It’s been hard on a lot of us to be cooped up inside. And it’s even worse for those who are out of work, or those who had to close businesses during the pandemic. Financial stress on top of being in quarantine makes for hard times for many. Not to mention the devastation of the disease itself.
It’s been over three weeks now since the stay-at-home order, and things have settled down into a new routine for my neighbors and myself. And through this new way of doing things, it’s become apparent to me that there is a silver lining, and actually, numerous things to be grateful for. The pandemic is allowing us as a culture to experience things that some of us knew as children, and that are very new to younger people. Other experiences are entirely new to all of us.
Without the usual errands to run, or restaurants to eat at, or gyms to workout in, people are being “forced” to interact with those under their same roof, or those in closest proximity: families and neighbors. Many families with children at home are getting to know each other, and enjoying each other, in a much more relaxed manner than before, when everyone was always in a rush to get to school, to work, to after school activities, etc. And people without children at home get to spend more quality time with their pets (which many people regard as their children!). Neighbors who hardly spoke to each other prior to the shelter-in-place order are now having friendly conversations (albeit at a distance of six feet!).
Neighborhoods are coming alive during the day! Whereas before, everyone was at work or at school, with only a few lonely souls working from home, now everyone is working from home. And everyone’s getting outside, walking, riding bikes, skateboarding, rollerblading. Children and adults who are used to spending all day indoors under fluorescent lights are having fun running around outside, just like they used to in the olden days.
The weather has been fantastic, and without all the cars on the roads, or planes in the skies, the air is clear, clean and fresh. You can smell the desert in bloom all around, with the aromas of creosote and globe chamomile wafting freely.
It’s quieter, too, because of the reduction in traffic. Without so many cars and large trucks, airplanes and construction machinery rattling the cityscape, the vibrations on the earth’s surface have receded. People are noticing that the birds seem to be singing more loudly, and they’re easier to see them at a distance. It’s a wonderful Spring many are using this time as a great opportunity to get reacquainted with Nature.
What’s new to children and adults alike is the increase in use of certain technologies. There’s Zoom for online cocktail hours, game nights, chatting with grandparents or old friends. There’s mass homeschooling through online courses and communication with teachers. There’s Amazon for ordering everything you need rather than going to the store. And there’s less ordering of everything because we are realizing we don’t need as much as we thought.
What’s also new to many is that life has slowed down. We cook at home more, we read books and play music. We have time to reflect on the past and on the future. We can consider resetting our priorities in the world to come, as we decide what we like about being forced to slow down. The world will be very different when we emerge from this. These are exciting times!
There is a lot to look forward to when things begin again: seeing friends and family; getting back to work; having places to go and being able to go when we wish; travel. But while it’s exciting to contemplate the future without being quarantined, let’s remember to carry forward some of the calm; the connectedness to Nature, neighbors and family; the time to simply be rather than being in perpetual motion. Love and good wishes to you all.