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People Are Sharing Their Regrets From The Beginning Of 2020 — Here Are Some Of The Biggest Ones

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Mom putting mask on daughter

For practically every single one of us, 2020 was a year of firsts — most notably, our first pandemic.

Most of us in the United States, at least, were lucky enough to have never experienced a lockdown or a quarantine before that fateful March day when everything shut down. The last global pandemic was in 1918, after all!

So it’s no surprise that some of us did some stuff in those first brain-scrambling weeks of the pandemic that now seems a little misguided, ill-advised, or maybe even downright nuts in the comparatively less panic-stricken days of almost-2023.

Folks on Reddit recently got into a conversation about mistakes that "bit people in the a-- during the pandemic," pointing out all kinds of foibles and hiccups that the quarantine wrought — and if you’re thinking it’s just to do with needlessly wiping our groceries down with bleach wipes for weeks, think again.

We’re talking mistakes that emptied wallets, wrecked relationships and might even send people to court… or maybe even jail?

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Here are Reddit's biggest pandemic regrets:

Bad financial decisions–and downright disastrous real estate deals

By far, decisions that impacted people’s finances were the ones that seemed to sting most people on Reddit.

One user pointed out all of the people who failed to jump on the low-interest rates of 2020, especially now that rates have soared as the government seeks to deal with inflation.

But that's an easy problem compared to people who actually moved to new homes in the early days of 2020 to be closer to work–only to end up working from home weeks later, and for the foreseeable future.

“We moved across the street from where my spouse's work was constructing their new office building, estimated to be completed summer 2020," one user wrote.

"Their entire department of several hundred people was laid off before it ever opened.”

And then of course there’s the scores of people who paid thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars over the asking price to buy houses they now regret.

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a buyer’s remorse that affects 75% of 2021 home buyers according to a recent survey.

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Lots of people committed unemployment fraud — and now the government is coming for their cash.

Several Redditors called out the “insane” number of people who filed for unemployment under the federal government’s various COVID-19 relief packages, even though they didn’t qualify.

Others did qualify, but not for the entire amount they were eventually rewarded. Like a friend of one Redditor’s wife who lost one of her two jobs due to the pandemic, but kept the other while collecting unemployment–and is now having her wages garnished by Uncle Sam.

That's bad enough, but unemployment fraud is also a felony eligible for a prison sentence in some states.

As one Redditor with experience in the military put it:

“If the government overpays you, set that money to the side. It’s not yours, and someday in the future when you’re having a real sh-t day they’re gonna come around asking for it. The government always gets its money.”


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Relationship drama, messy divorces, and lots and LOTS of affairs

One Redditor referenced a thread from the early days of the pandemic dedicated solely to people who were living “double lives” with lovers and even entire secret families on the side who suddenly got exposed once it became unsafe to, you know, leave the house to live said double life.

After all, it’s pretty difficult to “maintain two separate lives under the guise of lengthy business trips for years,” as one Redditor described it, when you’re suddenly working from home all day, every day. 

But even without those dramatic stakes, the dawning of the pandemic lockdowns dealt a blow to people’s home lives. As one Redditor put it:

“It turns out that a lot of people aren't compatible cohabitants but working full-time outside the house made it less obvious.”

And if you needed more evidence of just how messy things got during quarantine, just ask this Redditor who works in the branch of the legal profession that deals with divorce, custody, and the like:

“I work in family law, the pandemic pushed us to max client capacity by June 2020 and it is not slowing down.”

We’re coming up on year three of this pandemic-related relationship mess, with no end in sight it seems. Now that’s drama.

It kind of makes the mistake that most of us made — what one Redditor called “eating like I never had to see people again” — seem downright tame by comparison.

A bit of extra padding around the midsection from housing pints of ice cream and stress-eating chips? Count your blessings. At least it’s not an overpriced house full of soap opera-level relationship drama!

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.