What I’ve Learned in the Pandemic

It’s been a year now since Covid-19 has taken centre stage all over the world. 

Back in March of 2020, I never would have predicted how the coming 12 months would roll out. I grieve for those lost, those permanently impacted, and those who are lonely, without work, still facing uncertainty and at times despair.

As I reflect on the last year, I think of all I’ve learned as we lived through a global pandemic. 

Christmas with the family

I miss my family, but I am grateful that they are all healthy.

We haven’t had many guests or visitors, and we haven’t seen many members of our family, just like much of the world. We haven’t even been visiting family close by, to ensure we all stay safe. With technology that allows us to connect, we know everyone is safe and healthy. It’s not the same as in person, but it’ll do for now.

I miss traveling, but I am grateful for my home.

We’ve spent more time at home than ever before, just like much of the world. But we have a secure place to live, with everything we need, in a beautiful setting. We have more than many in the world. I appreciate my home and enjoy being in it. And I was grateful to be at home when our family was grieving, to provide support and love.

I miss seeing friends more often, but I am thankful for my husband.

I feel for those who have gone through the last year alone. It’s been a scary, lonely, sometimes frightening time. I’m so grateful for the companionship of my husband through all this. Sure, we’ve gotten on each other’s nerves at times. But we’ve also had a lot of laughs, and we’ve had each other when we’ve felt those sad emotions. And I know my friends are there for me, and will be there for me, whenever I need them. 

I missed winter in Mexico but I enjoyed winter in Canada.

Who wouldn’t miss sunshine and warmth, going to the pool and beach, paddle boarding, snorkeling, shrimp tacos and of course seeing the many friends we have made in Mexico? But really, is it so bad to be home in winter? No. 

The weather has been decent enough. Ron has been out ice fishing a lot – probably more time than he’s spent fishing in the last five summers put together. I bought snowshoes and have loved trekking around the park. There are different birds to enjoy in the winter, the deer are brave enough to visit in the yard, and it’s kind of fun to experience four seasons. And I do love spring. Longer days of sunshine, the sound of the geese returning, the trees budding, and planning the garden. What’s not to love.

It’s OK to disagree.

I guess it’s human nature to find things to complain about, like our government. Be it federal, provincial or local, somebody is always doing something wrong. But aren’t we fortunate to have a democracy so we can vote for who we want? Aren’t we lucky to be born in a country where we can express such views without concern for persecution? I don’t imagine it’s been easy to be a decision maker in these strange times.

I’ve been somewhat surprised at the differences in opinion that seem to have jumped into focus during this pandemic. Whether it’s masks, vaccines, or rules around gathering, not everyone agrees, and the public debate is sometimes acrimonious. 

I’ve decided it’s OK to disagree, so let’s not judge each other. Let’s live our lives in the way that’s best for our household and family, and others can do the same. And we can continue to respect each other, smile and wave, and carry on. 

Remember those around you.

While it’s true that we have individual rights in our society, those must be balanced by responsibility to our society, to those around us. This is part of what makes us humans. We do not exist as individuals. We exist as a community, caring for each other and helping out when we can. It’s part of what makes Canada great. We are not the same as other countries.

Let’s think of the health care workers and the vulnerable, those without work and those struggling to make ends meet. When we complain about wearing a mask for a 10-minute trip to the grocery store, what does that say to the nurse who has cared for Covid patients in a 12-hour shift? If we’ve erred on the side of caution, it’s not a bad thing.

Think of others. It’s not all about you.

Change Is Inevitable.

The one constant in life is change. When you think you have it figured out, it changes again. This year has been one of major upheaval and upset for so many, with changes that could last for years. So don’t take today for granted. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

The world may never be the same, but that doesn’t mean it will be bad. It will be what we make of it. Maybe we can’t yet hug and shake hands, but we can treat each other with kindness and respect. We can smile and say thank you. 

And we can reflect on the good things Covid has taught us, so we can carry those lessons forward into the coming months and years. 

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