Back in April, I posted 10 Silver Linings to sheltering in place during the pandemic. As we drag toward the ninth month of not even leaving the county, it’s definitely more difficult to find blessings. Yet, the original list holds up. I’ve included it below. Here are a few additions:
11. Instead of just reading before I go to bed each night, I may kick back on my La-Z-Girl (as we call it) or sit on the porch and read for an hour. This reminds me of my youth when I’d spend an entire afternoon with my nose in a book. I feel young and read more books!
12. In some ways, this might be seen as an addition to my original #2, below. Danny and I both have dishes that we make well, but over the months, with no dining out and only limited take-out to supplement our repertoire, we’ve grown pretty sick of our cooking! I finally buckled down and braved some completely new recipes. At least two of these have made it into our rotation. This one, Lime Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes and Potatoes, has become such a favorite that Danny requested it for his birthday.
13. Before the pandemic, Danny and I used the bank’s ATM only for withdrawals. Now we use it for depositing checks and really everything. We see this as a permanent change. Bye bye bank lines.
14. Along the same vein, in an update to #6, I’ve become so proficient at cutting Danny’s hair that he hasn’t returned to his barber. Why bother when he can have his hair cut in the comfort of his home, whenever he wants, for free? 🙂
15. You know that expression “Dance like no one’s watching”? Now that I’m playing my keyboards virtually with groups, I play like no one is hearing. Here’s to experimenting! ♪♪♪
Of all our blessings, though, the most crucial is that we’ve remained healthy and so far, have been lucky enough not to have lost any loved ones to Coved-19. Our hearts are with those who have not been so fortunate.
I can’t say that there is a single positive to COVID-19, especially when I know people who have been quarantined and have lost loved ones.
But the forced changes to our lives have not been all bad—at least not for me. These are some of the silver linings, listed in no particular order:
- Change is hard; it upsets my tummy. But it defines life. It’s essential to creativity. Forced change causes us to re-evaluate. Re-wire. Re-purpose. Probably some of it long overdue.
- So that leads me to discovery. Because the regular carrots weren’t available, I found that the bunched carrots at the market may be misshapen, but they are sweeter. I also discovered that I do not like flax milk. We’ve discovered the track on the elementary school near our house is a lovely place to walk. These discoveries taken singly are trivial, but there are enough of them that they’ve gathered an existential weight.
- Money saved. This silver lining is bittersweet because the flip side is that the people who provide Danny and me services are not making money.
- Except for some. I am filled with gratitude for the many brilliant transitions to virtual service. Our gym, for example, quickly moved to offering classes via Zoom. My writing group, mystery groups, and musical groups are all still meeting online.
- Which brings me to my own tech advances. I’ve been pushed to learn how to use Facetime, Zoom, and Whatsapp.
- And there are other things I’ve been pushed to learn, such as how to cut hair. My mom used to cut all my brothers’ hair, but I’ve never tried it. Both Danny and I were pleased with my first attempt.
- We don’t go to the market every day! Because of laziness about planning and our spoiled palates, before the pandemic, we went to the grocery store every day. But now that going to the grocery store is like entering a war zone, we’ve learned to shop once a week. Our usual market is about two miles away. This change saves 24 miles of driving a week, a boon to the planet, a new habit that I hope stays in place when SinP is in the rearview.
- Which brings me to the blessing and reprieve for our much-strained Mother Earth. Santa Cruz has decent air quality most of the time, but I can still tell the difference. After a recent rain, I could see the sails of the boats across the bay at Monterey—twenty-five miles away.
- Slowing down brings more time for reflection. Old memories surface. I remember an old pair of plaid pants—their texture and feel. When I wake up, there’s no hurry. Where am I going? Danny and I sit down to eat our oatmeal. I see a new bird in the yard and take the time to watch it.
- And in this time of isolation, we are reaching out more—more cards and calls and shared meals (via Zoom or Facetime). We have more time, sure, but mainly we have a greater appreciation for what’s important.
To conclude, here’s a silver-lining bonus for you: an opportunity to win a bag full of books from me and my cohorts at misterio press. Enter the contest.