I tried to write about hope, but it seemed too far away, too forced.
I tried to find hope and found an article about penguins exploring empty aquariums, and that seemed good enough for now.
The aquarium used the phrase “silver lining” and that seemed to fit a bit better than the vaguely taunting concept of hope. “Silver lining” acknowledges there are big, dark, scary clouds out there that need to be lined.
Clouds that seem to threaten impending or present doom.
Clouds you can’t touch and are powerless to do anything against, except stay inside and hope your shelter will keep you and your loved ones safe from their effects.
Clouds that cover the entire sky for so long you almost forget the sun and stars are still behind them.
But silver linings only happen because the sun is still behind them somewhere trying to shine through.
So enough about the clouds,* let’s talk about the silver linings. Here are a few of mine:
- Rest. Societies usually obsessed with busy-ness and overwork being forced to take a break, to slow down and take a time out. After taking a sabbatical last autumn I’ve learned so much more appreciation for rest, and it is fascinating to see the shift from society mandating busy-ness to society mandating a break.
- Recognition. Of course not everyone gets a break, and I am loving seeing people recognizing the “essential services” of society that are so often taken for granted: health care workers, grocery store employees, truck drivers, flight attendants… the list goes on and on. The people who keep society running when everything else shuts down are not usually the people who make the cover of “People of the Year” or “30 Under 30” but I think we can all agree, after this, they should be.
- “Apocalypse Pals.” I don’t want to use the “A” word but my dad has been loving this phrase, (or “aCOPalypse” as he says it). For me and many others it means more family time (at least for the ones we’re with) and some very, very, very happy pets. I normally live in a small apartment hours away from my parents so I am thankful that I happened to be visiting them already when this all started getting real, and I don’t have to weather it alone.
- Cooperation. Like Pandemic the board game, the only way to win this thing is to work together, cooperatively. Stories about individuals delivering groceries to strangers and countries shipping masks to each other are all part of this: it’s cool to see how people are finding ways to help each other and fight this thing together (and from a safe two metre distance).
- Innovation. Zoom video chats, live-streamed concerts, online classes and all kinds of other creative ways people are adapting to the new “for now and hopefully not forever” normal. We might stop working but we never stop creating, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the innovations that will come from all our redirected energy normally spent mostly on work.
- Appreciation. Some of the first industries to close down have been the “non-essentials” such as tourism and the arts. As a tour guide my job was one of the first to go. But all this stuff we’ve taken for granted, we can now appreciate so much more. I know many of us now have a lot more time to read books, watch shows, sort through travel photos, play video games, whatever your entertainment of choice… all these things that people have put time and love into creating, we now in general have more time to appreciate. As for tourism, we’ll be back so…
- Saving the World. Speaking of video games, I can legitimately contribute to saving the world by staying home and playing video games. Actually. In some ways it’s a dream come true!
So, what are some of your silver linings? I would love to hear some. Please share them in the comments below!
*Note: none of this is in any way intended to downplay the seriousness of what’s going on. If you’re reading my points thinking, “yes, but…”, well, so am I to be honest. I’m not ignoring the clouds, simply taking a moment out of being overwhelmed by their immensity, to focus on the silver linings.
Cover photo: Simone Viani via Unsplash
p.s. As I’ve found myself with my job on hold indefinitely due to Coronavirus, I’ve signed up for Ko-fi. If you enjoy the stuff I share here and are able, please consider supporting my creative efforts!