When I was a teenager, my friends loved to watch movies about the end of the world — movies with natural disasters or deadly viruses wiping away entire populations. I always felt so anxious watching them, especially the ones with viruses. They felt like too much of a possibility. Fast-forward ten years, and we’re actually living a pandemic. I think we can all agree that this feels surreal. I went to pick up a grocery order today and everyone was wearing gloves and masks. It felt like a scene out one of those movies that frightened me so much.
My little family has been in self-quarantine for over a month now. Like for everyone else, it’s been an adjustment. There are many downsides and a few upsides. Today I want to focus on what I learned during these unprecedented times.
5 things the COVID-19 pandemic made me realize
1 — I took many things for granted
I took for granted Jude safely going to school, and Charlie getting the therapy he desperately needs without risk.
I took for granted the ability to meet with my friends without worrying about catching a dangerous virus or spreading it to the most vulnerable.
I took for granted the tacos we love to eat at our favorite bar. I took for granted our girls’ night out — laughing ‘til our cheeks are sore around a good couple of drinks.
I took for granted hugging my loved-ones, free from the intruding thoughts of them being an asymptomatic carrier. I took for granted this physical closeness that I already miss so much.
2 — I’m more of an extrovert than I thought
I’ve always considered myself an introvert. I don’t usually crave human contact. But the truth is, I miss hanging out with my friends. I miss seeing people. After a month of isolation, I’m feeling it more than ever. Well, let’s be honest here, I don’t miss going to crowded grocery stores and social events with strangers. But I sure miss those close to me. Being at home is comforting, but too much of it gets me in a funk.
3 — Teachers are saints
I’ve been trying to homeschool Jude with the help of the virtual learning lessons his school implemented. Even with their help, that’s been challenging. I know children are harder on their parents than anyone else, but boy, that’s tough. I’ve always been thankful for Jude’s teachers, whom he loves, but after spending so much time trying to homeschool Jude, I have more appreciation for them than ever.
4 — Vaccines are a privilege and we need to speak up
I’ve always been a big advocate for vaccines. It pains me to see people being attacked for vaccinating their children. There are still so many who believe vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times this has been scientifically debunked. We need to continue to speak up!
Research has shown that people who oppose vaccinations are more likely to post their beliefs online. People evaluate opinion-climates (what the majority opinion seems to be) before expressing their own thoughts about issues. If someone perceives their opinion to be unpopular, it can create a spiral of silence, and they may be less likely to say what they think.
If there’s one positive thing that comes out of this pandemic, maybe that will be it. Maybe more people will realize the importance of vaccines. I can only hope. What I do know is that we need to speak up. We can’t be silenced by a vocal minority who doesn’t believe in science.
What we’re living right now is what happens when there is no vaccine. I am truly thankful we live in a time privileged enough that awful diseases like polio, measles, and mumps are no longer the everyday nightmare for parents they once were. The reason contemporary people are guarded against familiarity with these cruel diseases, ironically, is that for decades, it’s been vaccines that have saved us from the heartbreak they cause!
Get the facts at https://ivaccinate.org/
5 — I have a lot of things to be thankful for
I’m thankful I’m able to work from home. I’m thankful we have a house with a yard so the kids can run around and swing on the swing set. I’m thankful my husband is a good cook. And I’m thankful for my friends who remain close to me despite the physical distance.
Once we’re safe — once things get back to normal — I’ll be mindful to appreciate the little things, because as it turns out, they never were the little things. They’ve always been the things that matter. Stay safe, everyone, and get vaccinated!