COVID-19. Coronavirus. Global pandemic. Whatever you want to call it, the magnitude of our current situation is hard to fathom. I hope it never happens again, but if we’ve learned anything from this it’s that, even on a planet as large as ours, billions of people are still so very connected; anything is possible. In times like these, however, there’s always a silver lining – if we just allow ourselves to see it.
Disclaimer: I do not have my head in the sand, and I realize the severity of this pandemic for millions of people around the world. Justifiably, there is fear, uncertainty, and stress surrounding many individuals, and I don’t want to underestimate these challenges by pretending it’s all rainbows and unicorns. This is, however, an attempt to find some positive aspects to what we’re experiencing. With that said…
We’ve just finished day two of work and school from home. It hasn’t been easy by any stretch of the imagination, but I know we’ll manage. After just 48 hours, I’m realizing that there are some positives to our new alternate reality.
Time with family
Ask me in a week if I still consider this to be a good thing, but I know it is, and I know we’ll have stories for a lifetime. In homes around the world, working parents are doing their best to adjust to manage careers from home. For many, this is a rare opportunity to be at home with their children. Kids that are normally at school, get to spend more time with loved ones. Speaking of which, is it just me, or is math taught differently now than when we were in school?
Think about it – we have no choice but to slow down. No racing to the office. No juggling sports, music lessons, and whatever other after-school activity with which we over-schedule ourselves (ahem, kids). We really don’t have anywhere to be for once in our lives. We’d better enjoy this while we can.
Thankfully, the impact is positive. We’re driving and flying less, keeping cars off the road, planes out of the sky, and tons of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. Manufacturing has been forced to pause, also giving the planet a momentary respite from the onslaught of pollution. If you need proof that it’s happening, look no further than this image of the air over China immediately before, and immediately after, the outbreak.
In our home, we’re being more intentional with the food we eat, and with the household supplies we use. We’ve generally operated this way anyway, but we’ve got a little more focus on our actions now. Nothing is going to waste, and we’re certainly maximizing each penny that was spent on what we have. Frugal living at its best!
If you’re an investor with a long-term horizon, and you make systematic contributions to your 401(k) or investment account, you’re benefitting from dollar-cost-averaging. Investing a set amount of money at regular intervals is allowing you to purchase more shares while stock prices are down. And boy are they down.
Exercise and time outside
Cabin fever and decent weather are driving people outside like I’ve never seen before. Streets, parks, and trails in and around our neighborhood are alive with adults and children walking, biking, playing, and drawing sidewalk chalk pictures. It really is nice to see so many people out enjoying themselves.
Change can be good
We’re being forced to do things differently, and that can be a good thing. Sometimes it takes shocks like this to get us out of our mindless routines. I, myself, don’t like change but I know that good can come from change, so this is some solid practice.
Given that we can’t really go anywhere, what a great opportunity to focus on our to-do list of projects around the house. For us, that will consist of more decluttering, and I’m looking forward to it being a family event.
With so many of us getting out and about, I’m seeing more of our neighbors stopping to chat (at a safe distance, hopefully!) with one another. It goes back to slowing down. Since we’re not in as much of a rush right now, we’re being more mindful to take the time to catch up and hear how others are working through the outbreak.
Impromptu dance parties
Yeah, we had one of these yesterday – just my wife, son, me, and the dog. Why not? Sometimes we just need a temporary distraction to get our mind right, and I can’t think of a better way to do that with some good tunes and booty-shaking.
Realizing that life goes on
I’m sure many of us have spent a lot of time staring out the window recently, at the seemingly unconcerned natural world outside. From my current vantage point, I see flowers in bloom, trees budding, and birds feverishly gathering nesting materials. I’m a little jealous of their oblivion – free from the panic and fearmongering all around us. But they also serve as a reminder that this too shall pass. We have no idea exactly when, but we know it will. In the meantime, we can count on Mother Nature to provide us with the sights and sounds that will help us get through.
Time for gratitude
Finally, this time is yet another opportunity to focus on our blessings and all that we’re grateful for. Even in these days of uncertainty and stress, we can all come up with at least one thing.
Dare I say we’ll miss all of this when COVID-19 is behind us? Only time will tell. Right now, it is what it is. We can’t control everything in this pandemic, but we can control how we react to it. I encourage you to look at all the positives this unprecedented event has provided us.