Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
-Lyndon B. Johnson
The impact of COVID-19 is being felt around the globe as we speak, and we’ll be dealing with upheavals in our lives for who knows how long. Regardless of what’s happening right now and the severity of it, I’m a glass-half-full kind of woman, so I wanted to explore this serious topic through an optimist’s lense.
As the world reels, many of us are stuck at home for the next several weeks or longer. These are weird, unprecedented times. It is OK to take a minute and acknowledge the weirdness! It really is. We’ve lost our collective sense of normalcy and so the future feels uncertain. What comes next?
When faced with adversity our sense of humanity has a way of sparking some interesting developments… This means we all have to work harder to deal with the wider implications of this crisis. But we can do this because we’re doing it together! I’ve never seen people in my life work harder to support each other and that’s a beautiful thing.
Online as a Lifeline
The Internet is bringing people together like never before, as those of us in isolation at home must go online in order to socialize. The video-conferencing platform Zoom, in particular, is seeing an enormous surge in use lately, along with the old standbys like Google Hangouts and Skype. Many folks are also enjoying the houseparty app as a more Brady Bunch style way of viewing with the ability to see everyone at once.
Then there are platforms like Discord, Steam, and Twitch, and browser extensions like Netflix Party that allow people to crowd-watch TV shows, play games together, and chat with friends and family all at the same time. We may have to endure physical distancing these days, but that doesn’t mean we have to be socially distant, too…
The lifeline of the Internet is crucial for basic needs, as well, like getting groceries without having to set foot in a store. Amazon Fresh, Instacart, and individual store delivery services and curbside pickup are exploding in popularity – and in rural areas, there’s a high demand for farmers to do direct home delivery as grocery store shelves get picked clean. Personally speaking, I’ve ordered my groceries quite happily from a restaurant in San Francisco and enjoyed some fairly high-quality meals and culinary experiences as a result. I find it quite exciting to see small businesses pivot and serve their communities at the same time.
Another possible legacy of this pandemic? The rise of telemedicine – which is convenient, fast, and keeps non-urgently sick patients away from each other. Let’s hope the trend continues so that people who need help can get it when they need it.
The BBC reported that “ a new breathing aid has been created can help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care.” The device was built by the Mercedes Formula One racing team in collaboration with the University College London.
Coming Together for the Public Good
Many challenges lie ahead, but humanity is rallying together. Amid shortages of crucial medical supplies, for instance, people around the world are innovating solutions using 3D printing – and there’s an ongoing global ‘hackathon’ to address other important needs.
Major publications like The Atlantic and Wall Street Journal are opening up their paywalls for COVID-19 articles. Amazon has released many kids’ movies and TV shows for free streaming without a Prime account. Celebrities are reading stories to kids trapped at home and musicians are live-streaming free concerts. There are plenty of distractions if you need a break from the news cycle.
The positive news is out there, don’t be afraid to find it.
The world is fighting together to build a future where we can heal and move forward – albeit with some painful lessons learned. And maybe some good can arise from this crisis.
In the meantime: stay safe out there and don’t forget to smile!
P.S. If you’re asking yourself, OK, why DID the optimist cross the road? Well, if the road won’t cross the optimist, the optimist must cross the road! Forward motion! <sorry that was a groaner>