My Silver Linings Playbook

Believing as I do that the words we use influence the way we experience the world, I have decided that rather than referring to this current situation as a “crisis” I will instead use the word “opportunity.”

I don’t mean to make light of what’s going on. My sunny outlook is entirely situational of course, and not in any way meant to downplay the very real and very serious impact of this pandemic: death, illness, sacrifice, extreme economic hardship, social isolation, anxiety, and more.

It’s just that for me and for many millions of others, doing our part to comply with stay-at-home orders means changing our expectations and our mindsets rather than enduring any actual hardship. Having to work from home, spend more time with my spouse and my cat, wear gloves and maintain social distancing, and watch a lot of Netflix isn’t exactly a crisis. It’s an opportunity.

A cherry tree in bloom
A cherry tree I encountered while out on a socially-distanced walk

An opportunity to tackle the tasks I’ve been putting off around the house. An opportunity to get to some of the books that have been on my reading list for a while. An opportunity to listen to more music and discover new artists. An opportunity to reach out (virtually) to the important people in my life. An opportunity slow down and be present.

So while some people are climbing the walls and ranting about not being able to get a pedicure, I’m getting things done. Because even in the most trying times we can find a silver lining.

Along with the ambitious list of tasks and goals that I hope to accomplish while this “opportunity” continues, I’m also going to be compiling an ongoing list of the other silver linings that I encounter as we go along. Please add yours in the comments.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Health care workers are finally beginning to get a little bit of the appreciation they deserve for their dedication, impossibly hard work, and sacrifice.
  • School children are discovering a world of unstructured time that they’ve never known before. They are being given an opportunity to use their imaginations and to be bored, and to find their own way out of boredom. They are being unchained from their desks and learning in new creative ways.
  • Parents are discovering a new appreciation for the hard work of teachers.
  • No commute means more sleep.
  • Technology has been the game changer through this upheaval.
  • Neighbors are reaching out, and people are checking on vulnerable members of their community, and everyone is doing a better job keeping an eye on one another.
  • Artists and entertainers are finding creative solutions for getting their work out, keeping our spirits up, and entertaining us.
  • The planet is healing.
  • People are setting aside grudges and family quarrels and reaching out to loved ones. Family members are reconnecting at home by playing games, having date night, watching movies, cooking together, and even talking.
  • We’ve developed an appreciation for all the people who keep us fed: agricultural workers, truck drivers, grocery stock clerks, checkers and all the rest.
  • We’re rediscovering leisure-time activities that we haven’t had time for in years and discovering new talents and interests we didn’t know we had.
  • Zoom meetings from our living rooms, kitchens, spare bedrooms, and home-offices give us a peek inside our co-workers’ lives. Connecting with them in a less-structured, more relaxed environment lets us see them as actual human beings.
  • More people are reading blogs.
  • Older folks and self-declared non-techy types are getting a lot more comfortable with technology.
  • Six-foot distancing is a dream come true.

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