Gratitude and Hope In the Era of Coronavirus

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I don’t know about you, but in the past five weeks or so my anxiety has been running pretty high. Between all the unknowns, the rising infection and death tolls, the kids being home all the time while I’m trying to work, and losing clients (I’m a marketing consultant), it’s just not a good combination. Parts of my job that did pick up are all related to coronavirus coverage, which means I’m “in it” all day when I would rather be taking a break with my kids to unwind.

I haven’t written in awhile because I just felt so drained and unable to form cohesive thoughts. And even though I still don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel – when things start to reopen, we will still be operating in uncharted territory – I’ve seen my anxiety levels drop somewhat and my perspective on the whole situation evolving.

Two words for you that have helped me sort of redefine this period: gratitude and hope. You’ve probably seen memes on social media, ‘safe at home, not stuck at home.’ What I have tried really hard to do is to reframe my thinking like that. So I started making a mental list of things I am thankful for right now, and what I’m still looking forward to doing, whether it’s this summer/fall or in 2021 … or beyond. Cause who the hell knows.

Things I am grateful for amidst the coronavirus crisis:

  • Our health
  • Our home
  • Our jobs
  • The food in our freezer and fridge, even if we still haven’t been able to find toilet paper (seriously people, what are you all doing with all the freaking toilet paper?!)
  • My 3-year-old son is basically potty trained, something we have been trying to do for months but never had the time to keep him home for several days in a row to just “do it”
  • I can usually sleep in with my daughter, since our older son is up to put cartoons on for the toddler
  • My husband’s college courses moved online, which meant he got to be home more
  • His two-week paid leave earlier in April to stay home and help with the kids. It wasn’t a staycation, but it’s the closest thing we’ve probably ever got to one.
  • Our school district’s teachers, who have gone above and beyond since this thing started
  • The free breakfasts and lunches that the district distributes each weekday
  • Having a back yard and driveway where we can take the kids outside to play
  • Having a big public park 10 minutes from our house, where we can go for walks
  • Sunnier days (it’s still Pittsburgh, but springtime is better than winter when it comes to sun and warmth)
  • Wineries that have carryout sales
  • My toddler’s imagination and his stories
  • More homecooked meals since my husband is home more (he’s a much better cook than I am, and usually enjoys it more too)
  • That our older son is not a senior yet and while he is still missing out on a lot, we don’t have the added stress of graduation or senior prom like senior parents/kids do
  • Virtual doctor’s appointments that are covered by insurance (why has it taken so long to make this a thing?)

And next, things I am hopeful for and look forward to doing again one day:

  • Hanging out with friends
  • Eating out at our favorite restaurants
  • Going to that conference by myself
  • Going to Kennywood and taking my kids to Thomas’s Play land (or whatever it’s called)
  • Farmer’s markets
  • Going to the store and being able to buy everything on my list
  • Washington Wild Things games and dollar hot dog and beer nights
  • Hosting cookouts at our house
  • Going to the wave pool
  • Playing real frisbee golf instead of the Wii Sports Resort version
  • Going on vacation in August (fingers seriously crossed)
  • Watching the school marching band perform, now that our older son has joined
  • Pens and Steelers, even if it’s just watching them on TV

There’s probably more I can add to both of these lists. But that’s what I came up with for now. What would be on your lists?