If you haven’t heard, the world is in lockdown.
My home province, Ontario, went into a state of emergency on March 17th, 2020. Today is May 18, 2020 and businesses have just started to re-open. No one knows if this re-opening will be successful or if it’s too early to return to pre-Coronavirus life. Time will tell.
1. The Bad
If life were summed up in 1 word right now, it would be “eerie”.
Families and couples have been forced to reacquaint themselves with their co-inhabitants. Jobs have been lost in the blink of an eye. Teachers, students, and parents have been thrown into emergency online classrooms during an already tumultuous school year. Funerals, wedding events, birthday parties, and all of life’s other major milestones are now shared through screens, with the glaring absence of touch and togetherness. The wealthy fled to more comfortable dwellings, and poorer populations were left behind to deal with the virus. Unstable homes teeter more dangerously than before, fraught with anxiety, violence, and fear. Singles living alone are experiencing new lows of loneliness. Travellers and expats living abroad have been scrambling to return “home”, with and without government intervention. The rest of the world’s travellers are stuck wherever their feet are, without the stability and security of familiarity, social safety nets, shared languages, or somewhere to stay. Online dating apps have led to online first dates. Prisons and seniors homes have become battlefields for health and human rights. Businesses have been forced to close their doors forever while others are struggling to make ends meet. First responders in the medical field and frontline workers in all sectors (grocery store employees, I see you) risk their lives, and those of whom they live with, to pay their bills. Parks and playgrounds are clamped shut or cordoned off by depressing flimsy caution tape. People avoid eye contact when making the one or two essential trips a week.
2. The Good
If life were summed up in 1 word right now, it would be “community”.
Thankfully, dark cloudy days (of which there have been too many to count this May), have silver linings.
Families are rediscovering the joy of spending time together with games nights, indoor forts, roller coaster chair rides, messy baking explorations, nature walks and bike rides. Unemployment provides the opportunity to relearn budgeting skills. Communities value their teachers, appreciate the time and effort educators devote to their vocation, and realize that online learning is not a replacement for classrooms. Technology, with all of its privacy and health flaws, is used to connect, as much as is possible. Social inequalities become even more important to address, discuss, and remove from our governments, workplaces, and homes. Businesses are trimming, pivoting, demonstrating resourcefulness and creativity. Local communities are seeing how crucial it is to support local and are doing so in a phenomenal way. Nurses, x-ray techs, doctors, paramedics, and other medical professionals are being recognized for the amazing humans they are and showered with signs of love and warmth from doorways, lawns, and windows. Roads for cars are being designated for bikers, runners, and walkers. Neighbours are initiating driveway dance parties and workouts, and connecting with those who need groceries, a friendly call, or a lawn mowed. Mother Nature is regaining her strength.
3. The Inbetween
There’s no question that life right now is difficult, shocking, and devastating. To every yin there is yang, salt pairs with pepper, what goes up must come down, arrows pull back before they shoot forward. Amidst today’s struggles, life has also proven to be beautiful, heart-warming, and inspiring. The current challenges are providing opportunities for personal and social growth to flourish. It will be our collective responsibility to harness the momentum from these calls to action when the dust settles. Our struggles have also shed light on how humble, resourceful, creative, and loving the human species is. Empathy is replacing apathy, because we really are all in this storm – even from our different boats.
There’s a long way to go still, that much is for sure. Health is a priority above all, and that includes your mental and emotional health. If all you can manage some days are tears, frustration, and taking another breath, then that is your mission. On the days that are easy and soft, extend your light to those who need it.
Take care of yourselves. Take care of each other.
Smiles for Your Day
- Students Brighten Seniors’ Day with their Art
- Sisters Make a CoVid Book for Kids (and it’s awesome!)
- Postal Worker Writes & Delivers Graduation Cards
- Neighbourhood Helping Hands
- Toilet Paper Takeout (from a Restaurant!)
- Sam Robert’s Musical Family Has a Song for You
- Les Miserables – Quarantine Edition
- Restaurateurs Feed Frontline Workers
- Visiting Seniors Home in a Bucket Truck
- Toilet Paper Humour
Extend a Helping Hand
- Shop Locally in KW
- Donate to the KW Foodbank
- Various Waterloo Region Organizations
- Buy this Children’s Book to Buy PPE for Frontline Workers
- Buy a Shirt, Support a Local Business
- Sign a Petition to Save Small Businesses
- Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation
- How to Social Distance
- Pandemic Privilege – Does it Include You?
- Do you, boo. Ignore the Productivity Preaching
- Zoom is Malware. Get Informed
- Canadian Coronavirus Map (as of May 14, 2020)
- Live Worldwide Updates
- CBC CoVid Homepage
- Waterloo Region CoVid Information & Supports