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Outbreak Optimism: Ten Post-Pandemic Positives We Can All Look Forward to

Miranda Collard - 04.29.2020

In my recent blog about the epic clash between our home life and work, I encouraged everyone to take this shutdown day-by-day, and hour-by-hour.  And I suggested that we try to embrace the humor of our newfound predicament.  Like the old adage “if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry”, I’m opting for humor as a more constructive coping mechanism (as I always have).

So, to (hopefully) generate a smile or two, I humbly offer the following -- because I truly believe that some post-pandemic positives will emerge as we begin to picture life beyond the daily trials and tribulations of the crisis.

Countdown: Top Ten Post-Pandemic Positives:

#10 – Handwashing will (thankfully) be far more common

Child-friendly places like schools and playgrounds have always been like real-life science experiments where eye infections and strep throat germs are exchanged freely. So, raising children over the past two decades has converted me into a borderline germophobe. As such, I’ve always been mortified by those who leave a public restroom or eat a meal without washing up! So, I’m hopeful those people (you know who you are) will be sufficiently re-programmed by the time we’re all released back into the wild. It only takes 20 seconds. ;-)

#9 – My household will get a much-needed break from TikTok

Normally, we try to limit screen time for our three girls. Now, though, the stay-home order has forced us to reconsider that restriction in the name of household harmony. With everyone under one roof at the same time, all the time, there are constant clashes (did I mention THREE GIRLS?!?!?). The one thing they can all enjoy together, peacefully, is TikTok. And, while I’m not generally opposed to it, there is a limit to how much of it one can handle. So, I definitely won’t miss all the celebrity dance challenges and creepy crawler close-ups! (Ick!). Although I have to admit that I now have some amazing dance moves.

#8 – Toilet paper hoarding will be a thing of the past

Never had I imagined instituting a “two-square” rule in my house! Seriously – even after all these weeks, store shelves are still bare! Who, pray tell, is continuing to buy toilet paper by the truck load? It has become this mythical thing people spend hours in Costco lines for even the slightest hope of finding. And, once you finally hunt it down, you feel like you’ve won the grocery store lottery! A crisis craze I will happily leave behind.

#7 – We’ll no longer feel like we’re living the movie “Groundhog Day”

What day is it?  It can be tough to tell when each day starts to feel the same. In fact, a weather reporter here in the US regularly delivers a “What day is it?” segment on the morning news. And he has struck such a relatable cord with people that it’s gone viral, even receiving international attention. It’s as though we’re all stuck in a recurring dream from which there is no foreseeable escape! So, when we are eventually liberated, this surreal loop will thankfully come to an end.

#6 – People will go back to buying (and wearing) normal pants

Online retailers are seeing a dramatic increase in demand for shirts, while sales for pants continue to decline. Why, you might ask?  I call it the “Zoom effect”. Working remotely, we only need to look professional from the waist up (aside from occasionally seeing me in my TP ballcap)! Now -- in the name of comfort -- my yoga pants and I concur with this new trend.  However, that doesn’t eliminate the occasional embarrassment of answering the door for a delivery in ridiculously mismatched outfits. And I can only imagine that our essential delivery workers shall, too, be relieved when we all return to normal.

#5 – Virtual happy hours are here to stay!

We’ve all grown more accustomed to connecting with loved ones over video. Those previously unfamiliar with the technology are now using it regularly (even my tech-challenged parents)!  And, now that people have grown accustomed to the convenience, I suspect that many will continue video chatting with friends and family across the country, and around the world, long after the stay-home orders have lifted. Plus, just add some wine and it becomes a party! Virtual happy hours are a mere click away, cost far less than going out, and eliminate the drive time.  Sign me up!

#4 – Shelter animals will all have new homes!

Across the US and around the world, animal shelters everywhere are emptying. With people at home, we’re able to invest more time in caring for pets. And, despite these lockdown conditions, shelters are finding creative and safe ways to introduce available pets to prospective families. The result has been amazing! As the keeper of my own small zoo (4 dogs, 2 cats, 2 birds, 5 bunnies, 1 lizard, and 1 horse), this positive development in the wake of the pandemic is truly heart-warming; a topic very near and dear to our family!

#3 – New family rituals will continue after the crisis

In addition to witnessing the amazing and selfless acts demonstrated by people around the world during the pandemic, going above and beyond to help one another (like our own #TPheroes), an equally incredible phenomenon has occurred.  Families have re-engaged. Our formerly-hectic lives left little time for deep discussions or family game nights. But, if your family is like mine, you’ve now dusted off those old board games, and engaged in more meaningful conversations.  And it’s my plan to continue making time in our post-pandemic lives for these truly profound, yet simple, moments that will generate lasting family memories. I hope you will, too.

#2 – Healthcare workers will finally get a well-deserved break

Enough said, right? I can’t even imagine the physical and emotional toll this crisis is taking on them.  This global quarantine has been difficult enough for the rest of us to adjust to. But those on the front line, in our ambulances and at our hospitals, would probably give anything for quiet time at home with family. I’m so thankful for an amazing daughter and her service at a local hospital. So, let’s remember how fortunate we are, and continue the outpouring of love and support for medical professionals all around the world. They are the soldiers in this microscopic war— risking themselves to protect us. God bless them all.

And now, for our #1 post-pandemic “plus” (drum roll, please)…

#1 – School teachers everywhere should get a pay increase! 

This lockdown has definitely shown us all – in no uncertain terms – that our teachers are both underappreciated and under-paid! Beyond educating our children, they also nurture, counsel, and protect them -- helping parents mold them into capable and responsible humans. And having mine home this past month has only reinforced how much our teachers do, and how desperately they’re needed (especially when it comes to teaching this perplexing common core math)!

We really do have much to be thankful for, and even more to look forward to. But we’re not there quite yet.  So, until stay-home orders are lifted and our communities can re-open, let’s do our best to appreciate the little things.  Let’s seek out those glimmers of joy, and choose to live in those moments. And let’s find ways to become that source of happiness for someone else.

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