Welcome. I’m ready for the living room to be the living room again, and not the living/working/exercising/languishing room it’s been for the past 14 months. We’ve been demanding a lot of our rooms during the pandemic, stretching them to accommodate activities usually assigned to schools, gyms, movie theaters and offices. The rooms have complied, groaning perhaps, but performing their double and triple duties admirably. Any surface, it turns out, can be a laptop desk.
The Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman and the photographer Sinna Nasseri took a look at public spaces that have been transformed into vaccination sites. Strip malls and sports venues, quiet for a year, are now full of people waiting in line for shots. “Photographs of these places look no less surreal than last year’s pictures of empty squares,” writes Kimmelman. “Their message is similar, too: that, like all crises, the pandemic is an opportunity.” He sees the reconfiguration of these spaces as “proof that change can happen — that we can reboot, nimbly, at scale, if we have the will and a little imagination.”
While we’re mulling transformation, Tara Parker-Pope has a message for those of us who worry we’ve squandered an opportunity to create new and healthy habits during the pandemic: “The good news is that the end of the pandemic is probably a more opportune time for meaningful change than when you were experiencing the heightened anxiety of lockdowns,” she writes.
If you’re ready to make some changes in your own life, sign up for her 10-Day Fresh Start Challenge. You’ll get one or two messages a day “to prompt moments of mindful reflection, build stronger connections and take small steps toward building healthy new habits.” Text “Hi” to 917-809-4995 to receive a sign-up link. (If you’re on your phone now, tap here to send the text. Message and data rates may apply.) Or just follow along at nytimes.com/well. The challenge starts Monday, May 17.
More than 100 million Americans have been vaccinated. People are traveling, eating in restaurants, seeing their families again. But “normal” hasn’t quite arrived: Masks are still required on public transportation and inside many buildings, remote work is still in the cards at many companies and younger children still cannot be vaccinated. With all that in mind, are you making plans for the summer? Will you be revisiting past traditions or vacation spots? Are parties, concerts and other in-person events in your plans, or not yet? What are you hoping your life will look like as we go forward? Tell us here.
And, of course, write us and let us know how you’re spending your time, what’s on your mind, what you could use a hand figuring out these days: email@example.com. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. More ideas for leading a full life at home or near it appear below.