What I hope comes out of the coronavirus
The country is changing.
I spend all day every day engulfed in the news. That’s my job and despite the fact that the news just seems to get worse every day, it will be ok.
I unplugged for a little while this last weekend, which was necessary to maintain my mental health. But it also gave me some time to think and reflect.
As we face another month (or more) at home and our lives are changing drastically, I took stock of our lives. We are a six person family. Both adults are still working. Two of our children move between homes. Sports are cancelled. I look at my calendar today compared to four weeks ago and it went from overly full to filled with at-home-work and free time.
As a gen x-er, I am thrilled with free time. I thrive on it. But not all do. I can’t remember the last time I was bored, and I still can’t. It’s a side benefit of being committed to a lifetime of learning.
In my reflections, this is what I realized. I am getting to know my family more than I ever did. My youngest son and I are not spending hours at the ball field, but we have bonded over a shared love of the YouTuber Brandon Ferris. Look him up if you like silly humor.
My kids were always great at helping out in the kitchen, but now they say things like,” can you teach me how to do that?” We are having fun coming up with recipe names for our stay at home foods. Our house is cleaner than is has ever been. My husband and I have been able to actually binge watch Netflix together.
I’ve decided to do 30 day experiments like meditating and improving my photography. I’m also learning philosophy. I’ve not had the time to just sit and contemplate since...college.
While some things still feel normal, like my husband getting up and going to work each day and me sitting at my desk working at home, other things have changed. My event schedule is down to almost nothing. My kids have started asking questions about my job and wanting to know more about the world outside of their personal lives. The next generation gives me hope because of their large desire to help people.
I have talked to people who are working from home for the first time, and what I continually hear is that people are loving zoom meetings because that small glimpse into their coworkers lives is connecting them more as people and not just workers who happen to share an office.
I am learning more about my friends through silly Facebook games and now know more about Minecraft that I ever really wanted to. I've worked out more at home than I ever did at the gym because I do not want to fall down a hole of laziness and inactivity.
It is my hope that when we emerge from the cocoon of the coronavirus lockdowns, we have a deeper sense of humanity, and an increased respect for others. I hope that we have learned to appreciate the small things like a cup of coffee you didn’t make yourself or a really good hand lotion. I hope that we don’t take for granted things that we just expect, like stocked shelves at the grocery store and the value of human life.
I hope that we all learn to take things in stride, to keep a cool head and to truly love our fellow human beings. And that the world realizes that The Tiger King does not represent all Oklahomans.
I hope that we have come together as a world and not just countries and states. I hope that we can appreciate the connectivity that the internet provides while discovering a love of spending time (virtually or in person) with friends and family that we haven’t in a long time. I hope we learn to have real conversations. I hope we learn to slow down.
I’m currently studying the stoic philosophers and they would say that the obstacle is the way. What is put in your path can destroy you, but a change in perspective can show you that the obstacle will take you on a better path. Or, as my high school junior English teacher Mrs. Smith always said, “Overcome adversity.”
I expect the world will look different once this is all over. I hope it is a better world. And I hope that we don't just immediately go back to our old ways.