out together on Zoom, it's really not quite the same.
Even if you keep it to a small group, blowing out candles may be hard to do in public because it would essentially mean that you're spitting on the cake and those droplets may accidentally fly around.
Alternatively, you can opt for digital candles and "blow" the flames out with a wave of your hand.
Or do it like this guy:
No time limit in restaurants and cafes
With social distancing in place, some restaurants and cafes have reduced seating capacity compared to pre-Covid-19. And to ensure that more people are able to enjoy dine-in service, they have also implemented a time limit for consuming food.
Sadly, that means we can't spend more than one or two hours catching up with our friends before having to leave the restaurant.
Dining at certain restaurants are also strictly by reservation only, and that means we can't decide what to have on a whim.
Thankfully, we can still enjoy buffets during this time. But, what's different is that we can no longer help ourselves to the food.
While we are grateful that we now have someone to deliver us our free-flow buffet, it also means waiting longer for our food to arrive if the waiter is busy serving someone else.
Oh, and if you're the pai seh type, you may hesitate to order that nth helping without worrying about copping some major side-eye.
Travelling (to JB)
Our travel plans have been rendered useless this year, no thanks to Covid-19. Gone are the days of trips to exotic locations and impromptu weekend getaways.
Even just hopping over to JB to get some cheap food or pump petrol, something that we could do whenever we fancied, can't be done – at least for now.
In the meantime, we can save money and prepare for when borders reopen across the world again.
As an avid karaoke fan, this is one thing I'd wish I had done more of before the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, karaoke bars still can't open and all I can do now is to sing in my shower while waiting.
Guess we'll just have to find other forms of entertainment temporarily.
Browsing in the library
If you haven't heard the news yet, public libraries have reopened since July 1. However, unlike in the past where you could spend an entire day in the library, visits are now limited to a 30-minute time slot.
Hence, instead of being able to study or read a book at designated areas, we can only borrow and return materials in the library.
Free air conditioning at work
While some of us might have already returned to the office to work, there are those who are still working from home.
And while we do miss being around our colleagues, we miss the free air conditioning more (oops), without having to watch the electricity bill, no thanks to our always sunny and humid weather.
I don't know about you but for me, it feels weird not to hug my friends when we meet. Pre-Covid-19, it was natural for me to give my friends a hug when we meet or before parting ways.
Even after finally being able to see your friends after months, our greetings are now tempered by safe-distancing concerns and it feels a little strange. Better to be safe than sorry, I guess.