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How to Find the Good in the Middle of the Bad

Coronavirus. COVID-19. Coronapocalypse. Coronacation.

The Quarantine of 2020.

Whatever you choose to call it. It is the time we are living in. A time of uncertainty. And lots of sadness. And fear. And worry.

How long will things be like this? When can we socialize like we normally do again? When will grocery store shelves be full again?

For the love of God, when can I stop counting the squares of toilet paper when I tear them off the roll?!

Graduation celebrations postponed. Or cancelled. Workers laid off with lost wages. Workers working overtime to take care of us. Despite the risks and warnings.

But what about the good stuff?

You might question what good is in this. I might get some criticism for some of the thoughts I am going to share here, but I share because it might help. Help someone see the other side of this. A different perspective. Some good that is going to come from this.

What about the most obvious? We are home with our families. Inside the house with the ones we love most. The ones we share our life with. Spending time together that was otherwise scarce. Eating meals together that were cooked in our own kitchens.

The time we used to spend so chaotically running from place to place. To make sure not to be late for this appointment. This rehearsal. This audition. This dinner party. This sporting practice or event. The stress that moms felt making sure to bring snacks to their child’s elementary school class on their designated day.

That time isn’t so important now.

We now have time to visit with one another. Although not in person, I have communicated with some friends and family more in this past week than I have in the last year. Checking in and making sure we are all okay. Picking our friends up when they start to feel low. Who said Social Distancing needs to be antisocial?

We get to stay up late watching shows. Without guilt or worry about the alarm sounding at 5:30 A.M. We get to sleep late. And wake up whenever we want to. Perhaps we are finally getting the sleep we need.

And finally, people will know how to practice proper hygiene. So rather than tease natural born germophobes like myself, they can understand that I have been right in my sanitizing obsession all of these years!

Technology has made it possible to keep many things going. Schoolwork of all kinds can be done at home. Jobs from the office too. We can even do those things in our pajamas. What a wonderful time it is that those things can be done!

So what about the not-so-obvious good?

Some will discover what it is like to have a relationship with their children. To make conversations that begin with more depth than, “how was your day?” To get to know them. Their thoughts and their fears. Parents will talk with their children. And have time to listen too.

And our partners. If we are not able to cherish the time together with our partner, we have time to think about why that might be. What changes might need to be made to grow closer. Or perhaps to part.

Jokes are being made about a baby boom happening from this time of self-quarantine. But not every home will be filled with love. For some, it will be an awakening that it is time to do something about the relationship that has already been hanging by a thread.

For those who hate their jobs. There is time to ponder why. Why are you in the career field you are in? Perhaps you forgot what it is you love about your work. And time away from it brings a renewed appreciation. Or maybe you will know that it is time for a change.

We have time to research new things. To learn about what else is out there for us. We have been given time to take a break from the daily grind many may have come to resent. We have been given new chances to make fresh starts.

Look up that information about financial aid that you’ve been thinking about for years. If you want to go back to college, or begin for the first time, then do it. All that is needed is the desire.

What about those who do not have this extra time? Those of us with the time might slow down to notice. The people who are sometimes invisible when we are too busy.

Notice the gas station clerk who always smiles when she sees you at the pump. The store worker who brings your pick-up order groceries to load in the trunk of your car even when it is raining. The mail carrier and UPS truck driver who still bring our packages day after day.

Notice the teachers who are missing your children. Worrying and wondering about whether or not they have the care they need at home. Creating assignments that are still engaging your child in learning. Even from a virtual classroom.

Notice the school cafeteria workers who are preparing meals everyday for the children who are accustomed to eating at school. Sometimes even two meals a day.

And then there are the healthcare workers and first responders who work tirelessly during normal times. They are risking their own health and the health of their household family members everyday to make sure to be there for ours.

Maybe some good will come to those people from this. Some appreciation that was lacking before. Maybe. Just maybe, some good from all this will be more kindness and gratitude towards all people.

I know this is hard on all of us. I know we have all been through many emotions in a short time. Emotions that are our own to have.

But we can try to do better. Try to see the good. Do the most that we can with the time that we have. Make some sense out of this time of uncertainty.

Because all we can ever control are ourselves and our thoughts.

Start a craft project.

Organize your photos.

Re-organize your closet.

Plant a garden.

Learn to paint.

Start a blog.

Create a household budget.

Do your taxes.

Read some books.

Take some naps.

Exercise.

Paint your toenails.

Make some music.

Just remember, there is good in the middle of the bad. Even when it’s hard to see.

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