"Believe what ya like. Think what ya like. You'll be judged for what you do."
-- Tim Minton, Eyrie

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Silver Linings

     Covid has brought mostly bad news. Sickness, death, unemployment, confinement, loneliness. But there have been a few silver linings. For example, according to one estimate, global greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.4 billion tons in 2020, for a 7% reduction. 

     Something else:  animal shelters reported that the pandemic created new demand for dogs and cats as more people stayed home. One national animal rescue operation said that shelter intake was down 24% compared to 2019.

     Perhaps there are some other positive things that come out of the year 2020. Can you think of any?

     On a personal level, too, it's been a tough year. We've been shut in. We have friends and relatives who've gotten sick. We know people who've lost their jobs.

     B asked me if there are any activities or habits I've developed in response to Covid that I might want to carry over into my post-Covid world. Am I anxious to get back to my old life, just as it was, or is there anything I've started doing that I want to continue in my new life?

     My first reaction was: No, nothing. I want to get out of the house. I want to go see friends, play ping pong, go dancing, attend our senior classes in person. I want to go out to the movies, and most of all I want to travel --  visit friends and family, go someplace warm in the winter, or just experience a different environment or take part in different activities.

     But then I thought, there is one thing I'd like to keep doing. We've been Zooming fairly regularly with far-flung family. I used to talk to my sister in Phoenix about once a month, my sister in Florida about twice a year. Now we've scheduled a Zoom meeting every other Thursday. We're getting together more now than ever!

     Before Covid, I hardly ever talked with my kids, because they live far away and lead busy lives. It was always hard to get them on the phone. But now their lives have slowed down as well, and they have time to talk to their old man. So we've been Zooming on a regular basis, getting the family together. We have a new granddaughter. She lives a thousand miles away. But we see her once every two weeks. We saw her new teeth; we saw her start to crawl; now she's beginning to walk. She likes to wave and stick her tongue out at us.

     B has a large family spread out, literally, coast to coast from Seattle to Boston. I don't know the last time they all got together in person. But now they've held several family reunions on Zoom -- all six of them plus spouses and a few children.

     So in turn, I asked B what she hoped to hold over from Covid. She agreed she wants to keep up our Zoom meetings. Then she said that she's actually been enjoying the slower pace of life, the more relaxed lifestyle. She can watch TV without feeling guilty. She can have a cup of tea in the afternoon. She can sit and read a book . . . in the middle of the day!

     Don't get me wrong. I'm am fed up with Covid. I feel like I've been running a marathon, and now I've hit the wall. I hope they can make the vaccines available soon . . . for us, maybe sometime in February?

     I just hope, after it's all over and Covid is nothing but a memory, that we'll continue to see our friends and family on a regular basis. I want to be there when my granddaughter starts to talk!


gigi-hawaii said...

I have never tried Zoom and probably never will. I am glad you get some enjoyment from it.

Celia said...

I have one sister that will zoom with me and we've spent as much as two hours doing it. She got me started as she is still teaching 4th grade via zoom. There's an experience for you.

Rian said...

Tom, we have learned to Skype and Zoom... with friends and with family. I hope to continue that. I really miss seeing and hugging my children and grandchildren and going out to eat on occasion. I think once this craziness is over, the restaurant business should be booming (of course that doesn't help the ones suffering now). And I too want to travel and spend time with family that we haven't seen in ages... (or possibly just a year - feels like ages!)

Juhli said...

I have to agree that Facetime and Zoom have been great for more contact with family and friends. I find people are eager to connect in any way they can especially if living alone. I feel closer to some extended family members than I ever have.

I am kind of doing the reverse thinking though in terms of habits. I have developed some that aren't doing me any favors in terms of feeling that my days have meaning. I am structuring my time more in January to see if that helps me develop ones that are better for me during this time of little to do outside the home.

ApacheDug said...

Tom, I greatly enjoyed those silver linings at the top of your piece--the enormous drop in emissions, the uptick in pet adoptions. I remember this past summer, seeing before & after photos of China, India, Los Angeles... just amazing, the skies clear for the first time in over a century. Anyway, it always leaves me scratching my head when I hear people say they doubt things will go back to they way they were; good or bad, why wouldn't they? I only see the increase of people continuing to work from home. My former company before I retired, in downtown Pittsburgh--several thousand--are to remain working remotely.

Anyway, I am forced to admit this whole covid thing never impacted me. I developed a couple health issues in early 2019 that had me at home and away from old friends and the like for almost 2 years. I'm just happy my own family wasn't affected (not yet at least), no one I know has lost their job or died. That's plenty silver for me. :)

Janette said...

No Zoom, but lots of FaceTime.
I am glad you can find silver linings.
Not much I would take away, willingly, from this time period.
I have worried and been upset more in the last year then I have in my entire life.
Time to move on.

Looking forward to just getting out of the rabbit hole!

Arkansas Patti said...

Haven't tried zoom nor facetime. No cell signal here is reason for the latter. But we have been hitting the phone more and email pretty much every day.
Like B, I kind of like the relaxed pace now days. Still want to get out and mingle but like not feeling guilty about curling up with a book.

Kay said...

We've been ZOOMing with our family too since they live in Illinois and Maryland. Being in Hawaii does have its drawbacks.

So what have we gained during this time of isolation? Hmmm... The only thing I can think of is I've organized my file cabinet which desperately needed to be done and I've finished our family genealogy in a photobook for the grandkids.

I am looking forward to the vaccine also. Sigh...

Happier new year, Tom!

Olga said...

I have been keeping in touch with Zoom. There are several friends that I used to see a lot that I have little to no contact with right now because they don't want to Zoom or only want to go out for lunch, which I am not doing. Since I have a VT life and a FL life, it has been nice to keep in touch with people from both groups for those who are Zoom or Facetime.

DJan said...

My hiking companions have a weekly Zoom meeting, since we cannot get together physically in groups larger than five. I enjoy it very much, and I think I enjoy the Zoom yoga every bit as much as I enjoyed it in the studio. It helps to have instructors I know very well teaching the classes. I really miss my time at the gym, though, and will be very happy to get back there! :-)

Kathy @ SMART Living 365.com said...

Hi Tom! You and B are absolutely right. There might have been A LOT of downsides to 2020 but there were some bright spots in there too. Zooming is a big one for me too. But another thing I've been doing is learning Spanish online. I've been wanting to do that for YEARS and just always told myself I was too busy. Well guess what? Plus it feeds into my love of travel because guess where one of our first trips will be? (once we get the vaccine of course) Mexico of course. So yes to the good things we can glean from 2020 and adios to the rest! ~Kathy

Barbara said...

I think the Zooming has been a great thing to come out of the virus. My kids have always been texters so I have learned to dictate into my cell phone in response to their messages. My typos have been pretty hilarious and given us all a laugh.

Carol Cassara said...

Yes, we have noticed the same. We are busier with zooms because we can connect regardless of geography!

Laurie Stone said...

I actually love this new, slower life. Although Covid has caused terrible misery, we've stayed in our bubble, which I'm grateful for. We've also become very Zoom-proficient!

Rebecca Olkowski said...

I love that the environment is getting a break and that pets are being taken care of. Although some say those pets will develop anxiety once their owners go back to work because they are used to having them at home. I think more companies may adopt working from home more and I hope the animals won't be neglected. I'm raring to get out myself, though. But don't want to get sick, either.

Wisewebwoman said...

I absolutely love Zoom, what a gift it has been for my 5 scattered around the world siblings and I to come together every Sunday afternoon and shoot the breeze. I also attend other get togethers with friends from Ontario.

I think Zoom will prevail as Covid Times are far from over and may not be in our remaining lifetimes.


Rita said...

I'm tired of covid, too. And, I've enjoyed Zoom, too. For Christmas, we had a call with my sister, who's in assisted living and we can only visit through the glass screen door. She enjoyed seeing the faces of her two sisters, daughter, and niece.

Cjh said...

We have done zoom with family, small friend group, and I have “attended” quilt guild meetings. I appreciate the technology because we can stay close to our young grandchildren in another state, and I feel closer to my siblings - we’ve intentionally connected more often, partly because we’ve all realized how much family does matter when the future may be more unpredictable than ever.

My MIL, age 93, in assisted living, is our greatest commitment. I feel we two have become the responsible ones for keeping her spirits up (a tough challenge), meeting other needs like ordering things or delivering things, arranging or encouraging (or nagging) other relatives to connect with her often. No one else in the family has stepped up to this role. Our daughters are stay-at-home moms, lacking their usual contact with friends and neighbors, so here I am, providing them chipper company and conversation in texting and FaceTime several times a week. I do not want to be the one to drag down my husband or my marriage, so I rarely gripe or complain. I guess it’s all character building, but I won’t miss having a bit of that pressure off...soon, I hope.

Meryl Baer said...

I have become a Zoom fan, and will continue to use after Covid on a limited basis. I ike the idea that I don't have to get dressed to go out, go outside - especially on cold nights, and drive somewhere. I prefer sitting on my comfy couch, a glass of a favorite drink in hand, log into a meetings or family gathering a couple of minutes early.

Jennifer (UnfoldAndBegin) said...

My silver lining is not having to drive 45-minutes per day, twice a day to get to and from work. I love working from home and hope it becomes a regular thing. The other silver lining was spending so much time with my husband. As a banquet chef, he was laid off before they even sent me home to work. And until a couple of weeks ago when he finally found a new job at an assisted living community, he was by my side each day. And we found out we enjoyed it, which bodes well for our retirement in a couple of years!