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Thread: Graces of the pandemic or lockdown relief?

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Graces of the pandemic or lockdown relief?

    There have been a few articles sharing discoveries of the 'graces of the pandemic'. None are denying the horrible awfulness of the covid contagion but rather recognizing the 'reset' in their lives because of the restrictions enacted to protect and reduce transmission.

    I have been grateful for the reduced rush and scheduling, fewer commitments, virtual alternatives and time for prayer and meditation. No explanation was necessary.

    https://robertsturgeon.substack.com/...-a-fresh-start

    Another one: Gayle MacDonald is a feature writer at The Globe and Mail.

    My 86-year-old dad was buried on a beautiful sunny day at the end of October. After a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s, he finally – and mercifully – slipped away. He was buried beside our mom, in a shady corner of the Southampton Cemetery in Ontario, which sits atop a hill on the Saugeen River.

    A local bagpiper played Amazing Grace. A woman from the church played Bring Him Home from Les Misérables. It was one of the saddest and happiest moments of my life because I knew this intimate goodbye, with immediate family, was exactly the kind of low-key exit my dad would have wanted. He was a humble man.

    It struck me that day that the pandemic was both a blessing and a curse. Because of restrictions on social gatherings, a traditional funeral was out of the question. So we did what everyone has had to do during the last year – we improvised and adapted – and ended up with what we knew, in our hearts, my dad would have preferred anyway. A simple affair, under beautiful maple trees, with his loved ones nearby.

    COVID-19 has been a terrible thing for so many people – and I don’t wish to minimize the suffering of those who have lost loved ones or their livelihood – but it has also provided us with some grace notes that we would not normally have experienced. In normal times, my brothers and I would have gone with the big funeral, the receiving line, the organist etc. COVID-19 forced us take a big inhale, a slow exhale and a hard look at what was important and would make us most happy.

    Before the pandemic I was on autopilot, functioning at a level that left little to no room for reflection. Now after months of living in lockdown, I have discovered I’m quite happy to be free of many of the encumbrances of my old busy life.

    I’m glad I‘m not eating out as much, and instead cooking dinner at home and having more family meals (yes, only with my own household). I’m relieved I no longer feel compelled to go to social events that I never really wanted to attend in the first place. I’m thrilled that I don’t have to commute to work. And I’m grateful the U.S. border was closed so that my 24-year-old son, who had just graduated from school in the States, was forced to come home and live with us (I call it my COVID gift but I’m sure he has another name for it).

    I am ashamed to admit I feel both gratitude and resentment for a horrible virus that has killed far too many. However, it turns out I’m experiencing what some experts are calling “lockdown relief” and it refers to people (privileged ones, to be sure) who have embraced slowing down, adapted fairly easily to the restrictions and found new purpose (and happiness) in a pared-down pandemic life.

    Last August, CBC writer Jennifer Moss reported that about 20 per cent of Canadians have experienced lockdown relief the past year. She described them as “people who, pre-COVID, felt they had to constantly keep up appearances, demonstrate productivity, they had to be at every event, it was necessary for them to be seen, and found themselves feeling relieved that their internal need to perform was now moot.”

    Moss interviewed young professionals who reported feeling happier during the pandemic because they had less FOMO (fear of missing out). She talked to families, with busy complex lives, who had bonded in new ways because they were no longer driving to a million different extracurricular activities. She spoke to a couple who had rediscovered each other because their time together was no longer weighed down with commuting times and travel.

    They all had one thing in common. “Because they have been given permission to do what they want to do, they’ve discovered that their old way of life was exhausting and unnecessary,” Moss wrote. In other words, COVID allowed them to hit a reset button and they were happier.

    The other day I received some beautiful photos from the daughter of good friends, a young woman named Anne who was married last weekend at their local Ontario church in front of their immediate family. They drove to the tiny church in a golf cart. Her aunt and uncle shovelled the pathway to the church and laid the astro-turf to avoid mud.

    Anne told me she had always envisioned a “smallish” wedding (“I have never enjoyed being the centre of attention”) but she was a little sad, at first, that no friends could attend.

    Once the ceremony began, she forgot all that. “Despite not being able to celebrate in person with many people who are dear to us, Mike and I still felt an incredible outpouring of love from our community of family and friends. I had virtual showers and a virtual bachelorette party, friends dropped off special meals for us to enjoy … Mike and I have never felt so much love.”

    That, in a nutshell, is how I felt standing by my dad’s grave listening to the sweet notes of Bring Him Home float through the air. Now I can glimpse a return to “normal” life – and I’m thrilled. But I also know there are life lessons that the pandemic has taught me that I want to preserve.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    Thank you for sharing your personal stories with us. I hear much along this line of the "grace" of the pandemic and the personal impact.

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    The thing the pandemic showed me is that I don't matter. If I died tomorrow it would be no great loss. I guess there is grace in that.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal-one View Post
    The thing the pandemic showed me is that I don't matter. If I died tomorrow it would be no great loss. I guess there is grace in that.
    Not sure that I understand this post.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    Not sure that I understand this post.
    I am often comforted by the idea I am a tiny speck of importance in the world, in the universe, and in the vast thing we call time. In the big picture I am not very important, and I kind of like that idea.


    I’m not sure frugal-one meant this, but that’s how I took it.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I am hugely important in my own little circumscribed world, and happily aware that I'm insignificant outside of it.
    But I didn't need a pandemic to tell me that.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    This NYT article encaptures the answer to your questions. It's actually quite beautiful, the transformations some people have had as a result of it (again, in no way dismissing the horror of half a million deaths). https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...gtype=Homepage

    As for me, I had no drastic life change. My work life only changed insofar as now I exchange my robe for my LLBean hoodie when I go on a morning Zoom call just in case video is required. Business travel seems like a bygone era.

    I think it does make me realize how fragile we are. Everything is in balance (or so we think) until some weird virus mutates half a world a way and then everything changes. Impermanence becomes more than a distant Buddhist philosophy, and I think that makes us all a little wiser.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    Sometimes I wonder if I will be able to gear up and return to the pace I had pre-pandemic when this is all over. I wonder how I did all I did.

  9. #9
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Interesting reading your responses. Thanks for the NYT link. It was interesting to read. I realized this past year that I have allowed my perfectionism to make life way too complicated. If I planned something and it didn't turn out as I hoped, I felt a failure and struggled to rehearse and recycle my plan to prevent failure making my life more challenging. I kept planning ahead, detailing steps to follow which has been helpful in many ways but lost the sense of spontaneity of life.
    I discovered that the world keeps on turning whether I plan or not.

    I don't feel insignificant because I make sure that every contact on my walks each day feel acknowledged and validated as much as I can. I communicate with positive emails, phone calls and visits because I value them when shared with me. I love being alive and having time to investigate all that the online provides with wifi. Life is so much simpler in my activities at home and at the same time so complex in the world around me.

    My heart aches for those such as the Rohingya, migrants, troubled addicts and so many others. I am amazed at the beauty around me, the kindness of others and the love that we share. I admire the efforts of those struggling with living their lives despite their fears and the challenges they encounter. I am grateful to be alive and experience all of this especially with the slowdown created by the pandemic.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

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