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March 31, 2020

These are the Things the Coronavirus will Teach Us—if we Let It.

It was only a few weeks ago that I was one of the millions of skeptics.

I thought that this “virus” was simply a cold and it could not be any worse than influenza, which also kills thousands of people each year.

Now, a few weeks later, I am sitting in disbelief at just how quickly things have turned.

On my way to the grocery store the other day, I drove by our neighborhood playground, which was taped off with police tape, signifying that it was closed. The gravity of this situation occurred to me at that moment, and I immediately felt my heart sink and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

I realized in that moment that this is a turning point in our lives. I realized that our children will feel the effects of this pandemic for years to come. I realized that it will take years for our economy to recover. I realized that the very things we take for granted were taken away in an instant.

I tried to imagine what will be written in history books and what the generations in the future will be taught about COVID-19, the global pandemic that closed the world.

As I continued to drive that day, I made a conscious decision to change my mindset and consider all the good that could come from this unprecedented crisis. While none of us can predict what happens next, I hope that we all take something away from this that will be passed down for generations to come. I hope this becomes more than a “I walked uphill, both ways, to school” story. I hope that the lessons that come from this pandemic are lessons about humanity, sacrifice, kindness, and mental health.

I hope that hoarding teaches us about excess and we learn that material items have little bearing on our well-being and overall happiness. I hope that we learn that happiness is not found in “things” and we learn to appreciate the value of “experiences.”

I hope that social-distancing leads to a more united world as we realize the importance of human connection. I hope we aim for and achieve a better work-life balance and that we spend more energy connecting with our friends and family. I hope that we continue to make real phone calls and FaceTime calls to our loved ones rather than resorting back to text messages. I hope we hold our hugs just a little bit longer and we follow through on our frivolous “let’s meet for coffee one of these days” conversations.

I hope that this solitude teaches us to work through our uncomfortable feelings or seek help to work through them, rather than distracting ourselves by staying busy. I hope that “mental health” loses its stigma as we all get a glimpse into how lonely our world can be without human connection and the effect that has on our well-being. I hope that future generations will have access to the resources they need and that we continue to check in on each other as frequently as we are doing now.

I hope that homeschooling our children has a direct effect on the gratitude and appreciation that we show teachers, and I hope they are finally appreciated for the incredible amount of work and patience that goes into their jobs every day. I hope that their salaries will one day match the demands of their jobs.

I hope that homeschooling our children teaches them how lonely it can be when you can’t play with your friends every day. I hope this teaches them to become more compassionate toward the kids eating lunch alone and that they invite them to join them their table.

I hope that being “safe at home” teaches us gratitude for our circumstances, even on our worst days. I hope that we continue to praise and appreciate all of the front-line workers who weren’t so lucky to be “safe at home” and that we never lose sight of their dedication in fighting this “war” on our behalf.

I hope that this pandemic teaches us that it is far easier to accept change than to resist it and that our mindset is truly the only thing we have control of in any situation. I hope that these lessons are not lost and instead this is what is passed down to future generations.

While I am just as anxious as the rest of the world to get back to “normal life,” I truly hope it is a new kind of normal.

~

“There are two ways to be happy: Change the situation or change your mindset toward it.” ~ Unknown

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Kim Olowa  |  26 Follower

author: Kim Olowa

Image: Marco Verch / Flickr

Editor: Kelsey Michal