Full disclosure, I’m a cynic by nature. Meaning, I usually see the worst in a situation, far more than I see the good. Believe me, it’s not a good outlook to have, and it’s certainly made aspects of my life more difficult. And as far as Corona goes— I’ve also got a birth defect that reduces my lung capacity and I have the immune system of a newborn baby… yay. So naturally, you could say that I’m not exactly wired for the situation that we find ourselves in right now.
I’ve spent hours talking to healthcare professionals and doing research on COVID-19, and let me just be totally honest, it’s not made me feel any better. Quite the opposite. To say that we’ve never seen anything like COVID-19 in our lifetimes would be an understatement. Our government wasn’t prepared for this. The world wasn’t prepared for this. And as good of a job that our own governor is doing fighting this thing, it doesn’t change what I’m seeing everywhere else.
These are bleak and scary times and things are going to get worse before they get better. I know that wallowing in fear and despair may be what feels like the right thing to do right now. And by all means, if you feel like wallowing, then wallow. Just don’t do it forever. Because one way or another, we’re gonna get through this.
Despite the circumstances and every instinct I’ve got telling me that this could be the end, I can’t help but be optimistic right now —even if things in my neck of the woods aren’t looking that great. I’m stuck on a farm that’s miles away from civilization, and from most of my friends and family.
My mother is one of the many independent contractors who can’t go to work right now, which is going to make it incredibly difficult to pay the bills. I miss my girlfriend with every fiber of my being, and it’s likely I won’t get to see her in person for a very long time if this gets worse. And it’s very likely going to get worse. That’s to say nothing of the worries I’ve got for my grandparents and any of the other vulnerable people in my life.
But things could be so much worse. One or more of the people in my life could be dying on a ventilator right now. And thank goodness, none of them are. In times like these, no matter how rough things may look, you have to count your blessings and make do with what you’ve got.
Keep your people safe and stay busy. That’s really all any of us can do right now. If you’re a student, work on the oodles of online coursework that’s just been dropped off on us. Use the unexpected free time you’ve been given to do something productive or treat yourself. Whether that be something like exercising or finally finishing that show that’s been in your Netflix que for a year is up to you.
Whatever it is you decide to do, just do something. I’ve been trying to do a little bit of everything and look at it from the best possible perspective. I might miss class, but I don’t have to get up at 6:30 a.m. and take a long commute anymore. I might miss my friends, but I’m getting time with my two younger brothers that I wouldn’t be getting otherwise.
There’s also plenty you can do to stay entertained on your own too (like the aforementioned TV thing). I’ve been pouring myself into the nerdiest of my interests. I dusted off my XBOX-360 and started a replay of the ‘Mass Effect’ trilogy. Which, if you don’t know, is a giant choose your own adventure style Space Opera with a great big world full of awesome characters to get lost in. I’m finally going to finish ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ after starting it almost 2 years ago. The large stack of unread books and comic books that’s been sitting around my room gathering dust is finally getting some attention. And of course, I’ve always got time to rewatch the entire library of Danny McBride’s HBO shows or my all-time favorite show ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’ Go to Always Sunny’s Hulu page and watch ‘The Gang Gets Quarantined’ right now. Thank me later.
I’ve also discovered the value of FaceTime and Skype. It certainly doesn’t beat in person contact, but it’s a start. My girlfriend and I have been using FaceTime quite a bit. It’s painful that she’s not there in person, but she’s there all the same. And a pandemic hasn’t stopped me and my cousins from running our D&D campaign. Later in the week I’m gonna have some drinks and watch a movie through Netflix party with my old friends from the Eastern Progress. And we’ll laugh like hyenas and have a great time despite the fact that we’re doing it from a distance.
I know hearing some random guy on the internet say it’ll all be okay and talk about some things to do to stay entertained probably isn’t going to help much. I get that, and I understand. But we’re going to be in the wilderness here for a while, and having a positive attitude is one of the best things we can do to help see us out. I’ve never put much faith in humanity, but we’ve made it through worse. If we made it through the Black Plague and the Spanish Flu, then we can get through this.
But it will take caution, empathy, and kindness. Be good to each other. Tell the people in your life that you love them, and hold on for dear life. If like so many people around the world, you’re being hurt by this, then you have my love and sympathy. It may take a long time, but we’ll be okay. In the meantime, keep your chin up and keep moving. When you’ve been dealt a bad hand, all you can do is play it and make the best of your circumstances. Keep your chin up, we’re gonna get through this.