Even Covid Has Its Silver Linings

by Cookie

Even Covid Has Its Silver Linings

I’m not going to sugar coat anything. The current pandemic has been tough. So tough.

The economic fallout, the depression and anxiety, social disruptions and sense of impending doom. Health care changes and delays with dire consequences. Political divides and so much public unrest. It’s been a real shit of a show.

On a personal level, balancing a career and motherhood in a lockdown situation became an unsustainable mess that even the most hearty of us struggled with. Patience went down, liquor store receipts went up. Each day was an exhausting balancing act of meeting the needs and requirements of everyone else while mostly neglecting my own.

And yet, even in the is mess of uncertainty I am able to find silver linings. Maybe now, with schools re-opened and a little room to breath, I am able to see a little more clearly the lessons I’ve personally learned and the changes we’ve made that line all the bullshit with a tiny bit of positivity.

Luckily for me, I have the option of not working in the summer. So as my academic year-tied contracts finished up, I was able to decide not to pursue any summer work, pull my children from the pretend home school that was happening and move us all up to our summer life, deep in the forest on the shores of clear water. I recognize this comes from a place of immense privilege that mot others don’t have, but I also recognize that I work really hard, and make decisions and sacrifices every year that enable this option to exist.

Once we got away from the city, it was easy to recognize how busy our lives had been. It was easy to see how tired we were, but how little time we had invested in each other as a family. And we learned to appreciate it.

As I started to think about what this year would look like, it was obvious to me that in the past I had created this existence of never allowing us to just be together as a family. We always had to be somewhere. We were always scheduled. There was never any time for anything that didn’t serve some sort of developmental purpose, economic gain, or meeting the expectations of someone who wan’t me.

I started thinking about what things were important to me and why. I started thinking about what made me happy, and my children happy, and my husband happy, and how to create space in our life for those things. I created time in our life where I promised to give us all permission to just pause. I decided to not feel guilty for scheduling “breaths” into our lives. I decided to learn how to say no.

I’m not sure I would have figured any of this out if it hadn’t been for Covid. The lockdown nearly broke me. I joke about it, but I was so burnt out. But it also enlightened me to how important it was to leave space for my children and partner in every day that was reserved just for them. I am thankful for that.

Other silver linings I see are outside of my own home. When we came back into the city, I noticed immediately how much time the folks in my neighbourhood were spending outside. There are kids playing outside at parks, shooting hoops in their driveways and riding bikes up and down the streets again. Covid forced us to get outside and get moving. It challenged us to rethink our social interactions and I think forced us to make more healthful choices. When our kids play with their friends, they don’t come over and play video games anymore. We meet at parks, or go swimming or go for bike rides. They live in fresh air, exercise their imaginations and rely on their creativity in play.

I know so many people are suffering so much from the fallout of Covid. Loneliness, mental health crisis, addictions, poverty, losing jobs and businesses. I know all of that is happening. It’s scary and sad and I pray that we can help them all recover and rebuild.

What I’m hoping is that those of us who are fortunate to be in a position to see the silver linings heed them and are in a better position to help rebuild their communities. I have seen so much of our generous spirits, even among all the fighting and blaming about this whole situation. Among all of the loud and overtly shitty behaviour, I like to think that there are a lot of quiet soldiers who are actively helping their communities survive this thing together. If anything, I hope the biggest silver lining in all of this is the increase in our ability to be selfless in our care of each other. Make small sacrifices to our own comforts and desires. Give a little more of our extra to help those who don’t have enough. See each other’s struggles and acknowledge them. Offer our talents to contribute to the healing of this world, not the division of it.

I am going to continue to create space for the things that are important to my family and community, and hope that I can be a player in finding light where there is darkness in this world right now.