Sunday, April 5, 2020

Coping in the Time of COVID-19

No, we are not alright. I'm not okay and neither are you. and...that's okay.

As I write this, the number of coronavirus cases in my state, California, has topped 12,300. The U.S.  has more than 311,000 coronavirus cases. Woo hoo! America is the best, bar none, yeah? Trump is truly making America Great Again...not. I wonder if he is currently outshining other covidiots by a large margin.

Here are some ways in which many of us are loving and coping through this pandemic.

1. In Praise of the Paranoid:

"Better safe than sorry", "prevention is better than cure", "only the paranoid survive". These have just been a few of my mantras in life. Right now, though, we all fall somewhere on the neurotic scale.  The more neurotic, the better for the individual and society.

Some neurotic things we've been doing at home:

  • A and I have been wearing face masks and plastic gloves to grocery shop. 
  • When S1 caught a cold, cough and sore throat and passed it onto me and S2, we isolated ourselves from the grandparents who are staying with us. 
  • I canceled my travel to Chicago more than a month and a half ago when my paranoia radar was up and almost everyone else around me still seemed fine with travel. V and J were my voices of sanity through that difficult decision. 

I've been paranoid about this for a while. If you were also equally paranoid a month and a half ago, I saw you as my equal, my loving, kindred spirit who 'gets it'. If you were not, I saw you as having a delayed response. "Give it time, s/he will come around to it", I told myself.

2. Love is the Predominant Emotion:

While I see some universal hate against covidiots and Chinese wet markets, love seems to prevail against all odds. I've always been a sucker for love. Loving more enables me to continue living more. While I believe that blood is thicker than water and think it's basic and easy to love family, I'm humbled by how much love and help strangers are offering strangers in these strange times.

We are all on Zoom meetings at work and school, hosting and attending birthday parties online and spending ginormous amounts of time with the ones we love the most, if we are lucky to live with them at this time.

Across the board, instances of loving I've engaged in are:

  • Hosting Zoom meetings with cousins and hosting a baby shower for a dear friend J
  • Video chatting with my faves
  • Checking in on those who've touched my life positively these past few years
As M and I strongly feel, video chat> phone call> voice recording text> text message right now. 

3. Remote Love and Longing:

I've been working from my home, remotely, for the past 5 years. Right now, it feels like the world is catching up to my everyday lifestyle. Finally, I see people, who had strong behavioral inertia to video chat, opening their minds and video apps to video chat with me and everyone else. 

As an extrovert, I'm loving this. I am fundamentally a huggy-kissy person, though. Perhaps because I want what I cannot have, I'm left with a longing to touch the people I love through the screen. A warm hug, a gentle kiss,  a tight squeeze. How much longer do we need to wait to be able to display these forms of emotion outside the four walls of our homes? Sigh.

Among the many small things I've been loving and longing for everyday - waiting to see a new California poppy pop and burst into life overnight in my garden. What a joy!

4. Rise to the occasion...and do nothing:

As several memes have emphasized, this is one time in history when we are all required to save the world by...doing nothing. Simple as it sounds, it is hard to sit back and do absolutely nothing when the world is suffering.

Charity begins at home. I've seen that the ones who don't help around the house or their immediately family generally don't have a tendency to help the world either.

We are all forced to help ourselves and our immediate family during this time. We've offered to help elderly neighbors and we've also started making face masks, thanks to my amazingly talented mom and ever-helpful dad. S1 and I are hemming face masks today. S2, the artist in the family, wants to decorate them and make them "creative".

So - How are you coping during times of COVID?

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