A Global Crisis. Households Impacted. The World Changed.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a worldwide shift in the way people live. With a nationwide stay-at-home order, schools closed for the rest of the academic year, restaurants and retail stores limited, social distancing mandated, I began to wonder: how will we appear on the other side of this?
For me, the first few weeks were in crisis mode, adjusting and planning for the unknown. By weeks 3-4, I began to lose steam and was shadowed by fear and uncertainty. I struggled with loneliness and trying to comprehend the changes that were swiftly spreading across our nation. I knew I had to redress my thinking soon, for the sake of my family and my sanity. I began to imagine our circumstances as an opportunity for choice. I could choose to develop favorable habits and make positive changes, or drown in a pool of despair.
The biggest obstacle was social distancing and staying home. We were forced to slow down, clear our calendars, and rethink how we spend our time. Difficult as it may seem, especially for a society that is accustomed to being busy, we quickly eased into the comfort of leisure walks as a family, playing “around the world” basketball on a whim, and soaking up the sun while eating picnics in the front yard. This extra time has proven to be a blessing for my family. We began completing long overdue projects and picking up books we meant to finish. Our new awareness of what we can live with and what we can live without has sprouted and a new simplicity has been born.
Our circumstances have challenged us to think creatively. The service and retail sector transitioned to curbside, carryout, or delivery to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic. Schools switched to online learning. Parents developed inventive ways to balance working from home and monitoring children’s education. Social and video apps like Zoom, Instagram, and TikTok are widely used to connect with others and to pass the time. People have been thinking “outside the box” and moving towards surviving a time of crisis.
We wash our hands for the zillionth time. We wipe down our groceries and the deliveries to our homes. We sterilize our countertops, doorknobs, and light switches. We wear face masks and gloves now when we leave for essentials. We have officially adopted a hyper-awareness for cleanliness. I know for my family, we had become relaxed in washing our hands before meals and after play. We had taken our health for granted. This has been a good reminder for us. Having good hygiene and a healthy environment is important practices for the safety of everyone.
I recall the beginning weeks of the COVID-19 here in my area. Store shelves emptied and common goods consumed. I was one of the ones that did not instantly react to the growing frenzy. I honestly needed toilet paper one day, only to find out there was none. I felt frustrated at the rash behavior of others and the overwhelming concern for the scarcity. People were hoarding and panic buying. My worry began to subside when I heard store clerks working fervently to stock the shelves every moment of the day and small stores and individuals making face masks due to the shortage. The help from others in our community and across the globe was apparent. People want to lend support and with the mentality, “We are in this together.”
When normalcy returns, I believe we will emerge stronger and more vibrant, with an appreciation for what matters most to us. Like any other change in our lives–a death, a birth, a loss of a job, a divorce, or a pandemic–we adapt, adjust, and overcome. We find that silver lining, that ray of hope, and create a new “normal” for our lives. So, let’s choose to think and feel differently about our circumstances because any other way only leaves us in the dark.