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COVID-19: Be Careful For What You Wish For

COVID-19: Be Careful For What You Wish For

By Susan Williams

I admit it. I’m an optimist.

Whether it’s trying to find the silver lining, believing that all things happen for a reason or just wanting to believe everything will work out in the end – it’s just in my nature to look for the good.

So this weekend as I was contemplating the COVID-19 pandemic and finding myself slowly sliding into a depression, I tried to put on my optimistic perspective of what good may come out of this devastating disease and realized that in some convoluted way, this disease may be answering some of our deep seated wishes.

Before I share what I mean, I want to say that I am in no way downplaying the impact of this pandemic and the trauma and devastation it continues to bring. I feel for us all as we each cope with the impact that this is having on our lives. All I am attempting to do is highlight that maybe, once this is all over, we may have learned to embrace some of the lessons this situation may have given to us as we move into our new normal once we have won the battle against this disease.

I wish I had more time to spend with my family.

With millions and millions of people now staying at home with their families, this wish is definitely coming true. For example, this past weekend I went for a walk (of course while engaging in safe social distancing) and noticed that there was something different.

Families were outside together. I saw parent’s playing with their kids on their front lawn, I saw families laughing as they chased each other outside. I have been living in my neighbourhood for fifteen years and this is the first time I have seen this much interaction between families ever before.

To go further, I heard one gentleman being interviewed about how his life was staying home and not working. He said his job right now was to be the best dad possible. If this situation means that our children get more attention and care from their parents, this may be one of the best gifts we can give them during this crisis.

I wish we could improve the environment

As companies shut down and people stop driving and head indoors, one of the interesting side effects has been on our environment.

For example, as a result of no boat traffic, the canal water in Venice has been cleaned. With no industries operating, the air pollution in China has dropped substantially.

There are still many challenges ahead. First this is only a temporary situation. If we are to restart up without any changes, we will quickly return to normal. As well, this situation has highlighted how massive our actions will have to be moving forward to positively affect our environment.

I wish I had more time to think.

In our regular busy lives, we rarely get the time to push the pause button. To just stop, take stock of our lives and think. In our overscheduled lives, we value our to do lists and getting things done and the feeling of accomplishment this brings.

As we stay at home, we may be feeling unsettled. Our routines have been turned upside down and the things that normally keep us moving forward have dried up.

But what if we just stopped? What if we were okay with doing nothing for a while and just spent some time thinking?

Would we be more creative? Would we possibly improve our mental health as we allowed ourselves to relax? Would we possibly re-prioritize what is important to us? What if we started to journal how we are feeling and possibly our hopes and dreams for our future?

Having more time to think is a wish that has been granted for many of us. Just learning how to use this time we are given may be in fact the challenge.

I wish I knew my neighbours.

Never in a time in our recent history have we been so dependent on each other. We are seeing story after story of how neighbourhoods are joining together to share and support each other.

From singing together from their balconies or windows, to communities and neighbours ensuring seniors receive food and support to the gaming community joining together to make sure that younger gamers get the real facts about the coronavirus are only a few examples.

This shows our innate desire for social connection as our social interaction moves from our workplaces to our homeplaces. It also shows how much we are capable of caring and supporting each other too in times of crisis.

Here’s an example as neighbours in Texas singing “Lean On Me” together;

I wish I didn’t have to commute.

Prior to the pandemic, countless numbers of people would commute to work. Many would spend hours going back and forth to their offices taking time away from their families and friends. The base assumption was that working physically together was the primary way to work.

In this pandemic, many people have been sent home to work. They are getting creative as they use the technologies we have to connect through video meetings, online planning platforms and social media. People are recovering lost commute time, reducing their carbon footprint and embracing more flexible work options.

Hopefully we will learn from this experience and be willing to embrace some new working options moving forward.

I wish I wasn’t alone.

If there is one thing that this virus is teaching us – is that we are not alone. We are joined together as humanity in a fight against an invisible enemy attacking us all. We are completely dependent on each other to do the right things to keep not only ourselves safe but also all those around us. You just have to look at this graphic to understand how this virus can pass on from one person to anther to understand how we are not alone.

So rather then thinking of ourselves as being alone, maybe we need to shift our thoughts. Maybe we should remember that being by ourselves right now is a good thing. It is a gift we are giving to each other.

And this may in fact end up being the best wish of all – I wish that no one else gets COVID-19.

Stay safe everyone.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.