Do You Have To Let Wine 2 Year Old Breathe 8 Life Lessons Learned From the Coronavirus

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8 Life Lessons Learned From the Coronavirus

Are there life lessons to be learned during this pandemic? you bet

Although, it is not over yet. President Donald Trump warned last week that the coronavirus pandemic in the United States is likely to “get worse before it gets better.” Yeah, kind of got that. The coronavirus is not going anywhere anytime soon and, once again, this pandemic is forcing people to pause and think.

Well, maybe not everyone pauses. As states began to lift restrictions on businesses and public areas, photos and videos of people began to appear in droves in the news. Not only was I alarmed as an older American, but I felt that in the rush to get back to “normal,” people missed out on learning valuable lessons about empathy and selflessness.

In fact, the attitude of some people shocked me. For example, I heard about Elizabeth Linscott and her husband, Isaiah, from Kentucky, who were placed under house arrest last week after Elizabeth tested positive for the coronavirus. The couple refused to sign documents agreeing to quarantine at home for two weeks.

“It’s not a pandemic,” Elizabeth stated emphatically. Really? A pandemic is defined as the global spread of a new disease. With over 16 million people worldwide diagnosed with COVID-19 at the time of this writing, doesn’t that qualify?

“If you’re scared, please stay home, because I can’t put my life on hold because you’re scared,” she added in an interview with Good Morning America. I was floored. What about the people on the front lines – everyone from those in the medical field to grocery store workers – who are scared but forced to go to work? They don’t have the choice to “stay at home”. Those more vulnerable still have to venture outside for essential tasks such as buying food or medical appointments. I mean, hey Elizabeth, we’re talking about 14 days out of your entire life when your actions could mean life and death for some people. What happened to selflessness for the greater good?

However, I fully realize that there are some who agree with her statements.

Even after restrictions were lifted, for some a “normal” life was still impossible. Older baby boomers and those with health problems were still advised to stay home. And for those grieving the loss of a loved one, things would never be the same. Really, once vaccination is available and we come to the other side of this pandemic, will our “normal” look the same for any of us? I don’t think so. Here’s a thought. When that happens, before running out to claim our lives back, maybe it’s time to admit that the pandemic has changed us forever — and some of it is worth keeping.

Ryan Seacrest joked, “If I start a New Year’s countdown, will 2020 end?” Funny joke, but maybe because I’m older and know my days are limited, I wouldn’t give up precious time, even with its trials, to run forward into the future. If we use this pandemic as a time to reflect, there are important and unique life lessons to be learned.

Not that the coronavirus pandemic was fun. I don’t want to be a Pollyanna here. To be honest, it was excruciating and overwhelming at times. As the death toll rises daily, the news is heartbreaking. I miss hugging my family and friends, traveling to new exciting places, and the blissful freedom of attending a loud, packed concert. The dystopian vision of empty grocery store shelves, cities that resembled ghost towns, and people wearing masks was shaken when the pandemic began. I was forced to see the uglier side of humanity as some people hoarded food, toilet paper and hand sanitizers. Scammers tried to take advantage of the panic. And it was the cruel phrase “boomer remover” that started a trend on Twitter, aimed at us baby boomers who are more vulnerable to the virus.

On the lighter side, can we talk about maintenance issues? As the weeks went by and it became clear that a visit to my hair stylist was out of the question, I thought maybe this was a good time to see what I looked like with gray hair. I was horrified. My husband, who at 60 is lucky enough to still have a lot of hair, looked like a mad scientist. So, that’s it. A bottle of Revlon and some clippers did the trick, but not quite with the same results a professional would achieve.

In a few days, I felt productive and creative as I tapped into reservoirs of strength and inspiration. But there were also days when I battled depression and anxiety, hated being cooped up in my house, ate a big bag of chips with a glass of wine to comfort myself, felt overwhelmed by the news and struggled to cope. I felt it was too much – and it was. The world has not faced anything like this in over a century. On top of all the tragedies, there was the devastating economic impact as small businesses struggled to stay open. Then, protests and riots broke out in a fight for racial justice.

It’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

And yet amidst all the commotion, the pandemic demanded that I be calm and still. To be content with my own company. To slow down and reflect on the more important aspects of life. With that in mind, here are some valuable lessons I’ve learned so far and changes I want to keep, even after the pandemic is over.

I learned:

* Accept My Spirituality

My spirituality and faith in God became more important than ever. The coronavirus has reinforced that life is uncertain and unpredictable. As a result, I learned to depend on God more fully to retain a sense of hope, strength, patience and endurance.

* Appreciate Loved Ones Even More

Along with the rest of the world, I learned the value of human connections in a way not possible before.

Not being able to see family makes them all the more precious to me. I don’t miss going out to dinner and traveling to exotic places any more than I miss holding my 2-year-old granddaughter’s hand.

I was even thankful for technology – which I usually have a love/hate relationship with – that allows us to stay in touch with our loved ones. Even so, I’ll admit it’s not the same. I’m an introvert and not exactly a people person. However, I now realize that I accepted hugs from friends.

On the positive side, with kids home from school and parents working from their houses, families came together, enjoying backyard sports, playing board games, riding bikes and solving puzzles. That’s nice to see.

* See the Good in People

It’s true what they say. The worst of times can bring out the best in people. Amidst all the chaos, I saw brave and selfless heroes emerge.

My husband’s colleague, Art, explained how his nurse, in her 60s, who administers treatments for his health problems, bravely answered the cry for help from New York in April and flew to the epicenter of COVID-19 during the worst of the outbreak “I don’t know if she’ll come back,” Art said soberly. Thousands joined her.

Medical staff continue to respond to the call for help in areas most affected by the virus. Recently, doctors, nurses and other medical providers from the US Air Force have been sent to work in California hospitals, including the Eisenhower hospital near my home, to help with a sharp increase in coronavirus cases that is straining the health care system.

Delivery drivers and grocery store workers are willing to put their lives on the line to serve us. Many restaurant owners donate food. Communities and neighborhoods encourage each other with signs and teddy bears in windows or positive messages written in chalk on sidewalks. People feed dogs to help shelters. No one is immune to this virus and somehow that serves to unite us.

* Taste the Nature

Although I have always appreciated nature. I became more aware of the beauty of hibiscus flowers blooming in my yard, the quiet sounds of birds happily singing, or the desert night sky revealing all its myriad glories.

With a decrease in air pollution in our cities, the sky has never looked bluer. Wildlife began to reclaim areas once dominated by humans.

It has never been more true – nature is calming down.

* Be Grateful for my Life and Health

The pandemic has taught me how fragile life can be and how vulnerable we all are as humans. Life itself should never be taken for granted – not even when enduring hardships. It was a sober reminder to take care of my health.

I have to admit, keeping my snacking under control while they stay at home is difficult, but I did develop some healthy habits that I want to keep.

For example, desperate to get out of the house and into nature, I never did more walking and cycling. Now that it’s too hot to exercise outside where I live, thanks to a friend, I discovered the FitOn app with free exercise videos. After all, exercise not only helps our immune system, but can reduce the extra anxiety we all feel right now.

I also learned not to stress over the little things. A pandemic puts small problems into perspective.

* Become More Empathetic

During the initial panic, some couldn’t afford to stock up on food and toilet paper, which made me even more aware of those unemployed who were living paycheck to paycheck. Some people had to make the terrible choice to stay safe or risk their lives and return to work to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Some chose the latter, and died as a result.

I think of the helpless and vulnerable elderly who are terrified in nursing homes and those with mental problems who struggle, even under normal circumstances, to overcome their fears. This gives me perspective. I know that the fear and anxiety I sometimes feel doesn’t compare.

The coronavirus has taught me the value of self-sacrifice, which includes keeping a safe distance from people and wearing a mask for those more vulnerable than myself. Although there are exceptions, fortunately, the majority of people seem to feel the same way.

I always knew, but the pandemic reinforced the fact that giving back and focusing on others not only helps others but also gives a sense of well-being and peace.

* Live with Less

When the pandemic started, literally dreading going grocery shopping, I started buying only essentials that would last two weeks. My husband and I were surprised to discover how well we survived with the basics on hand. We learned to decipher between needs and wants and saved money.

As I mentioned before, I learned to dye my own hair and give my husband a trim. We looked good. Fancy clothes and shoes became irrelevant. We ate at home more and tried new recipes. And can we talk about saving gas money by not running unnecessarily?

There are important financial lessons to be learned here.

* Laugh More

Keeping a sense of humor is important, especially during troubled times. When I saw my husband’s worried face when I took scissors to his hair, well, I never laughed harder. I appreciated all the funny memes and tweets about the bizarre ways we found to entertain ourselves while staying at home and our obsession with junk food. It’s true. Laughter is the best medicine.

I know we’re all exhausted and desperate to live a “normal life” again, but let’s not forget all these life lessons. In fact, we know that life won’t be the same after this pandemic is over, but, as I pointed out earlier, maybe that’s not a bad thing at all.

I hope we have learned to never take for granted hugs from loved ones, grocery store shelves overflowing with food, the excitement of a packed concert, and every deep breath we take.

I hope we will continue to prioritize our spirituality and spending time with loved ones.

I hope we realize how little we really need to survive.

I hope we remember how strong and resilient we can be during difficult times.

I hope we come out of this pandemic more grateful, kinder and grateful.

And I hope we never forget how to find light in the midst of darkness.

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