Covid has changed our lives in so many ways. Many people have lost friends and family members. The pandemic has permanently shut down businesses and hurt us in the pocketbook. It’s changed us in other serious ways too. I naturally see the challenges, but the part of me that tries to find the good in even the worst of situations finds a few silver linings too. They include:
—Saving on gas money. With the pandemic in place, I worked from home much of the past two years. On a given year, I regularly put anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000 miles on my car. Last year, stuck at home, I put less than 10,000 miles on my car. Yes, higher gas prices in recent months have not been fun to see, but fewer miles will save dollars in the life of my car. I have definitely liked the sound of that.
—Sharing experiences. As a kid, I remember my parents talking about the challenges of Hurricane Agnes and the lasting devastation that it caused. Agnes raced up the East Coast in 1972, causing widespread devastation from the Florida to Canada, causing more than 2.1 billion damage and killing more than 128 people. The hurricane up to that point ranked as the costliest storm on record. My parents would talk in hushed tones about the toll the hurricane took on the area and how long it took to overcome them. I suspect my own kids will talk about the devastation of the pandemic to their kids, how friends worried about family members coming down with the virus and going on a ventilator, and even having to stay home and wear a mask to the store. They may not be fun memories, but they’re still shared experiences that have special meaning.
—Learning to say no. Thanks to Covid, many people have a greater appreciation for work-life balance and mindfulness. I know I have. I’ve learned to say no to others in meetings or to even seek out win-win compromises instead of trying to take everything on myself. I’ve learned that saying no doesn’t mean I’m a poor worker, it just means I’m working hard and want the best for everyone around me.
—A feeling of gratefulness. My wife and I walked into a local restaurant recently and got seated right away. I couldn’t help but feel like we had been granted our freedom from a long prison sentence. For so long, we hadn’t been able to go out. I find that I’m grateful now for the little things — even just going out for a quick bite to eat.
—Figuring out the things that matter. I can’t say that I’ve figured out the meaning of life, but I’ve been reminded once again about what’s important and what’s not. Let’s say family for me ranks high up on that list.
I could have done without quarantines and masks, but I hope I’ve learned a thing or two over the past 18 months. If nothing else, I’ve learned that I don’t want to go through another pandemic.