When out for a walk with Floppy Ears this week (one of the few forms of exercise still allowed here), she spotted canine friend Arthur.

Desperate to visit, she cried and tugged at her leash while I held her tight and waved at Arthur’s owner across our small town’s main street.

And in that moment, I realized that like my sociable hound, I’m tired of the restrictions we’re living under— “lockdown weary” as I described it in an email to my sister-cousin.

Yet, and with a stay-at-home order in Ontario, Canada and nearing the end of a month that has often felt like a year, I was once again reminded of my late mother.

Not only was one of her favourite expressions “count the pluses” (of which there are many in my life), but where possible, she encouraged me to reframe my grumbles into something more positive.

So, instead of lamenting what I’m missing, in the spirit of changing my perspective I’m sharing five things I’m looking forward to once Covid-19 vaccines are rolled out and a more ‘normal’ life resumes.


After months of not being able to leave my local area, I want to go somewhere, anywhere, and preferably by air because even waiting in an airport (people watching!) will seem exotic, fun and new.

Going to church

Even before the pandemic, much of my life was online but church wasn’t and I cherished that time on Sunday morning, gathered in worship with friends and neighbours. In additional to spiritual growth, for me church is social so I’m excited about once again sitting in a full sanctuary with live music and, after the service, chatting over coffee and treats.

A restaurant dinner and movie

Instead of a takeout meal and Netflix on the sofa, I want to go out for dinner with Tech Guy and see a movie in a cinema too. Having a ‘date’ outside our home helps nurture our relationship and that’s easier when laundry and a messy kitchen aren’t in view.

Meeting with friends and family 

From having a cup of tea with a friend whose house I can see from mine, to visiting a more far-flung friend in Wales and enjoying afternoon tea at a favourite seafront hotel, I’m looking forward to connecting with people in real life, rather than by telephone and screen.

Writing conferences

Although there are many benefits to virtual gatherings, reduced cost in particular, there is no adequate virtual substitute for physically being with people who ‘get’ what being a career author means.

I’m an introvert and will never be the life of any party, but I want to socialize in person with author friends and share the ups and downs of the writing life with like-minded peers.


As I tugged a complaining Floppy Ears along a snow-covered path farther away from Arthur, I tried to distract her while realizing I needed to distract myself as well. 

When I got home, I ordered travel brochures, forgoing the online download for paper copies which are being sent to me through the mail. I also dug out recipe books to salivate over afternoon tea ideas and am browsing local restaurant menus with anticipation rather than regret. 

As for Floppy Ears? As soon as it’s safe to do so, play dates with dog friends are in her future! 

If you’re sheltering at home, what are you looking forward to when lockdown ends?


  1. Lynn Folliott

    Thanks for the pertinent, post, Jen. Your mum’s ‘count the pluses’ is something more of us should do and I try. Missing a pet and living alone can be trying…but there are many pluses I need to focus on. Take care and enjoy your snowy walks with your furry girl. xo

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’re welcome, Lynn. Thank you for reading and commenting on my post. I appreciate that lockdown must be harder on you than many. Floppy Ears sends you a virtual tail wag! I hope you continue to enjoy your own walks. *Hugs* xo

  2. Heidi Vanstone

    Yes, lockdown weary is a good term to describe our collective social angst, I think. I am looking forward to reconnecting with friends and family (in person!!) without mentally calculating if I am far enough away from them to be safe. What I took for granted a year ago will never be considered “ordinary” again!

    • Jen Gilroy

      That ‘mentally calculating’ distance between myself and someone else feels so odd, Heidi, but yet has become instinctive for me as well. It will be such a relief not to have to do that in future. And yes, like you there are so many ‘ordinary’ things I once ‘took for granted’ but never will again.

  3. sophie claire

    I love ‘count the pluses’! And like you, the RNA conference is one of the things I’m most hoping to go to post-Covid. Hope to see you there Jen.x

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Sophie. ‘Count the pluses’ always makes me smile because it’s such a special reminder of my mother. As soon as I’m able to travel and there’s an in-person RNA conference, I’ll be there! I’m looking forward to seeing you again too. x

  4. Lydia

    I look forward to hugging my relatives and spending time with them again. It’s been far too long.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Me too, Lydia. Hugs are the best! Thanks for sharing what you’re looking forward to once lockdown ends.


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