The past few weeks we have heard many words tossed around— unprecedented, bizarre, social distancing, quarantine, super spreader, and pandemic, to name a few. However, words like unity, kindness, peace, and solidarity are slowly becoming just as prominent in the rhetoric. Who would have thought that this pandemic could be such a paradigm-shifter.
Is Coronavirus just what we needed? Certainly, I don’t mean the severity and outcomes of the illness itself, the social upheaval, personal financial loss, or its implications on our world economy. Nevertheless, the admirable clarity that is has brought people does not go unnoticed. Leaders are rising to the occasion, people are coming together for the greater good, and in these times of social distancing we are, oddly, all deeply connected.
I’ve come to recognize there is a difference between a family gathering, and a family coming together. We gather all the time, but Coronavirus has provided a springboard for families to come together. The family lockdown began as a means of surviving not only the virus, but also surviving each other. The reality is the disruption to our routines has resulted in a positive sense of dependence on the family unit. Rather than anxiety from our loss of autonomy, we are experiencing a critical component of relatedness. Words like empowerment, confidence, self-reliance, and conviction now come to mind. I CAN help my children with schoolwork. I CAN remain effective in my job. I CAN still run a productive household. Isolating for the protection of ourselves and others feels like the noble thing to do.
Before quarantine, I could not remember the last time I took a bike ride with my daughter, or played a game of “P.I.G.” with my son. Now, it is a daily occurrence. The last time we pulled out a deck of cards? Perhaps last summer at the beach. Now, our daily games of, well we’ll just call it B.S., have evoked pure joy and laughter as my daughter screams the word she can only get away with saying during said game, and watches gleefully as her big brother adds a stack of cards to his growing collection. Ah yes. Pure joy. Pre-quarantine it came only in moments so swift they flit past before I could truly savor them.
The human tragedy, financial uncertainty, and the macroeconomic repercussions still evoke words like inconceivable, horrific, devastating; and all of this is not to say I won’t welcome the return to a normal daily routine when that time comes.
Surely, Coronavirus will change the world permanently. Lessons will be learned and consequences will be both positive and negative. For now though, I will practice gratitude and offer my most sincere thanks— thank you to all who are showing up to do what’s necessary, despite the risks and fears. Thank to those who are staying home, staying safe, and keeping others safe. My family has the privilege of being able to stay home so we will do our part to flatten the curve, and bluff our way through a little B.S. while we are at it.