The roads are eerily quiet, the food store shelves are bare stricken and a foreign, unsettling and unavoidable frenzy lingers in the air. What was, as of two weeks ago, a crisis ‘overseas’, has hit home base. COVID-19, now a worldwide pandemic, continues to not only instill fear but to force immediate change in nearly every aspect, on every level. As we try to best prepare for the unknown, the effects of this unexpected crisis do not only apply on local and or global magnitudes, nor just collectively or as a planet, but they creep down to each and every one of us, trickling into our day-to-day lives, individually, and our daily routines have come to a sudden halt.
Daily announcements of closings, restrictions on travel and general mobility have replaced the usual local news reports that are typically focused on the weather and local happenings. Literal and figurative road blocks relative to all things we once termed ‘normal’ are frequent and frightening as we all prepare to be quarantined on an unknown level of restriction for an unknown amount of time, forcing us all to have 24/7 together time in the home, with little or no help at all.
But as the world continues to very slowly turn, the fear of everything above, and so much more, takes over our once calm minds. And this is in addition to stating the obvious of washing our hands around the clock, and maintaining clealiness, of course. Yet, at the end of each of the recent days, I find myself wondering: is COVID-19 killing us or is it actually saving us?
Stay with me on this for a second: while we all immediately go into panic mode upon the very thought of even working from home, the reality of kids being home schooled via “e-learning” and the nightmare of being holed up in our homes 24/7 with too many kids, not enough hands and definitely not enough hours in the day, on top of having no help whatsoever with maintaining our lifestyles, the reality is that each of us can only save ourselves. So why not do it (somewhat) gracefully, and or dare I say, peacefully?
Here is what I do know:
Everybody is scared. Everyone is nervous. None of us know all the facts and everything that was comfort to us (and our kids) as recent as two days ago has radically changed in the past 24-48 hours. We aren’t sure if N95 masks are going to be the new outerwear or if latex gloves will replace our otherwise leather, cashmere lined, fashion slash sometimes weather needed statement gloves.
But the general publics behavior and motives are now vastly different than they were just days ago and in ways that don’t always meet the eye. That person who cut you off on the road during rush hour may be rushing themselves just to bring their elderly parents some extra food to stock up on because their nursing home has imposed visiting hours, and, maybe, that telemarketer who is bugging you with relentless calls is actually terrified of losing their job, especially now. Each of us are now more prone to feeling vulnerable and, as a species, we need to be more empathetic and aware of that now, more than ever before.
So before we go flicking people off with road rage or slamming down the phone on the telemarketer who won’t let up, let’s just all try to be a little more patient, and a little more loving, in what has now become our new day-to-days.
And from behavior to home life, the trickeling of COVID-19 begins in just about everything else it is forcing us to do: Kids: will unevitably actually get sick of screen time thus leading them to have to play outside! The household will need extra care and tending to, so they will need to help with chores! (Score for mom!) Occupation: the work will get done. It will also have to take a back seat at times, for example you can say buh-bye to those 10pm nights. Most notably, familys will have to truly function as one unit, clear headed and open eyed nonetheless, aka AWAY FROM SCREENS. All of this is actually required to survive this pandemic, at least on a level relative to sanity.
As the saying goes: sh^% just got real. Um yeah, it sure did. We won’t be able to go out for meals (as often, if at all), or escape to the gym or drop the toddler or the puppy at daycare, and no: the nanny and housekeeper are likely not coming this week. Instead, we will have to make the time to cook homemade meals, we will actually walk the dogs ourselves, maybe even as a family (because what else are we going to do!?) and perhaps, some of us, will even use the canned foods we over stocked on as dumbells for at home exercises.
As bad as the fear seems, the reality of actual relief that this literal pause in time seems to weirdly bring with it (disclaimer: as long as we all each play our role of responsibility in keeping ourselves and our spaces clear and clean) continue to bring me to the next same self-imposing question: are the temporary ramifications that are being imposed on our otherwise day-to-day routines really that bad?
I mean really, think about it:
Maybe dad can now actually throw the football around with the kid…. because he is home before dark. Maybe Mom can now take a walk with a neighbor…. because now she has a moment of free time with her partner being home to stay with the kids, or maybe even one of the older kids offers to watch the youngers! Imagine?
Relationships can actually be strengthened, reignited even, as partners unite in this survival. The once mundane and unnoticed tasks that each partner ensures to complete on the regular, will now be acknowledged, even respected, by one another as we are all forced to bare witness to eachothers every move. In the weirdest, most absurd way, the effects on lifestyle that COVID 19 is creating leads me to think that CV is, in its own way, strengthening each of us where it matters most: at home.
So, before we all freak out and swan dive into depression on the fear based concept of what our daily lives will begin to look like, let’s all take a deep breath and find comfort in knowing that maybe, after all, this pause, as frightening as it may be, is actually what we all may just need.
*This article does not dismis or downplay the severity of COVID 19 nor does it intend to offend. This is a perspective and opinion based article.