In the newspaper business, you don’t write about a topic that has been incessantly covered unless there is a different angle or something new to say. I follow that rule no matter what I’m writing about and the coronavirus, unfortunately, is an example of something that has – understandably – been the main, if not only, topic of conversation for the last several weeks. That being said, I still wanted to write about COVID-19 because for the first (and hopefully last) time in my life, something horrible is negatively affecting the entire world. Not just the United States, not just Colorado, not just Eagle County. The entire world. And it’s not getting better. In fact, at this point, it’s getting worse before it’s getting better.
Because there is already enough doom and gloom (again, understandably) out there, adding to that is neither informative nor helpful. Also, using terms like “uncertain times,” “new realities,” “difficult times,” and “new normal” is getting old. In fact, a colleague recently sent an email that started with a promise not use any of those terms. Thank you. Not that those terms are inaccurate – they are completely accurate – but reading and hearing them over and over is becoming tiresome. On the same wording note, a friend of mine pointed out that we should say “physical distancing” rather than “social distancing” because using platforms like FaceTime, Zoom, and social media are how everyone is staying connected – we just can’t be around one another. Speaking of social media – I wonder if it’s helping or hindering morale in this scenario. Negativity is definitely present but the memes are both creative and eye-opening. Also, seeing happy photos of family and friends serves as a welcome distraction. Also, we’re lucky that it’s 2020 and not 1990 because technology is allowing friends and family to see and talk to one another from afar.
So, in an effort to talk about arguably the most relevant topic in world history, and offer somewhat of a different perspective, here are a few observations and realizations (not statistics) that have come to mind now that everyone has been living in isolation for two and a half weeks:
- People are participating in activities and going places (outdoor locations) they never had time or made time for in the past.
- Everyone is being forced to go with the flow and adapt – obviously this is not an ideal way to learn but having the ability to roll with the punches is a good skill to possess.
- We are recognizing that without our health, we have nothing.
- If they can, people are spending more time outside and there is no question that the benefits of nature, fresh air, and outdoor exercise are astronomical.
- As parents of a ten-month-old, we are coming up with new and creative ways to teach and entertain Fleet. While we’re lucky he’s too young to know what’s going on, my heart goes out to all the parents out there who are having to work and homeschool their kids. If I had to teach Fleet math right now I’d be freaking out.
- Speaking of which, maybe something positive to come out of all this is people will realize the unparalleled value of teachers.
- Watching entertainers like Jimmy Fallon do The Tonight Show from home is a lesson in the importance of humor, adjusting, and being as creative as possible with what is available.
- There is no doubt that dogs are benefitting most which is nice for our sweet girls. Sedona and Zephyr definitely know something is amiss but they are happy about the extra time and attention.
- We are grateful to have a place to live and easy access to beautiful outdoor areas. Again, my heart goes out to those living in cities that don’t have that luxury.
- People’s homes have never looked better. Everyone is cleaning, organizing, painting, and taking the word “project” to new levels.
Negatives (in addition to the obvious):
- Businesses large and small are closed and people are out of work with no end in sight.
- I think the hardest part for a lot of people is the lack of timeframe and fear of the unknown. We don’t know what’s on the horizon and that is scary.
- Somehow people are bored and are posting that fact all over social media. Please stop. There is always something to do around the house and/or outside. Also, there are endless books to read and television shows and movies to watch.
- I feel like everything I read or watch is now in terms of (or through the lens of) the coronavirus and the world we’re living in as a result. It is really strange.
- It’s human nature to enjoy having something to look forward to and the coronavirus has taken that away from all of us.
- This is small and selfish but still accurate: for the second year in a row, my snowboard season was cut short.
Somewhere in between:
- All of the sudden, things we never thought twice about could be detrimental. For example, shaking someone’s hand or giving someone a hug. I wonder how long that will take to change – if it ever does.
- Because we live in a resort town, we know how to handle shoulder seasons. For about six weeks in the spring and fall, Eagle County “shuts down” meaning the lifts at Beaver Creek and Vail stop spinning, locals go on vacation, tourists go home, and a lot of restaurants, bars, and hotels temporarily close and use the time to clean, take a break, and recalibrate. In our current coronavirus world, we now have a different definition of “shutting down” and this year off-season came six weeks early.
- I grew up in Miami so seeing empty shelves in grocery stores was something I experienced every hurricane season for seventeen years. But while hurricanes meant no power and no television, you could hang out with friends. The coronavirus is the opposite.
Today is April 2 and the official social distancing guidelines have already been extended through April 30. It will be interesting to see how long people can handle the isolation and whether or not the timeframe is extended again. Eventually people are going to want contact with the outside world that goes beyond a screen and inevitably will want more variety in their daily routines. In the meantime, I’ll be at home or enjoying fresh air with my family. I’m fortunate to share a house with all four of them.