There’s no question our idea of “normal” every day living has been disrupted due to recent events. The need for social distancing is inconvenient and the stress of managing the number of COVID-19 illnesses is taking its toll on essential workers in medicine, grocery, and delivery services. However, despite the hardships this illness brings, there are opportunities to draw silver linings we might see none.
Growing Smaller While Growing Bigger
Social distancing has forced many people to stay home. Thankfully, the results speak prove the restrictions help mitigate the number of cases. At the same time, I’ve noticed more of my neighbors spending time outside or checking in on one another. There are people I’ve never met on my street who I see now and then. Call me old-fashioned, but it’s refreshing to cross paths with people in my community, even if we must keep our distance. In a digital era that expands our perspective across continents, it’s important to remember those next door, too.
A Preview for Future Possibilities
I’m sure you’ve seen stories about locations around nature improving after just a couple weeks without human activity. Canal waters cleared, beaches were open to sea turtles, and air pollution dropped significantly. While there will still be a need for offices and commutes, perhaps this pause on mass production and transportation will encourage lifestyles that promote a healthier earth. With the evidence of mass production practices interfering with natural homeostasis, we can no longer deny the importance of eco-friendly solutions.
A Reminder of What’s Important
In the face of devastation, we are forced to reconsider what’s truly important in our lives. For many, it’s the people closest to them. I’ve seen stories of estranged relatives reaching out to one another for the first time in years because if the world can suffer so much so fast, they don’t want to waste any time holding grudges. I’ve seen people serve one another by offering to run errands for those who can’t leave their homes or offer their resources to anyone running out.
Sometimes the world seems like it moves to fast. That sounds like such an old mindset — and I’m only in my twenties. It’s so easy to fall into a routine when you spend all your time rushing to the next deadline and, before you know it, you’re retired and your life has passed you by. There’s still deadlines and time-sensitive needs, but it’s a little easier to manage when you aren’t in rush hour every day.
Out of all of this, there’s one commonality — the value of people. We place value on saving lives, improving the quality of living, and working together as a community. Social distancing has revealed our desperation for interaction and genuine relationships. Lack of necessary supplies has provided opportunity for communities to step up and give to hospitals in need.
Even with these upsides, working remotely has limitations, being at home is distracting, and social distancing is lonely. But is has renewed our awareness of the importance of community.
All of this isn’t to downplay the severity of a global pandemic. COVID-19 has been devastating and the effects of the illness continue to be felt worldwide. But, even in the face of darkness there is always light.
The storm won’t last forever, and it’s up to us to decide to be better for it.