Life in the time of COVID: What we Learned
Life in the time of COVID has been difficult, frustrating, terrifying and heartbreaking. It is marked by deprivation, loneliness, and a 24/7 newsfeed of the number of dead. People are at their best and their worst—think of those hoarding necessary goods while healthcare professionals on the frontline are putting their lives on the line. This year, 2020, is one for the record books, that will be spoken of for the next century, our big Remember When…
My family will be taking something unexpected away from this experience: Gratitude.
As the days unfolded our freedom was compromised, but there was a very distinct silver lining: We were together in our state of quarantine. My only child was just finishing her senior year of college and instead of bursting out into adulthood and disappearing into the world, she came home and stayed home. We talked for hours as she planned her future, I taught her to cook, we discussed and confided, we reminisced about old times and debated various topics–more than we ever have in her lifetime, or likely ever will again. We had the gift of precious hours together that never would have happened–unless COVID had happened. In this way, it has been the best of times in the middle of the worst of times.
Spring unfolded gloriously during the pandemic. While the news was grim and dark, I will always remember the ornamental cherry tree outside the window in full bloom, as glorious as it has ever been, filling my entire field of vision with a big pink cloud, like heaven. I had never noticed how beautiful it was before because I never worked all day from home in that spot before. Wow, Spring is pretty fabulous when you have the time to really look.
When the weather broke and we could get outside for a walk, we saw again the faces familiar to us after two decades in the neighborhood. It was so thrilling to make contact, like finding water in the desert. Those faces were more dear and appreciated than they ever had been before.
COVID gave us cake. And now we will never go back to a life without meaningful dessert. Even before COVID, we have always tried to get decent food on the table, even when very busy. But the sweet endings, the icing on the literal cake, never factored much. Who has time to bake? During COVID we had time. So many meals were made memorable as we ate mindfully and in high anticipation of the evening’s finale. We took pleasure in ferreting out the good recipes, and in the making, and then in the eating. 2020 may have been marked with the pox of COVID but it is now forever also the Year of the Cake. Here is one of our favorite recipes:
We moved into a new neighborhood during COVID. At any other time, we would have been going about our business. Connecting with our new neighbors would have happened when it happened. But COVID led us to gather with intent as we met for quarantini hour, all of us equally desperate for human contact. So there we all stood on our own driveways with a glass of wine, 6 feet apart…connecting right there on the spot.
As each difficult day unfolded, we found more reasons to be grateful. We stopped taking so many things for granted. We came to understand the value of slowing down and the pleasure of being home and off the treadmill that life can often become.
COVID I hate you, but I thank you for what we learned.