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What I’ve Learned: Observations In The Time Of COVID-19

As I write this, I am several weeks into social distancing/quarantine/isolation in response to COVID-19.

It is a surreal time to be sure. In fact, time itself has become an abstract concept. As I adapt to my new COVID-19 normal, I feel the need to share some observations I’ve learned along the way.

What I've Learned against backdrop of window

I’ve learned…

…that too much news isn’t empowering or even informative. It can become a source of anxiety and fear, causing inertia. It is more than okay to take a step back, turn off the news or social media, and get out of your own head.

…that those struggling before this crisis are really struggling now. Those that live in the margins: the homeless, the mentally ill, the uninsured, the undocumented. For many of us and for the first time, we are getting a small taste of what life is like for them all the time. I pray that when normalcy begins to return we do not forget. I pray we practice compassion and advocacy.

…I just cannot get on board with Tiger King. It does nothing to restore my faith in humanity (quite the opposite in fact), and I need to believe in humanity right now. So you will find me re-watching The Office for the umpteenth time. To each their own.

…that my years as a military spouse have helped prepare me for such a time as this. Years of canceled plans, generalized anxiety, frustration, and uncertainty have softened the blow this go-round.

I’ve also learned…

…to pay attention to which companies are taking care of their people and helping others. The companies that are stepping up right now are the companies I want to support going forward.

…that my toddler (and dogs) really like our life and schedule right now. Sometimes the urge to fill our days and be busy can take over our lives. I hope I remember to not over-schedule us and allow for more time like we have right now; a time where there is no agenda, just play or rest.

…that there will always be opportunities to serve and help others even in the most unusual of times.

…that we can have a better work/life balance here in America. We have seen that a lot of work can be done remotely and in conjunction with people’s families. We’ve also redefined what an “essential” worker is. Perhaps going forward we should prioritize these people accordingly and not quibble over what defines a “living wage.”

…to appreciate others and what they are going through. We are all getting to see what it is like to be a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, or a teacher. Instead of arguing over who has it easier, let’s recognize that each comes with its own challenges. Let’s continue the trend of giving others (and ourselves) grace.

Even more so, I’ve learned…

…that a national order to stay at home is a good time to potty train (if ever such a time exists).

…that my yard and house will never look better.

…that a lot of us were not very good at washing our hands.

…to appreciate the small blessings. They are everywhere and they are many.

Most of all, I’ve learned that we really are all in this together.

This pandemic will be a defining season in many of our lives. It is a season that is hard and scary. However, I also believe a lot of good can come from even the toughest of times. I have seen people stepping up to help one another, sharing burdens, and offering love.

Some day soon (I hope) life will begin to return to a sense of normalcy. Or at the very least, a new normal.

While I would never have chosen to go through this and don’t want to again, I am still thankful. I am thankful that when all the trappings of life were stripped away, I was reminded that what is important remained. I hope I never forget again. And I know I will never forget these lessons I have learned during COVID-19.

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