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Silver Lining Thursday

Last week, a reader suggested that it would be helpful to think about the silver linings that have come with a year of pandemic life.

So, I thought we’d do that today in lieu of a normal Thankful Thursday. It’s kinda like Thankful Thursday, but with a twist.

Black cat sitting on a bench by a window.

I have to say that OF COURSE we all would choose not to have a pandemic. And the point of this is not to make light of the real suffering that people the world over have suffered this past year.

But none of us get to choose whether or not to have a pandemic; it’s non-optional for literally everyone on this planet.

So in light of that, it makes sense to hunt for the parts of this that are a blessing.

I’ll make a list to start us out, and then you can join me in the comments.

(It is extremely easy to complain about the pandemic, so it should go without saying that I could also make a long, long list of things I hate about the pandemic. And I haven’t even suffered as much as many people have! )

Lisey got moved to a better work location

The first shop she worked at had a lot of dudes that did not know how to behave or speak appropriately around women.

Lisey at Valvoline

Lisey got furloughed at the beginning of the pandemic, but then when she got called back to work, she got moved to a location that was full of female employees. Much better!

Lisey got to do online college classes

She was having a really rough time with in-person classes last spring, and she was seriously thankful that everything got moved online.

Some non-local people have gotten to join our book club

Some of our members have invited friends in other states to join us, since we meet via Zoom these days. It’s been fun to meet new readers!

I like not sitting in waiting rooms

I appreciate being able to sit in my quiet car and read a book while I wait to be called into an appointment; much better than a waiting room with a TV broadcast.

A lot of people have adopted pets

Sonia being booted on the forehead by a tan cat.

The cats have been flying out of our adoption center since the pandemic began, and I know this has been true all over the country.

Tan cat getting up into Sonia's lap.

Sonia with a tan cat in her lap.

Many jobs are now able to be done from home

A whole lotta jobs that people swore could not be done from home (such as Mr. FG’s) have now been able to transition to at-home work.

Obviously, it’ll be better to have some choice in whether or not to work at home, but I think overall, the end result of this will be more flexibility for workers.

Online college has its upsides

Such as, no time spent commuting to class! And no awkward amounts of time to kill between lab and lecture either. 

We have put fewer miles on our cars

 Mr. FG’s commute alone added a lot of miles to our yearly usage; he hasn’t commuted more than once or twice in the last year. 

I am really, really going to appreciate a lot of things once this is over

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, after all.

So I am really going to have a fresh appreciation for the joys of being able to see people, to travel, to have in-person book club, to be able to smile at people and have them actually see my smile…there are a lot of things to look forward to.

Already, I find myself being so thankful that the toilet paper shortage is over; I really appreciate that toilet paper is in stock!

What silver linings can you think of? 

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Emma

Sunday 4th of April 2021

Now that my husband works from home he saves 3 hours of commuting each day and it is way easier for him to pick the kids up from daycare if I cannot (I still go into the office) and he can help more with dinner etc. which gives us more family time in the evenings.

T

Sunday 7th of March 2021

I started a project of writing to my “away” children the week the pandemic started.

My youngest child still lives at home and has cognitive disabilities along with medical issues. His older 3 siblings have moved on to their own homes. One in the city we live in, the other two in completely opposite areas of the country.

I suggested to his worker (who assists him daily) that maybe they could craft a letter that he could hand write and send to each of these siblings weekly.

A year later we are on the 52th week of writing.

I never imagined he/ we would still be at it.

I photograph each letter that he sends.

I then write a letter to each child about where they are in their life that week. We have covered birthday and holiday celebrations and what is happening with shut downs and openings. I noted when we started to wear masks and stopped taking public transit. Cross country moves and university graduations virtually were celebrated ,job offers and new roommates were discussed. Joy and sorrow visited our family during this year and was spoken about and recorded.

Sometime after a few months had passed ,I realized that I had an oppourtunity to talk and reminisce about so many other topics. So I did. Many of these topics reflected about each of the children individually.

When I send the letters I use the wonderful cards that I have received over the years and was saving for “ someday”. It seems the perfect “ someday” arrived. New cards were purchased at my favourite volunteer run thrift shops as they were able to open. It appears I’m sending cards others had also saved for “ someday”:)

I purchase stamps as new issues come out. Frequently the stamps might actually pertain to a certain child’s life or interests. They then get a packet to use for their correspondence. I enclose a bit of “ pin” money and am fascinated to hear what they do with it. I write a joke on a sticky attached to the paper money and each card starts off with a quote or verse( aphorism)that I think is pertinent for that week.

I’ve had a wonderful oppourtunity to concentrate on each child individually. It takes time, but wow what a snapshot of a year in our family.

We still video chat weekly as a family and keep in touch individually. But I think everyone has enjoyed receiving the snail mail. I know I was blessed:)

Elizabeth H.

Saturday 6th of March 2021

I can actually think of a few things:

1. It has slowed me down and made me spend more time at home. Because of this my ironing and mending are up to date and it made me think of what is in my freezer and look at what needs to be used up first and before we are smacked with hurricane season when I don't keep a lot in the freezer.

2. My husband is partially retired and the pandemic came about the same time he started the partial retirement so I have gotten used to having him at home more for both (2=1). And when he is working he is able to do about 90% at home.

3. I was really grateful that my first doctor appointment during the pandemic was a tele doc appointment by cell phone. I didn't have to get on the scale. I know, its silly, but it was such a relief. I knew I hadn't gained but there is something calming about not getting on that scale.

4. We are using a lot less gas. DH uses his car maybe once a week and when we use mine we don't go nearly as far. Really grateful since gas prices are now increasing rapidly. Our tolls are less too.

5. It's probably weird but prices for some foods have gone way down very temporarily. Not sure I understand all the reasons why but for several weeks last summer my local Publix were cutting chicken and pork prices way down so I stocked up a bit. Cheese prices also came down. However, ice cream prices stayed pretty much the same whereas beef and sandwich meat prices skyrocketed.

I think that it. Good idea!

Kim

Saturday 6th of March 2021

Hands down the time we got with our teenage sons. They were a senior and sophomore in high school when the lockdown started and once school activities stopped they were always at home. The older is now in online college so still around the house a lot other than work days. I was starting to feel the anxiety of the boys getting close to going off to college so I have really cherished this extra time with them.

Isa

Friday 5th of March 2021

I am a healthcare worker, working in direct contact with patients, so I've lived with "in-your-face-Covid" for the past year, no going around it. With all the anxiety that this bring up. Still, I can attest to some good things coming out of it (for me and my family):

1- More (quality) time with my family. Since the kid's activities have been cancelled and not much is happening outside of the home, and we cannot have visitors over or go visit anyone, we got to spend much more time together playing board games, going for walks, taking bike rides, etc. And both my kids got to spend a lot of time with each other, which is sure strenghtening their already strong bond.

2- Hubby working from home has been a blessing. He does stuff around the house on his lunch break (not that I've asked him to) and after work, and this helps a lot. He's there to supervise the morning routine and put the kids on the school bus, which gives me freedom to organize my mornings without having to take care of them. And he is safe, not having to travel by bicycle year rounds (again, his choice), which is really scary when he goes out in the ice and snow and rain, in traffic...

3- We stopped eating out and going out for entertainment, and this made me realize that I'm ok without and that I'm ok being quiet at home. I'm not always looking for a way out (of my thoughts) anymore.

4- We saved money. Since we were both lucky enough to not have our jobs impacted and to not be sick and out of wages, the fact that all is closed down gave us the opportunity to save money and finish paying the house. Mortgage free feels amazing.

5- I stopped "having" to have over some people that I'm not so fond of. Not being allowed to have anyone over is the perfect excuse! And on that note, I've realized which friends and family members I really miss seeing, and which ones I'm ok letting go of.

... TO FOLLOW

Isa

Friday 5th of March 2021

.... AND MORE :

6- Since my social life outside of work basically stopped since I could not see anyone, I was forced to expand my social circle at work and actually made a real good friend over the last year. And it got me going on walks with coworkers-friends a couple times a week, at lunch.

7- My exercice routine got more pleasant. I cancelled the gym membership (that closed down anyways) . I discovered a love for swimming (my public pool has been open on&off since Covid). I discovered great free activities offered by the city, stuff for which I paid prior. I pushed aside what was not pleasant and focused on what is making my body feel alive. Feels nice.

8- I eat healthier. No more restaurant = home cooked meals = more veggies, more proteins, less crap

9- I finally had time to stop to smell the roses and READ books. For years I complained: "So many books, so little time!". For years I longed for time to sit down and crack a good one open. Well, I did it. Last year I've read 60 books, and this year 13 so far.

10- My kids don't say : "I'm bored!" anymore. They got to slow down and they (seem to) feel better for it. They were always creative, but this year it bloomed. Lots of art and craft, lots of writing stories, creating new projects. We don't have a lot of "toys" and we limit screen time, so they have to think outside of the box to stay busy.

11- No more having to drive one kid to this activity, to that birthday party, bringing the other one to the dollar store, to the playdate, etc. I don't miss being a chauffeur, and I don't miss having little ones over for playdates. I do it for my kids, so they are well-rounded and have a good social life, so they get to explore their environment and be open minded, so they get to learn and discover, and I am very grateful for their social life and activities, but... this is exhausing sometimes. Covid brought a halt without ME having to feel guilty about it.

12- Online stuff : online activities, doctors phone appointments, online university class, etc. I am not a technology person, so I'm very surprise to be liking this aspect so much. I hope some of this stays after Covid

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