A year of (you guessed it!) unprecedented change
We’ve heard about COVID-19’s positive impact on the environment, relationships, technology, remote working and even education. But how has COVID positively impacted us personally? While it’s hard to answer that question when most of the world is going through a second wave and experiencing pandemic fatigue, now is the most important time to remind ourselves that this can also have a bright side.
A few of us have chosen to share some ways in which COVID-19 has positively impacted our lives.
What I noticed when this whole pandemic crept into our world, was that our team really came together as a unit and began working together in a way that we hadn't before. My sense is that we all felt a need to share this experience, and working on something gave us purpose, community and connection. We had daily zoom meetings where we chatted about work, but more importantly, what was happening in our own small worlds. Because of this, I actually felt very supported through the first few weeks and months. I am so grateful for the unexpected gifts this time has given our family - I am now much more conscious of what I say "yes" to, where I spend my time and how fast or slow I do things. This slowing down has helped me to regain reflection time, to listen more to my children, and to get more connected to myself.
Spending time with our three teenagers has been the silver lining of the pandemic. In his popular blog post, The Tail End, Tim Urban found that by the time we graduate from high-school, we will have already spent about 90% of the time with our parents for our entire lifetime.
During a normal year, we would have barely seen our oldest son, who is away at university on the other side of the country. The other two are usually so busy with friends and after-school activities that we rarely eat dinner together. So, this year, I’ll take being with them and knowing that they’re safe as a gift.
Since the pandemic began I’ve gone through many phases and learned things I never would have learned otherwise. I believe this shared experience has made us more flexible, more vulnerable, and somehow more connected. I started having frequent zoom calls with friends from other countries, and before COVID that didn’t happen at all. My advice is to start planning for something you look forward to doing, even if we can’t really have a timeline right now. Having plans for the future can remind us that this situation is temporary!
Where do I even begin when telling the tale of 2020? I know I’m not the only person who struggled with the anxiety of uncertainty this year. In my situation, I wasn’t able to apply for and renew my work permit. With no updates from the Canadian government for months, I was living in Canada in this weird limbo, feeling like my life was being pulled up from under me. One foot in the door, one foot out. In the end, COVID has sent me back to my childhood home in Ohio. Eight years of living in Canada.
But one of the main takeaways I’ve learned from this pandemic is to simply have gratitude. Give thanks for everything around you. I promise you won't even have to look far. When everything feels like it is spiralling out of your control, you can always find at least one thing to be thankful for. And that one thing can quickly turn into lists of things. And the more you start to recognize this abundance, you start to feel so fulfilled. I learned that even tiny little positive things could make my days better. Being thankful for fresh air, clean water, the sun, my health, time with my partner, time with my parents.
Having the life pause from COVID brought me face to face with my values again and reminded me of what truly brings me happiness. Looking for an escape from our hectic human world, I started to look at nature for help and guidance. There are endless amounts of life lessons and wisdom to be learned from her if you're patient and observant. Even just a poppy flower growing through the cracks of pavement in my driveway made me feel hopeful and inspired. That even in difficult conditions, we can still thrive and make do.
If nature can always find a way, then so can I.
I often say to Meralon as we take a regular walk in our neighbourhood in our masks, I feel like we're living in a dystopian nightmare. It's just all been so bizarre. Over the past year, I've certainly experienced some sadness — I think I miss hugging people the most.
And in some ways, and with incredible irony, it's been special as well. It's been a remarkable experience because this situation has been radically surprising, even shocking, and it's been thrust on all of us at the same time, but not necessarily in the same way. So now, as I go for walks, I often feel sad to think about what other people must have to endure right now as they go through this.
Our new lives have also brought a lot of quiet. We're no longer rushing around, which now feels like we were doing it back then for reasons we don't even understand. I've loved that, and I've seen the positive effect it's had on our sons. It allows us to become more thoughtful and more contemplative.
We have a lot to be grateful for and we now have a little more space to stop and think about that.
And if you’re struggling to find some hope or reasons to celebrate, here are some resources to make your day better.
- Uplifting News on Reddit
- Positive Good News About COVID-19
- It’s still true: Not all the news about COVID-19 is bad
- “How I Made Friends with Reality” by Emily Levine
- The Husband-and-Wife Team Behind the Leading Vaccine to Solve Covid-19
- How One Man Created The Biggest Virtual Pub Quiz In The World
- Why it took David E. Talbert two decades to make ‘Jingle Jangle,’ his Black Christmas classic
- From homeless refugee to chess prodigy, 9-year-old dreams of becoming youngest grandmaster
- Never Again