It’s hard sometimes to talk about the positives of the current pandemic – “oh humans are the real virus”- situation, and not come across as a real asshole. I acknowledge, understand and feel the real pain and tragedy that has come with Covid-19, and potential the long-term effects humanity will have to face. However, in an attempt to look at the positives I have going for me instead focusing on the grief of losing a lifestyle I once knew, I came up with a solid list of things I’m grateful for. And a list of cornavirus life lessons I will not soon forget.
This is what I’ve learnt now I’ve been forced to slow down and indulge in every moment.
1. I’ve woken up to the true cost of food waste.
We had only just moved into our new house when the Coronavirus lockdown was called for. This meant that we didn’t have any store cupboard essentials. No spices, no staples, not even some fresh fruit. And the supermarkets were running on empty with everyone panic buying stuff. It was a terribly scary time for us, and while we managed in the end, it still made me realise some horrific facts. As a human-race, we throw away a third of all the food we produce, but around 815 million people go hungry. Obviously, these are pre-covid numbers but it taught me some really valuable lessons. A) Buy only what you need and you know you will definitely eat. B) Freeze ingredients to make it last longer, instead of forgetting about it in the fridge and then throwing it away. C) Donate to food banks, now or after the crisis is over – helping those who struggle to put food on the table should be everyone’s priority. There is no excuse for any of us to go hungry in this day and age.
2. I am learning to love local.
So, the supermarkets were empty, and the only available delivery date for a big supermarket brand was 14 days later. We had to adapt. Local but small, independent shops were still open. And if we needed something produced locally, they were there. Even better, they went above and beyond to make sure the communities they worked in were served. It has also taught me to appreciate local and seasonal produce. Restaurants that weren’t big chain restaurants continued to support their local farmers and suppliers by offering raw ingredients to us. It not only gives me an idea of who’s community minded and who’s just ready for profits.
3. I truly and completely appreciate the outdoors.
Being allowed out just once a day is what has made me crave the outdoors so much than I would’ve in the B.C.* days. I am an out and open homebody who loves going out just as much as staying indoors and reading a book. But I thought the stay inside part of me was stronger. Until now. I never realised the power fresh air, blue skies, bird songs, and sunshine had over me. Now, I hope to never take it for granted again.
4. I see the value of buying better, even if it’s not cheaper.
With tinned and canned ingredients out of stock, with veg and meat rotting on the shelves of supermarkets because someone said covid-19 could linger on food (or some other such fake news), we had to think of buying more expensive organic fruit and vegetables, in many occasions, from farmers directly. And if you’ve heard before that there’s no difference – that’s not true at all. I have slowly gone of the meat sold from supermarkets. I thought maybe European chicken tasted different for some reason? But now we’re buying better ingredients, I can really tell the difference. They taste good, you know your carbon footprint is lower from buying and supporting local farmers, AND they’re meant to be healthier. Everyone wins in this situation. I have learnt that I’d much rather spend more money and eat responsibly.
5. I’m getting good at cooking and DIYing.
All this means that my experiments with cooking are going really well. I haven’t had any disasters, and because we aren’t in a rush, I can cook with care – deliberately. Which means everything is chopped with precision, and that I have the patience to follow steps instead of chucking everything into a pot and hoping the heat will do the trick. It means we’re enjoying out meals more because of it. You can really tell the difference between a BC meal and a lockdown meal.
And, don’t get me started on DIYing. Thanks to limited resources, we’ve had to think on our feet and get good at putting things together, ourselves. We’re getting good at upcycling, recycling, and making do. I hope that in the after times, we get to put this on our CV.
6. I am fully appreciating the birds and bees.
The most uplifting part of my day is when the window is open, and I can hear the birds sing. Bare trees are now blossoming, magpies are freely romancing on the rooftop across from us, bees are thriving. Overnight, it seems like our world has become one big bee and bird hotel. While we Netflix, they chill. And I am here for it!
7. We’re getting innovative with our family activities.
Earlier, calling family was more my parents checking up on me once a month to see if I was alive. Now, family events include virtual pub quizzes, drawing competitions, Netflix Parties, virtual game nights and so much more! The Covid-19 life lesson to take away from this is that we often breeze through relationships doing the bare minimum because these people will be around for you no matter what. But it really is a reminder to nurture the relationships that mean a lot to you.
8. I’m getting out of my introverted comfort zone.
In the B.C. times, I’d happily go without being in touch with anyone for months, maybe even years. My way of pretending I’m social is to publish something on insta and replying to comments there. But now we don’t know when we’ll get to see each, it forces me to get out of my comfort zone. I’m not complaining because it means I get to do something I normally wouldn’t do – like making an effort to actually appear on video calls. I’m also finding myself writing more emails and blog posts, things I would previously put off cause I’m procrastinator #1.
9. I’m changing my ideas of the perfect holiday
For as long as it isn’t clear when we will be able to travel abroad again, I have to satiate my inner adventurer by managing expectations. Instead of despairing about how we might never be able to travel again, I’m focussing instead on locations near me that have just as much to offer as Wakanda. I’m even embracing the idea of a staycation, or a long train ride to the ends of the UK. Even writing about this has got me excited.
10. My love for art and artists have grown a hundred-fold.
It seems almost universal that in these uncertain times, we’ve fled to the comforting arms of art and music. Artists are our fundraisers, our therapists, our friends, our companions. Some of my most favourite concerts, songs, dances, movements have come out of being in a global pandemic together. So instead of going on about how much I love them, here’s a few of my favourite things to come out of the pandemic. The next time I complain about how much I have to pay for art and music and words, I’ll remember these days.
How have you been keeping busy and positive these days? And what are you looking forward to once all of this is over? Let me know! Till then, stay safe! ❤