Surprising benefits from a pandemic
In all of my 60+ years I could have never imagined a time like the present. I have seen wars, attacks on our country by terrorists, the death of close family members and many other stressful things, but the issues we face as a country in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic surpass each of these in one respect or another. At the same time, there are some real benefits that will be derived from this period and I thought it might be worth sharing a few while they were still fresh on my mind. Here are some of the positives I have seen thus far:
- People are slowing down their lives. None of us could have imagined how the stay at home orders would impact our coming and going. While I know there are those who choose to not abide by the social distancing rules, the overwhelming majority of people I know are taking things seriously and this has caused each of us to unplug and slow down from our fast-paced lives where we are always going somewhere, typically late for where we are going, and always distracted by things that now seem less important. My ability to spend time with my wife has never been greater, and it has been a true benefit for me, but I am not sure she would totally agree. There are times I surely get on her nerves.
- What matters is shifting. We have two grown sons who both live within 30 minutes of our home. Our ability to spend time with them has been severely hampered by this pandemic due to their concern for us. Our younger son had been exposed to some people who contracted the virus, so he felt it would be safe to not be close to us physically for a period of time. I joking believe it is because it may keep him from some of my corny humor that he has withstood for almost 31 years, but even that cannot be blocked by our frequent phone calls or Zoom calls. We have gotten to spend time with our first grandchild, a grandson, but we are very cautious and may have to reconsider this if the distancing period is prolonged. The end result of this is that I now really have gained a greater appreciation for who matters in my life, namely my wife and sons and their families. The short-term separation we encounter now will become less painful as better days return, but I hope I never forget the feeling of separation I feel now.
- Proactively staying in touch. I have always been a social creature, but this pandemic has caused me to focus my efforts on reaching out more to immediate family members and expanded family members. I come from a large family and I have relatives from coast to coast and also in Hawaii. Technology has allowed us to connect on a regular basis in order to compare and contrast what happens in New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, Hawaii, Tennessee and other states. I especially enjoy hearing and seeing from my dad's two living sisters, now 94 and 93 years of age. These ladies both played key roles in my young live and I can never thank them enough.
The next time you get ready to complain about what you cannot do because of the pandemic, consider again what you can do with the time you now have. We all have the same amount of time and I challenge you to use this time now to build or re-build a bond that needs to be there.
As a result of this time there are memories being formed now that I will never forget.