I’m as stir-crazy as anyone over this corona situation. There are lots of moments and days when I find it hard to look on the bright side. The dark side is just so ominous and tempting.
There are the uncertainties. The unknowns. Glass. Half. Empty.
Still, there are certain upsides to the stay-at-home directive that COVID-19 has brought about. They are the bright specks in an otherwise dim situation.
Many people can’t go into work. Some are working from home in makeshift home offices hastily set up in a corner of the living room or atop the dining room table. People are learning new ways to get their work done in a different environment and perhaps with a cat or baby on their lap. This fosters creativity and ingenuity. Instead of saying “I can’t,” we’ve learned how to figure it out — in a good way.
We are stuck inside with our families. That should be a positive thing. We’ve had time to talk and listen and share ideas. Hopefully we are all being kind to the families we live with, because we all need kindness right now.
We aren’t hungry. Far from it. Even though grocery shelves may be lacking in some areas, after the quarantine is over many of us will have to start exercise plans to lose our own COVID-19.
We may not be able to get together in person but we aren’t completely cut off. There is email, texting, social media, and I’ve heard that good, old-fashioned phone conversations may actually be making a comeback.
In a world defined by busy, many of us now find ourselves with time on our hands. Pre-pandemic that would have been a gift. It still is. My junk drawers have never been more organized.
While we may dodge face-to-face interaction in the grocery aisle, our community togetherness has never been stronger. We are reaching out. Helping one another. We are making masks and donating them. We are making meals for those in need. We are providing support for those vulnerable to the disease. We are doing what we can for graduating 2020 seniors. We have been reminded of the value of one another. Reaching out to help lightens the load and feeds the spirit. Priceless.
Social media photos of fancy restaurant meals have been replaced by home-cooked ones. People are staying put, eating together and getting back to the basics. I’ve baked more bread in the last two months than in the last two years. People are not only sharing photos; they are sharing recipes. Sharing is a great thing — unless you are talking about COVID-19.
People everywhere are decluttering. Ridding ourselves of the extraneous things we never really needed is liberating — both physically and mentally. I’ve unloaded a whole bunch of stuff — from a 6 foot safe distance, of course.
We are saving money. When you are stuck at home you don’t drive anywhere and therefore save on gas. We’ve even gotten refunds on car insurance because of this. We can't go out — to many restaurants, movie theaters or shopping. While saving money is a plus, I can’t wait to start spending at the venues referenced above. When they safely open again, they will need our support.
We are eating more take-out than ever before and it’s actually a treat. Who would’ve thought a fast food burger would feel like a splurge? But it does.
For non-essential workers, alarm clocks have become a thing of the past. Sleeping in later than usual may be the new norm, but it still feels like an indulgence.
Finally, I believe we’ve gained a perspective that none of us would have ever thought possible pre-COVID. I think we’ve all learned how good we had it — and still have it. We have food in the cupboards and gas in our vehicles. The electricity works and the water flowing from our faucets is safe to drink. We are directed to stay at home, but we aren’t ordered to do so. We can take a walk outside and appreciate the sunshine and warmth it brings.
We’ve learned to not to take normal for granted — not ever again. This appreciation is truly a gift. Glass. Half. Full.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.