A list I recently saw said that we must do three things to live a good life: Have fun, work hard, and be kind. While this may seem too simple to think about in the midst of a deadly pandemic, somehow life has to go on. For some of us, the “have fun” part is going to take a whole different turn. I was planning on March Madness to be my usual fun way to ride out winter. And what about opening day for the Royals? And what about going out with my husband to my favorite French bistro on Friday evening, and to the Unicorn Theatre on Sunday afternoons, and the movies, and playing with the grandchildren? Now, “fun” is looking more like planting some seeds in the balcony flower boxes and finally reading some of the books in my bedside queue, and seriously looking at Netflix and Amazon Prime. I will be needing to rely more on spending time at home for awhile.
For me, the “work hard” part is looking like doing phone sessions instead of in-person meetings. It looks like finally finishing my book at the dining room table and tackling some home projects that are long overdue. For some who cannot work from home, the challenge will be to build a schedule and find some meaningful work apart from the usual pattern of “going to work.” There may be children out of school to take care of and to keep motivated and fed!
The “Be kind” part may be a bigger challenge than usual when there is so much uncertainty and even worry about plans and stock market dips, and if there really is a toilet paper shortage ahead. Sometimes being kind and thinking of how we might be able to help someone else when we ourselves are overwhelmed doesn’t come as easily as being short-tempered and grouchy. Blaming really does not help. Looking for the positive instead of what has and is going wrong does help. This is the perfect time to be kind.
Seeing the kindness of others who keep working at the grocery store when one person has 200 cans of soup in their cart (true story), seeing first responders keeping on responding, seeing teachers finding ways to teach online, seeing neighbors checking on one another—these help us to find our own ways to be kind.
Kindness is love made visible in a personal way.
This time is a worldwide retreat to appreciate our lives that we can so easily take for granted. It is a time to treasure our loved ones and strangers and do what is right to keep them safe. It is also a time to get back to the basics and to find parts of ourselves that we may have been missing.