Reflections on a Pandemic

As we approach reopening our lives, now a mere week away (I know I’m jumping the gun here a bit, but we’ve already surpassed the benchmark target to reopen July 1), I’m sure you’re as excited as I am to get back much of what we’ve been missing.

The waiting game has seemed like an eternity!

This pandemic has, obviously, meted out extreme challenges and hardships. Businesses have failed. Whole industries are hurting. People who lost their jobs are hurting. People who lost loved ones to covid are hurting. People who were denied celebrations (I think that’s all of us) are hurting. In some cases, relationships have been strained, or lost. These things hardly need reminder.

Yet, I think it’s also a good time to reflect on the positive things—the sliver linings–that have come out of this pandemic. Before we get too caught up in the “back-to-normal” that we forget about them, I think they are worth pondering.

  1. The environment is cleaner. The contrast is no longer as stark as it was in the earlier days of lock-down over a year ago, but the air is still cleaner than it was. The reduced travel and industrial output have given our planet a reprieve. Birds have returned, vegetation has flourished, animal’s territories have expanded.
  2. We humans have gotten out into nature much more. Hiking trails, for example, have been packed as people take up alternatives to the indoor activities that they’ve been denied. And they’re the healthier for it.
  3. A lot of home improvements and deferred home maintenance have taken place. For some, it was the sudden increase of available time, for others the availability of funds that couldn’t be spent on such things as international travel.
  4. Flu season never happened last winter. Our precautions with covid curbed the spread not only of covid viruses but other viruses, too.
  5. Many of us did a lot more home cooking than usual, honing our culinary skills and delighting those with whom we shared our new expertise. The same can be said for the hobbies that we picked up along the way. For me, it’s learning Spanish.
  6. We’ve gotten to know our province better. RV sales were never brisker, and campsites never busier than last summer as people kept their travels more local. Similar patterns are expected this summer.
  7. The government handed us a lot of money to spend. Of course, it’s been very uneven, but a U.S. survey found that twice as many people were better off financially because of covid than were worse off. I suspect it’s similar in Canada.
  8. Some people got into home ownership for the first time because they could reallocate their savings to a down payment instead of other things that were now denied them.
  9. A measure of co-operation prevailed between jurisdictions. Governments have co-operated with each other more than usual, though many of us would wish they’d done even better at this.
  10. We’ve had a lot of new words and abbreviations enter our vocabulary, and in the process, educated ourselves concerning these matters: PPE, coronavirus, W.H.O., MRNA vaccines, NACI, CDC, and others. And we’ve learned to recognize, and name, a lot of new faces: in government, in the media, and among the cadre of “experts”.
  11. We got a Canadian division in the NHL and a Canadian team into the Stanley Cup finals!

Likely, as you’ve read through this list, you’ve thought of a few more to add. I’d like to hear your additions.