Before the onset of Covid-19, we had planned on leaving on a spring vacation this week. We were going to walk the historic streets of Boston, explore some family history, see the sights of New York City, and visit friends who live in the area. Instead, we continue to shelter at home waiting for our province to gradually begin lifting some of the restrictions that have been put in place to protect us and to keep our health care system from being overwhelmed. There’s absolutely no question that for most people on the planet, the Covid-19 pandemic has been an obstacle to living life as we knew it before the middle of March, but has it also been an opportunity?
“Even in the darkest experiences we can uncover creative options.” wrote Samuel R. Chand in Leadership Pain: The Classroom for Growth.
On March 18, the day after Alberta declared a state of emergency and started shutting down non essential services, I wrote that I didn’t want to look back on this as time wasted. That was seven weeks ago. Rather than lamenting over a vacation lost and other obstacles to normal living, I’d rather look at opportunities seized. I truly believe that a positive attitude is vital to maintaining good health and overall well-being. That’s proven to be true throughout my journey with cancer and I think it’s just as true in present circumstances.
So how have I been using the unexpected extra time that I’ve been given by the pandemic shutdown? Here are a few of the ways…
- Cleaned and reorganized the kitchen cabinets and set aside a number of items to take to our local thrift store when it reopens.
- When I could no longer find the mixes that I’ve been buying for years on the grocery store shelves, I reverted to making my own pancake mix and baking biscuits from scratch. I doubt that I’ll ever go back.
- Experimented with adapting a bread recipe until it turned out just the way I wanted.
- Read several books.
- Wrote more than usual including 11 blog posts in April as opposed to the 6 or 7 that I usually post.
- Used Duolingo to study Spanish every day learning more than 1000 words so far.
- Enjoyed several Zoom chats with family and friends.
- Walked over 80 km (50 miles) partially on the treadmill, but mostly outdoors.
- Found 7 geocaches.
- Played a lot of 7 Wonders Duel.
- Completed some yard work that wouldn’t have gotten done if I’d been busy planning and packing for a trip.
Does all this mean that I’m happy to have been essentially shut in for the past seven weeks? Does feeling positive about how I’ve been using my time mean that I’m oblivious to the effects that this period of time has had on the economy, on businesses, on the lives of others? Of course not, but neither have I been anxiously straining at the bit for it to come to an end. I’m happy that the health authorities in our province feel that we’ve reached a point where we can cautiously and carefully begin reopening, but I also realize that it will be some time before things are back to “normal”. I sincerely hope that we’ll be able to reschedule our trip someday, but I know that it won’t be for quite awhile.
So, how have you been coping during these most unusual days? Have you been focusing on obstacles or looking for opportunities?