We’ve all had a lot of time to think. Some of that thinking might have gone nowhere— at least nowhere productive— but for communications specialist Larry Checco in Silver Spring, Maryland, it has taken him to the future, and to the positive changes he hopes can come out of the pandemic.
I keep telling my wife she’s the luckiest woman in the world. When she comes to that realization herself, she’ll be a lot happier.
Only kidding. After 40 years of marriage I think she’s pretty content.
If hunkering down with your soulmate over these recent months because of the coronavirus hasn’t negatively infected your relationship, I reckon it will survive anything.
My wife Laurie and I made a pact shortly after isolating ourselves in our house. It was that we would avoid nitpicking each other’s flaws and idiosyncrasies. So far, it seems to have worked.
We rise around 7 a.m. I usually make the coffee, feed our numerous cats, and collect the newspaper from the bottom of the driveway. We then sit across from one another in the living room citing passages from news articles we think the other would be interested in (quite honestly, most news these days just makes us angry, but that’s another story).
During the day we manage to distance ourselves while in the house. Laurie telecommutes from the dining room while I commandeer our second-floor bedroom as my reading and writing cave.
When the weather is nice (i.e. not raining) we take breaks together, walking two miles or so through the neighborhood. Evenings are filled with making dinner and watching the latest Netflix Whatever.
In short, we’re bored.
Given what many others are going through—health-wise, financially, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, not to mention those who have lost loved ones to this deadly disease— Laurie and I feel extremely lucky.
We’ve increased our charitable giving, not that it’s going to make a big difference, but it’s important to us. And, by isolating ourselves in our home, we hope to keep ourselves— and others— safe.
But tell me, how does this end, and what kind of Brave New Normal might we be heading towards?
All this downtime has allowed wide-ranging thoughts to fill the voids.
For example, how can we, as a society, convert this weird, surreal, and dangerous time into something positive?
If nothing else, this pandemic has clearly demonstrated how broken so much in our society seems to be. From our health care system to our supply chains. From our once venerated government institutions to financial credit markets. From our horribly broken and ineffective political system to the way we elect our leaders… which may be why our political system is in such bad shape.
Can they be fixed? For example, to address income and wealth inequality, do we simply tax the rich (which always seems to backfire, anyway), or do we pick up the pieces and remake the system to be more equitable?
How, if at all, might we shift our values and think differently? Will we return to work as it used to be, with the aspirations many of us held so dear, to work with our noses to the grindstone so we can make money so we can buy things to impress people we couldn’t give a damn about? Or will we set higher goals for ourselves and value connections with family and friends more than we value work?
What about the environment and our relationship to the natural world? Will we value them differently? How about social and economic injustice, which this pandemic has highlighted in so many different ways?
To do nothing means simply to go back to the way everything was before, and miss a golden opportunity to make real change for the better.
Slightly off topic, but important nonetheless, is the fact that more than anything else, this pandemic has stolen our time. We’ll never get these weeks and months of isolation and social distancing back again.
My wife is a bit younger, but I’m a septuagenarian with a bucket list a mile long. Time is precious, so I’m thinking about time a lot differently now than before.
What about you?
By the way, my wife isn’t really the luckiest woman in the world, but I’m certainly the luckiest guy. Pandemic or no pandemic, I can take that to the bank.