This Silver Lining is Brilliant

Silver Lining

I’m writing this as we are in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. Here in the U.S., there are a number of cities and counties with shelter in place orders. People are practicing social distancing. Some are self-quarantining. Others are hospitalized. And most tragically, many have died. The coronavirus and its virulence seemed to come out of nowhere this past December when the world first starting hearing about this highly contagious new virus affecting thousands of people daily in Wuhan, China. The virus quickly spread and virtually every continent and every country is experiencing devastating loss, unprecedented illness, and extremely high levels of anxiety.

This is brand new territory for the world and especially for those of us in the U.S. We are extremely proud of our rugged individualism and unfettered freedom in this country. We are rarely forced to think about ourselves as part of a collective. We are rarely forced to think about our interdependence. We are frequently forced to go, go, go and do more, more, more. We experience disconnect and loneliness often in this modern-day rat race we’ve created. Coronavirus has completely flipped all of that upside down. That is the most brilliant silver lining of this entire frightening experience.

At the beginning of the crisis, when countries and cities were starting to close down, people panicked. There was ugly hoarding, panicked buying, price gouging on critical supplies. There were viral stories of people coming to blows over toilet tissue. Every store was out of everything. There have been increasing acts of hatefulness and discrimination aimed at folks of Asian descent. These attacks borne out of ignorance and fear have been hurtful to many. The world was fevered and frenzied. But then this past week, things started to shift. It’s as if the panic was a collective fever and once it broke we all began to revel in the opportunity this moment has given us. For me, it started with the thought that though I’d be at home alone with my 8-year old for weeks on end, I was more grateful than frustrated or worried. I thought that it was a complete gift that I’d get to spend as much time with her at this point in her life as this crisis seemed to be pointing too. During the “regular” work/school week, we spend about 3 waking hours together each day. The woes of being a working mother are many. The loss of time is one of the biggest. Then I saw the 15-second clip of a city block of Italians singing Rihanna from their windows and balconies. The tide started to shift.

Now, I’m reveling in the outpouring of love and joy the world is demonstrating in this troubling time. I once read that only dull people get bored. Meaning with creativity and focus, you can always find something to do. Well, the world has risen to the challenge in full force. With technological advances, we’ve proven how interconnected we can be in our globalness. The possibilities for connection, fun, loving, entertainment, and joy are limitless. Just yesterday, I participated in a healing and challenging, virtual yoga class with other warrior women of color and then danced in my kitchen for over 2 hours with 6k other folks while DJ D-Nice hosted a live party via his Instagram page. Last week, a good friend started doing storytime each night taking us back to our childhood glory days. Another friend is offering free Zumba classes — I’m taking my first one tomorrow. I’ve FaceTimed and Google Duo’d with friends and family in the past week more than months prior. I’ve gotten the sweetest, most genuine “just checking on you guys” texts. Next week, I’ve got virtual happy hours and a brunch lined up on my calendar. I’ve engaged with other folks about maintaining your mental health during these challenging times via my own social media platforms. I’ve laughed and eaten tons of junk food. Rested well. I’ve slowed down and re-centered on what’s important.

Picture of the word change in spelled in blocks. A person is changing the “g” in change to the letter “c” to spell chance.

I mourn with the world for all the lives lost. I’m still holding my breath that no one I know dies from COVID-19. I’m prayerful that we can flatten the curve and the numbers of us who are infected suffer the mildest of symptoms. What I don’t wish for is a return to normalcy. I think this entire experience is an opportunity for a major wake up call. The pace and the approach to life we were taking was untenable and unsustainable. While I want this rampant contagion to end just as much as we all do, I’m grateful for this glorious silver lining it’s given me. What have been some changes for the better in your life since the coronavirus crisis began? How are you finding joy in the moment? Comment below and click the applause hands if you’ve connected with what you’ve read.

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Dr. Nikki Knows

I’m a licensed psychologist with a diverse set of talents: therapist, DEI consultant and trainer, sexologist, writer, podcaster, public speaker.