An important and immediate disclaimer is in order here: I’m referring to the quarantine/shutdown, not the pandemic itself.
COVID-19 has been a horrific civilizational trauma. It has resulted in the tragic loss of tens of thousands of lives, and billions of dollars in lost economic activity. Moreover…it isn’t quite over yet. There is no upside to the virus.
There is really no upside to the quarantine, either; so perhaps I’ve lured you here with a bait-and-switch.
But there might be ways that you can make the most of a bad situation. If you must live like this until May 1st (or even, heaven forbid, until June 1st), how might you come out better for it on the other side?
Here are a few ideas:
Gratitude for the normal
Being a curmudgeon of sorts, I used to grumble when I got stuck behind a school bus during rush hour traffic. (To cite just one example.)
That won’t seem so bad anymore. In fact, being stuck behind a school bus in traffic sounds like a pretty good deal right about now.
Just having the world back to normal—including the sometimes annoying aspects of it—will be a blessing when this is all done.
Now is an opportune time for deep thinking, since you almost certainly do have more time on your hands than is usually the case. (If you happen to be a healthcare worker, or a grocery store employee, this obviously doesn’t apply to you. Sorry…I realize that.)
You might want to think deeply about the meaning of life. But you might also want to think deeply about nuts-and-bolts issues like time management, or your approach toward your business (or your job).
Some people, unfortunately, will be thrown out of work by this ordeal. If that’s you, then you’ll want to think about what you want to (and can) do with the next phase of your economic life.
That might apply even if you’ve picked up a temporary gig working at an Amazon warehouse or your local Costco. What do you want to do to make money when the world gets back to normal?
Almost all of us are spending less money nowadays, because there is less to spend it on. We can’t go out to eat. We can’t travel. Et cetera.
Back to the reflection thing. If you’ve managed to do without an expenditure for at least two months (by the time this is all over), you might reasonably ask if it’s an expenditure that you really need.
Or—on the other hand—maybe that expenditure really does make your life richer and more meaningful. You’ll know for certain when this is all over.
I know: the shutdown, the quarantine—they still suck. But because of all this, you are going to have to pause your normal life, and then reset it again. That choice has been made for you.
But there are still choices that you can make—and things that are well within your control. You had might as well make the most of COVID-19’s current pause, and the reset that will eventually follow.