HighwayIt all becomes a little numbing, day in and out like groundhog day… rinse and repeat. And watching the news all day, well, to be honest, it just can’t be good for your mental health. But the reason our species has survived for so long is due to our fundamental belief that things will get better, that we always find a way. We’re not prescient to know when it will get better, but eventually, our lives will return to a sense of normalcy. 

In the meantime, there are some things that have happened during this pandemic that are actually quite enjoyable. Just to be clear, this isn’t meant to downplay the suffering that people are going through. Hopefully, this goes away quickly, but until then it can’t hurt to be optimistic about the future and enjoy the silver lining.   

Spending Time With Family

There might be people at home right now bringing up the old quote, “too much of a good thing”. However, the ability to spend more quality time with our family is a blessing. We all get caught up in the frantic pace of day-to-day life, and to take a step back and actually get to spend more time with loved ones is a privilege. People are even starting to do crazy things like eat dinner together and have actual conversations instead of texting each other. What a concept! People also are also playing scrabble and doing puzzles together, instead of staring at a screen like zombies. Not only are families spending more time together, but the quality is also improving.

We may look back on these times with a tiny bit of nostalgia for the opportunity to connect with the ones we care about. If you are self-isolating right now, it’s important to stay connected to your family whether over the phone or with modern video conferencing services like Zoom or FaceTime. One thing that this virus is teaching us all is how important the health and wellness of our loved ones truly is. 

The Lack of Traffic

I don’t know about you, but it seems like every year the traffic keeps getting worse and worse. However, driving around during coronavirus you’ll notice the roads are clear and it’s easy to get across the city in no time at all. Even cities with nightmare traffic are beginning to feel like a small town. If you are starting to feel stir crazy it might be a good idea to get in the car, turn up the radio and go for a drive around your city. You may never have another chance to see what it’s like to drive on empty roads again. 

Disappearing Pollution 

Around the world from Hong Kong to New York and everywhere in between, people are noticing how pollution is pulling away, to be replaced by clear skies. There are even reports of dolphins returning to the canals of Venice and sea turtles nesting on empty tourist beaches in Thailand. There’s a story from the New York Times how there has been a 50% drop in carbon monoxide emissions in New York City. Obviously we hope that business returns as quickly as possible when the health experts say it’s safe to get back to work. But one can’t help to enjoy clean air and skylines free of pollution.

Tiger King and The Last Dance

It used to be that there wasn’t an infinite amount of television choices and it actually led to some great conversations around the water cooler. When everyone watched Cheers or Seinfeld, it meant that there was a shared pop culture language people could communicate around. Now, because of the myriad of cable and streaming options, often people watch completely different television shows and it’s difficult to find someone to talk with about what you’re watching. Unfortunately, a lot of content has been put on hold and we’re all at home with not a lot of things to do and watching a TV show seems like a good entertainment option. Into this void has sprung two interesting shows Tiger King on Netflix and The Last Dance on ESPN. They couldn’t be farther apart in terms of the subject matter. One is about the greatest athlete in the history of sports (Michael Jordan), and the other is about crazy people who keep exotic animals as pets. Either way, both these shows have grabbed the collective attention of the country in a way we haven’t seen in years. Tiger King is playing on Netflix and The Last Dance on ESPN+.

NFL Draft

The biggest sporting event of spring isn’t The Masters or NBA Playoffs or March Madness or the start of Major League Baseball. Those events have all been cancelled. Patiently waiting for a sporting event, finally it’s here… the NFL Draft. Proving once again, the NFL always wins in America!

The Changing Nature of the Workplace 

One thing that may forever change is how we as a society work. The idea of a strict 9-5, with daily commutes, may end up being a relic of the past. By necessity, thousands of companies have had to switch to a virtual workforce, and while there will have to be an assessment when the stay at home order is lifted, most companies are realizing that their employees can be just as productive working in their homes as they can be at a traditional office. This change has been slowly coming for a while, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend. Many companies report that when they give employees some flexibility to pick up children and go to doctor’s appointments while making sure they accomplish their work for the week, employees are often more productive than inflexible workplaces. If companies treat their employees like adults, usually they reward the confidence placed in them. 

A Paradigm Shift 

It’s very easy to traffic in trite cliches that the world has forever changed and will never go back to normal after this world-altering pandemic. It’s also easy to pontificate about the future when the reality is we really don’t know how this is going to play out. You can’t help to wonder though if there will be a realignment of priorities. We are a society that is constantly on the move, innovating and creating new opportunities and products. This is great and it has produced amazing wealth and comfort for a large percentage of the country. At the same time, this pandemic has made us realize that the most important thing in life is not the newest gadget or trying the hottest restaurant, but rather the health and lives of our friends and family. It might be time to reevaluate whether we’ve been choosing our phones and work at the expense of spending time with our children and grandchildren. Have we been putting off that vacation we’ve always dreamed about because we’re busy? Have we been allowing the BS in our lives to get in the way of what we want to accomplish? If there is one thing that we can take away from this tragedy, it’s that it’s allowed us to realize what is actually important in our lives. The rest of it is just a distraction. Hopefully, we will get back to work as a nation as soon as possible and this will all be just one terrible memory. In the meantime, it can’t hurt to think about a few beams of hope in a sea of darkness.

Article written by Treeline Content, LLC