Looking for the silver linings in worrying times

A child jumping on a trampoline. Looking for the silver linings in worrying times.

Well, where to start, eh? These are unprecedented times, the like of which we only usually expect to encounter in films.

There’s so much to worry and feel down about and, by using the phrase ‘silver linings’ in this post, I’m not trying to downplay the severity of the situation we find ourselves in.

It’s truly terrible and, at the moment, it’s difficult to stay positive.

But that’s exactly what we all need to do.

I feel especially sad for the kids. While we’ve never known anything like this either, it’s so much harder for them to get their heads around it.

The only thing I’ve experienced remotely like this was the Great Storm of 1987. There was widespread disruption, school closures and shops were out of stock. But only for a day or two.

So, for kids especially, it’s really important for us parents to stay as upbeat as possible – they’re looking to us for reassurance and guidance after all.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about all of the knock-on effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and, although the way in which they have come about is the last thing we want, there are some things we should feel good about.

I know not everything will apply to everyone. Being in an at-risk category – I have asthma – and in a contract job, I’m as worried as anyone about how things could yet affect us.

But here are some silver linings I’m keeping myself going with.

More family time

Yes, ideally, the kids would be in school. And, yes, I find it much easier working in an office than at home. But the extra time I’m getting with my family is something I’m glad of.

With no commute plus a lunch hour, I’m getting three more hours a day with my lot and it’s lovely being around more again.

Less pollution

With all the flights grounded, train services reduced and fewer cars on the road, there’s much less pollution. And that can only be a good thing.

It will go a long way towards reducing emissions and might change people’s thinking about how to get around once the pandemic is over.

Bringing out the best

In the early days of the pandemic, we’ve undoubtedly seen the worst in some people. We’ve witnessed the selfishness of panic buyers and the arrogance of those whose social plans are apparently more important than the health of their communities.

But there have also been plenty of examples of people going above and beyond to help others. Just look at the NHS staff on the frontline and those who have helped elderly neighbours. And I think there will be an increase in community spirit as the weeks and months progress.

Fresh perspective

It’s all too easy to get preoccupied with things that don’t matter and micro-manage our lives without looking at the bigger picture. But the situation we’re in now will force people to think again.

Whether that’s to be considerate to others, think about what they truly need or to realise the folly of who they allowed into 10 Downing Street, there are bound to be some changes in attitude, most of which will hopefully be for the better.

On a related note, this situation could change perceptions about working culture – check out John’s excellent post on the topic.

Saving money

If you’re having to work from home, you’re probably saving on public transport or petrol, as well as things like coffee and lunch. Similarly, as we’re currently in lockdown, there are fewer opportunities to spend money.

Of course, I would rather have our usual freedoms back, but silver linings of making savings – where possible – for the future aren’t bad.

More creativity

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I think that’s true. The day-to-day challenges brought up by this crisis are going to require inventiveness to overcome.

And we take so many things for granted that creativity seems to be a dying art. If people get back in touch with their innovative sides, this can lead to great things.

Clearing the ‘to do’ list

The need for us all to stay in our own homes is, without question, frustrating. But the extra time we’re spending indoors means there’s a chance to address things we’ve been putting off.

We’ve all got odd jobs that have been waiting for ages and it feels good keeping busy and finally ticking them off the ‘to do’ list.

Learning new skills

Staying at home also presents the opportunity to learn new skills – or rediscover forgotten ones. I’ve become a dab hand at DIY jobs around the house and have also started cooking again.

Since starting my not-so-new job, it hasn’t been practical for me to cook as often as I’d like and I had convinced myself I was no good at it. Not so – I’ve still got it!

Healthier diets

Having limited access to grocery deliveries has forced our hand with meal planning and we’ve reduced the amount of meat we eat as a result. We’ve cut down on wine too.

While I have no plans to completely give up either, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll stick to our leaner diet once this is all over.

More appreciation of others

When this horrible situation is a thing of the past and life returns to normal, I like to think people will appreciate each other more. While I talk to people I know on my way to and from work, I’m guilty of keeping my head down if they’re not about.

It’s time for the art of communication to make a much-needed comeback and it’ll be great to interact with other people again.

So let’s keep thinking of silver linings and look forward to them becoming realities once this dark chapter is over.

Comments

  1. S.A. Schneider

    For me personally, all the kids are really getting tested as to their relationships and dealing with others all day every day. They also don’t have excuses for not getting chores done, so they are finding out more of what it takes to be an adult and get done what needs done. No more hiding behind school.

  2. JOhn Adams

    These are both worrying and fascinating times aren’t they Tom? Your post really does make the point well that there are both real positives and negatives from all of this. We have, as you say, just got to make the most of it.

  3. Ian

    Great post Tom. I agree, as the adults we really need to try and stay positive. It must be so difficult for the kids to fully understand and beagle to make sense of it all.

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