It Shouldn’t Be All Doom and Gloom, Should It?

Heads are spinning with the domestic takedown of COVID-19. No wonder anxiety and frustration levels are running high. Can’t say we weren’t warned about it, but still, there’s been little time to process, and for most of us in this part of the world, we simply aren’t used to this kind of disruption. This kind of impact. Or this kind of fear instilled into our minds to control the spread of this virus.

Daily life nears to a standstill. For now, anyway. As more and more non-essential activities, services and businesses shut down or move online, and travelling comes to a halt, it becomes more and more dizzying.

Social distancing is a thing now. For introverts (and of course our fur babies), it’s business as usual. But for those energized extroverts who need their peeps, well, they’re probably really feeling terrible. And let’s not forget those huggers out there. But you’ll get your hugs soon. I promise.

Who’s to Blame? 
Try not to get caught up in the petri dish of conspiracy theories and myths spreading rapidly on social media and on mainstream outlets too. The people, the people who are out there knowingly casting this virus as some bioweapon manufactured in some lab to destabilize the world’s economy or knock off the aging population are only harming society, leading to potentially devastating consequences in the political arena (with some leaders, not surprisingly, playing the blame game). And for others, believing this virus is a cover up by some force wanting to round up those involved in corrupt and greed that has long taken over the world in another no no too. The last thing the world needs right now is for these fictional narratives, blasted out by wacky webizens, strengthening ‘certain’ leader platforms and / or interfering and increasing hostility and separatism among people.

Sorting fact from fiction, we are where we are. This virus has peculiar ways of spreading and people are dying because of it. People are suffering, financially and emotionally and it’s affecting us all.

Ok, breathe.
Deep breath.

Overact. There’s no shame in it. But let’s not blame. Let’s not be angry. It’s not the time for it. But if you can’t help but to, then direct it at those dummies out there spreading it and seriously testing our health care systems. Direct it at those who are out there profiteering from it (yeah, I’m talking to you, the guy with the 17700 bottles of hand sanitizers), or to the scammers out there exploiting real and deep coronavirus fears.

So Now What? 
Have faith. The birds are still singing. If nations and our ancestors survived in the times of war and famine, surely, we can survive being asked to stay home, working, relaxing, or just being. It’s not a tall order.

World leaders and local governments are scrambling to ‘flatten the curve’. With country shutdowns, cooperation is needed. Washing hands and social distancing might be the best ways of controlling the spread to stay healthy. And if we’re healthy, we can work. And if we work, the economy will then have some chance of surviving. And if the economy pulls through, we will too.

In a time like this, gratitude is needed. Gratitude to those working in the essential service industries that keep our communities running. These folks are doing more than their part and have no choice but to be out there serving the public. I’m talking about all the health care, grocery store, and pharmacy workers (I’m sure I’m forgetting a few) out on the front lines, including the behind the scene workers working diligently to make sure we’re fed and kept healthy. We need you, so thank you!

For those of us at home, maybe this is a blessing. I gotta believe it’s been a long time coming. Some quiet downtime—away from the hustle and bustle. Am I right? Amazon and Netflix are still operating. And boy are we counting on you right now!

If you’ve got the basics and your cable and internet bills are up to date, you can do it. But just be mindful of how easy it can be of slipping into total sloth-like mode. Keep a daily productive routine, and don’t forget…brush your teeth. Personal hygiene is still important!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Think of it as a tremendous opportunity for growth, reflection and creativity. Expand on or pick up a new hobby! Consider it a good time for puzzles, crafting, books, or board games. There’s no time like now to catch up with forgotten series, books, friends and families via a phone or an online chatroom. We can probably make online gatherings fun…agreeing on a setting or a theme (wine and cheese anyone?). And to all those writers out there, improve your craft and write a book. I bet literary agents and publishing houses will be busy next year…ahem.

How ‘bout this…Shakespeare wrote his best work, churning out Macbeth and King Lear during the plague.

If you have little ones, we’re thinking of you! Keeping sane through the coronavirus isolation might be a formidable and nerve-racking task. How can you keep kids happy and busy without burn out? Well, here is some sage advice…get them to help with spring cleaning, meals, organizing closets or sorting through old family photos. Exercise with online videos or go for lots of walks. Road trips might fun, and why not? Gas is cheap. You can find a plethora of ideas online to keep everyone active, happy, and out of your hair. Being cooped up at home, whether with your entire family (separate floors do help) or alone, is doable. Remember, it’s not forever.

This unusual and daunting experience will be forever etched in our minds, so try cherishing it, making pleasant memories for all.

The Silver Lining?
While we’ve suddenly found ourselves in the thick of this crisis, the good news is, people are coming together helping friends, neighbours, and even strangers. Maybe in some sense we’re heading into World Peace One. Okay, maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but still. It’s interesting to think that as we may be moving away in some degree from oil, we might be heading toward some unity. A little shake-up, perhaps?

I’m one of those who like to think there’ll be some good in all of this—the world might be cooperating in some ways. Caring for others, and why not? It’s the glue for society, and always has been. Some are calling it Vitamin L (love) as demonstrated by one group here in Canada doing some much needed ‘caremongering’.

Another positive was recorded by satellite data from NASA showing deadly air pollution levels in some parts of the world curbed significantly. How can we not this see this as a good thing?

Culture. The cultural iceberg along with its behaviours and outcomes, I think, might experience a shake-up too with this virus that’s rocked us. Many might find the world of Hollywood glitz and glam seeming a bit ridiculous in the grand scheme of things. This may be what snaps some people back to reality. Many have been so focused on the images and stories of the rich, the famous, and the beautiful. Even everyday commercials that flash the latest beauty product, car or the must have gadget seem a bit odd too. Or is that just me? With what seemed so normal, just doesn’t seem to fit in this strange reality we’re in right now.

Please note though…that’s not to say that some celebrities and branded companies haven’t stepped up. They have. Donating money, using their platforms to spread awareness and support the cause have all done the world some good! It’s important and we need that, so thank you.

Once the Dust Settles…and it Will
Besides a possible surge in either the number of babies or divorces later this year, no one really knows what the future will look like after all the quarantines and consequences are over. No one can predict what the economic toll will be for the world or the financial outcome for businesses and individuals. But what we do know is, we’re not alone. The whole world will feel it. Governments have already announced massive economic support for working families and industries. Banks and utility and mortgage companies are stepping in and up too as well as additional support for mental health services and programs for those who will need remedy. Sounds like no one will be left behind to fall through the cracks struggling to keep the plane in the air.

It’ll be interesting times ahead of us for sure. For some people, life will never be the same. For others, life will go on as communication, relationships and communities are restored. Sure, it’ll take time for some (not all, I’m quite sure) to get over cultural differences and find ways to consider universal similarities. In the end, don’t we all just want the same thing?

The way we shop, travel and work will change, and hopefully for the better. Will there be new jobs? New industries? Hiring priorities will shift, the job market will be flooded, leaving university students stranded looking for summer work to help pay next year’s tuition. It’ll be a time for re-invention and imagination. Think outside the box. Perhaps farmers can hire and train locally apart from the thousands of seasonal migrant workers who help grow our food—there are plenty of highly capable and driven kids out there who I'm sure would work for any kind of wage.

Just remember, we, as humans, are the most adaptable species on the planet. We’ve survived plagues, wars, and crusades. And for us, in this moment of time, it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. We will survive and bounce back from it all. Stronger, wiser…and…hopefully, a little bit kinder.

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