In an age of self-quarantine due to the global surprise of COVID 19, I have had time to take a breath. Looking at the silver lining, not all of this is so bad. As a society, we have slowed down. I walk around my neighborhood during the “P.E. portion” of my day and see children playing outside alone or with their new built-in best friends – their siblings. Forced to communicate and play, they dig in the dirt, use their imaginations, draw with chalk on sidewalks and play in the driveway hitting a tennis ball or handball against the garage door. The innocent laughter and naivety of what is happening brings happiness to me. Seeing parents off of their computers and playing with their kids seems all too much like days gone by prior to smart phones, social media, and gaming.
Don’t get me wrong, the modern age is great. Growing up in a family full of entrepreneurs I wonder how daily business pre-1990’s was accomplished. Writing a letter and waiting for a response seems too long and painful vs sending an email with an attachment or expecting a fully signed contract back within minutes. Because work moved slower, employees were not expected to be available 24/7. Instead, work was during work hours and family life was allowed. There was balance. Parents took the time to teach basic life skills such as cooking, household chores, and yard work. As a child, working and learning from parents was expected and fun; as a teenager, not so much, but nevertheless, parents were not distracted and took the time to teach their children how to be adults.
There are extensive distractions which lead to stress for parents today. The high cost of medicine, real estate, rent, taxes, food, having to work long hours and sometimes 2 jobs are the main contributors to stress. With all of these priorities, many times they take precedence over taking time to just be relaxed, a feeling that enables patience.
Even though times are stressful, with little income coming in for many Americans, there is more time to focus on family. Since going into hibernation is not an option, cooking, growing plants, artwork, board games, playing outside, and music seems to pass the time. Free learning is EVERYWHERE. If you have internet, you can learn whatever you have wanted to master. Take the time to just “be,” take the time to see the beauty of spring, and take the time to focus on what is important in life. The silver lining of the COVID19 is that if we were not forced to STOP, we would have been on the same trajectory of losing sight of what is important; family, friends and slowing down to find balance.
So let’s enjoy this temporarily slowed pace of life, appreciate what we have, and look positively towards the future when all of this is over. Stay safe.