Hunkering in place has caused me to reflect. How are most people spending their days? Some are still working remotely as before.
Some are not employed. Some are underemployed or unemployed on purpose, as homemakers, retirees or those who are working on an alternative approach to engagement, such as writing.
No matter what, the corona virus is present in our daily lives. What are people doing that makes their day different?
People who are working remotely may also have children who are still required to work online and get coaching. Yet another layer of demand on many who are still learning how to be productive working remotely. For those of us with grown children, it’s not about coaching at home, it’s about receiving calls from concerned kids who want to make sure we’re following the rules and staying at home. All these challenges (the most overused word nowadays) demand we become more resilient.
So, what does it require to be resilient? I have been told that my memoir, The Land of Sunshine and Hell represents resilience in the way I handled the various phases of my struggle from giving up my daughter, to developing a relationship twenty-six years later, after much heart ache… I quote my Dad in the book for helping to remind me of an attitude represented in this rhyme:
Good, better, best. Never let it rest. When your good is better, make your better best.
It’s all about optimism: no matter what the situation, it means you look at the upside of it all.
You don’t dwell on the negative aspects, but rather, focus on the opportunities it affords.
- Sheltering in place for parents who are now working remotely gives them the unique opportunity to learn more about the curricula and become more engaged with their children (and a new found appreciation for their teachers).
- Toilet tissue is now like gold to be horded when found.
- For those who have always worked remotely, it’s the added layer of responsibility of having kids at home who are also working remotely for the first time in their lives.
- It allows the children to gain some insight into what their parents do for the companies for which they work.
- If there are pets, it affords the family more time with them. For example, walking the dog more often, which is good for both the dog and its owner.
- If the adult is not working, they get to read the books they never had time for, work on their Honey-Do list, or plant the herb garden they have always wanted.
- We get to discover, and use Zoom, Skype and Google Messenger video calls to connect.
- We think about those whom we would normally see, and connect with them on a regular basis.
- Doctors become more flexible with Telemed used as an alternative to a face-to-face appointment, avoiding the hassle of driving and parking.
- We develop quarantine hair cutting and root cover up skills.
- Suddenly three meals a day at home requires cooking and planning skills as well as shopping once a week skills
I can go on and on. But that is only as an optimist who sees this hunkering activity as a rare opportunity to see the possibilities and act. Or I could wallow in the truly awfulness of what this virus has done to the economy, to people’s lives and to those who lost the battle.
We’re using technology more and helping others to figure out how to use it. It means we’re communicating down the street, across the continent, or across the ocean. Birthday parties for kids consist of a street full of families honking horns and waving from a distance, carrying balloons out the car window. Visiting grandma in the nursing home is virtual with a similar car parade of signs and waves. All about resilience to come up with an alternative that conveys the meaning of a birthday celebration or a visit.
How will the world be changed once this war is won? And it will be won once a vaccine is developed? Will we go back to our old ways, or have we learned and incorporated some new behaviors that will remain? My guess is we won’t be shaking hands for the rest of 2020. Some of us will remain working remotely once businesses realize we can be trusted and productive from home. (This is like an automatic raise for those who no longer need to commute on a regular basis).
Some parents will remain engaged in their kids’ schoolwork once school resumes in the Fall (it’s finished for this year). Gardens will be improved, and we’ll try and keep them looking that way. Unfortunately Fido will find himself alone for those who have to resume commuting. Then there will be other pups who will learn to love their remote-working owner who takes breaks to give that extra walk mid-day which is good for both of them. We may find ourselves standing a little farther away to keep our social distance. And then we’ll decide if we really need to go to the salon, or just do it all for ourselves.
Hunkering in place means self-reliance. It means exploring the possibilities and relying on oneself to figure it out. It means cleaning out closets and filling up Good Will to the point that they have no more room for the first time ever. It means saying “Thank you” to the healthcare professionals who tirelessly care for the infected, knowing they too may become infected. Resiliency at this time means exploring new ways to win the war; trying old medications on a new disease. Asking why not, instead of why.
Is this all about retesting the American Dream? Perhaps so, since we know the pioneers had the strength and courage to tame this land and see the possibilities. May we do the same to tame this virus and see the possibilities of our experience to make America better than before?