• Sarah Joy Cook

When I’m 80, Here’s How I’ll Remember COVID-19

What an emotional roller-coaster the past month has been! I know I’m not alone in the loneliness of social distancing, concerns about the economy and vigilance for physical health. Most days I experience extreme gratitude, deep worry, anxiety, excitement, rest, fatigue, joy, and fear. Experts describe this experience as grief, and apparently none of us can escape it. We all experience it differently, but it is universal and completely normal. This comforts me.

I am hyper aware of the fact that I am one of the lucky ones. I am healthy, continuing to work, and distancing in a safe, comfortable home.

I want to keep my focus on the good that is coming out of our global slow down. I want to make the most of this time of no travel, no social obligations, no pressure to DO.

Recently several of my friends posted about things they want to remember when Facebook sends them “memories.” It includes such things as the price of fuel and the activities that are closed. There are things I want to remember too...

When I’m 80, I want to remember the following about COVID-19:

  1. We got to know some neighbors on our floor by hosting hallway happy hours. We all sat in our doorways and exchanged stories about life. We shared Lysol, drinks, puzzles, and most importantly laughter

  2. I explored downtown Greenville on foot and quickly familiarized myself with the local stores and restaurants. In 2 months, I learned my way around; it otherwise would have taken me a solid year

  3. I was so thankful for technology and the ability to connect with friends, family and coworkers over video

  4. We ate more meals at home, and I did some of the cooking: guacamole, vegetarian sausage with onions and peppers, eggs and biscuits, “chicken” and nurtured me to cook for us

  5. We had time to work on all the little projects that come with a move. Usually those projects drag on for months (or years)

  6. I learned to tip generously, believing that as I give, I also receive

  7. I allowed myself the pleasure of reading a book

  8. We enjoyed dinner on our balcony and then played Scrabble

  9. We found that the 1-mile walk to the grocery store is pleasurable and is a valid excuse to leave the condo

  10. When I was feeling down, I walked to CVS and bought violet/red hair dye and my blonde hair disappeared. Colin joined the fun and dyed his hair blue so we added blue tips to my bangs. Made for fun video calls!

  11. We did so much less laundry!!

  12. Colin began playing the piano and guitar each morning--a beautiful backdrop for my morning writing ritual

  13. I owed a hefty 2019 income tax payment but I didn’t have to pay it until July

  14. We learned not to take toilet paper for granted

  15. We remembered the importance of having separate activities for us as a couple, especially when we’re sharing space 100% of the time

  16. When I went out to walk in the neighborhood, I saw signs of people helping people: little libraries turned into little pantries, chalk drawings on the sidewalk, fresh rosemary clippings free for the taking, bears in windows for children on scavenger hunts

  17. The first responders, the healthcare workers, the package deliverers, grocery store clerks--all the essential employees. The shortage of masks and all the people who dusted off sewing machines to help

  18. Images of the Himalayas without the hazy screen of pollution, images of Venice’s canals with clear water, pollution maps of the northeastern U.S. showing a 30% reduction

  19. And finally, what a beautiful spring it was! My first in Greenville and I fell in love with the azaleas, the redbud, the dogwood and all the other sensory gifts

Happy Easter to all of you. I hope that you’re finding balance despite what feels very imbalanced. This too shall pass.


Sarah Joy

#ProjectRestoreJoy #Coronavirus #Gratitude #IWantToRemember #COVID-19

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