Things people started during pandemic but soon wound up quitting


In Japanese, a person who starts engaging in some activity only to soon give up is referred to as a mikka bozu (a monk for three days). Weekly Playboy (June 20) set out to poll people about things they'd initiated from early in the pandemic, only to throw in the towel soon thereafter. If the responses proved one thing, it would be that it takes more than a serious pandemic to change human nature.

For instance, those seeking to breathe fresh air in the great outdoors initiated a mini-boom in camping. Unfortunately, many of these newbies soon tired of it, and afterwards found that the equipment they'd purchased just took up space in their homes.

"Since the kids' school activities were curtailed, I thought they would enjoy new experiences going camping," said a 38-year-old man employed in the financial sector. "I purchased a family-size tent, barbecue set and other stuff. In 2020 we went camping once or twice. The following year, the pandemic eased up and instead I took the wife and kids to a mineral hot springs, which was far more relaxing. My kid remarked, 'It's not tiring, the way camping is.' Since then we haven't gone camping and all the stuff I bought is just taking up space in the garage."

A 27-year-old government worker decided he'd take up cycling.

"I bought a bicycle for 50,000 yen," he said. "I rode it often last year, but these days I just spend my time loafing on the living room sofa. In the meantime the bike's tires both deflated. I realize it's a waste of money, but now the bike's just serving as part of the room's interior."

Some people were led to reexamine their careers and actually took action to do something about it, but with few favorable results.

A 26-year-old man in telecommunications, considered to be a "type with a high degree of awareness," was inspired to explore new vistas after he logged onto an "online salon."

"From quite some time ago, I'd been a follower of this person on Twitter, who I found fascinating," he relates. "He had set up his own salon, which I joined. But the first time the group organized a remote drinking party, the founder never bothered to participate. And after that, he organized a luncheon, for which the members had to pay out of pocket. During his speech, he went on and on about how great he was, and that was basically all that happened. The salon shut down after three months. I got nothing out of joining whatsoever."

The pandemic may have led more people to improve their conversational English, but it's questionable whether much was accomplished.

"I thought my work might benefit from learning English, so I signed up for lessons in 2020," said a 30-year-old female video photographer. "But the instructor just stuck to daily conversation topics. At first I kind of enjoyed being able to discuss cultural differences and so on, but it came to the point that the instructor kept constantly badmouthing his own country. Then he requested I tip him, and that was when I pulled the plug."

Finally, a 26-year-old man working for a manufacturer of household products, realizing that he was spending eight hours a day squinting at his smartphone, signed up for a digital detoxification program.

"The first thing I deleted was a news application," he said. "Instead, I subscribed to the print edition of the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. After a few days, though, the mostly unread newspapers just began to pile up unread, so I went back to reading from my smartphone."

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Camping: Spiders, ticks, pollen and mud. I can see how the joy might ease off.

People may have had time to do stuff during the pandemic, but now don't, so don't be too hard on yourself if you haven't become version 2.0 of your old self. A lot of folk found it tough going, suffered from depression and anxiety, or feared for their job/income. Others were attempting to juggle home-schooling, home-working and endless stress. That would have made it tough to focus on something else.

It might have been a bad idea to aim too high - attempting to learn a new language or to play an instrument. Some things are tough without reliable in-person tuition, and get tougher as you get older. We are not as young as we used to be.

I had a long list of stuff that I considered, but I think I would have failed miserably at most of it, no matter how long we had all been locked up. Trying to run a business through the pandemic (and Brexit), I aimed lower, digging over the garden and restarting a hobby. That turned out OK. Hobbies in general and gardening in particular are both good for staying sane and taking your mind off the mess we are all now in.

Spending too much, drinking too much alcohol and eating too much (without exercise) were easy traps to fall into, and for some they have continued post-pandemic. If you are struggling with stuff like that, talk to someone about it - friends or a counsellor.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I certainly quit more things than I started such as travel, nights out with friends, going to movies, etc.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Good time to trawl recycle shops for outdoor goods!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As a model maker being locked in the house with my stash of model kits made absolutely no difference to me... although one thing I DID try and soon gave up was not watching the news - I think I lasted 2 days

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Planting summer veggies in the veranda. Now that I'm back at the office, I knew I wouldn't be able to take care of my plants especially during business trips. I gave it up this year.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I tried getting into baking, but the bad part was having to eat my failed attempts lol it was like a time-consuming, expensive, punishment

3 ( +3 / -0 )

unfortunately, we only had a couple of months WFH and then we were back at the office, so not much has changed.

BUT I did buy a home gym and dumbells and weights and I am using them all the time (but not in this heat)

The one thing that I have more or less given up is dining out and izakaya drinking. Do everything at home now.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Things I stuck with: bicycling during my lunch break on WFH days and after work; studying programming during my spare time (WFH showed me what a great job programming could be if I got good); not drinking alcohol

Things I quit too soon: lifting weights while in my apartment (the Mrs. doesn't like it).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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