The Unexpected Gifts of My Covid Year (s)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who say the movie The Silver Linings Play Book is their favorite film of all time. And a cliche I’ve always disliked and now feel a full-on inflammatory response coming on when I hear it is the one about making lemonade out of lemons. (Am I over reacting or have we heard that line an impossible number of times during the pandemic year?).

How can we talk about silver linings, or lemonade or or the various ways that the universe shines upon us in the face of such tragedy? Where are the silver linings for the dead, the unemployed, the sick and the impoverished? For me January brought another name to add to the list of those who are beyond any glass of metaphorical lemonade.

This is all preamble. What I want to establish is that I’m not someone who is hopeless cheery and who sits home relentlessly counting my “blessings.” Ugh! Still, every so often I’m made aware of something–something good, that might not have happened at any other moment. And as the darkness sometimes threatens to overwhelm me as we enter this 2nd Covid year, I force myself to remember that still, every so often something good can happen.

Good Thing #1:  Sing praise to members of the bureaucracy, county workers, city clerks, federal judges and everyone else who has helped out.

I know it’s popular to say that government is too big, but isn’t it good that government is big enough to both turn back the insurgent forces as they storm our democracy and–AND–to simultaneously provide practical help to millions of individuals?

I’m celebrating all the judges, representatives and senators, secretaries of state, attorneys general, DC Police and everyone else who did their part and saved the republic.

On a more local front though I’ve also found much to praise, including:

–the Morro Bay city official who–although now working only part-time and from home–has found time to answer all my queries about building a room addition

–the SLO County Covid official who emails me back in minutes with information and instructions every time I contact her about vaccinations. Because of her my 90 year old father-in-law is now just about to receive his 2nd dose and I’m going to get my first vaccination on Thursday. While I’m on this point thanks also go out to every county worker who is participating in the program.

–the Eldorado County worker who although she too was working from home, with listed access to data and limited hours, answered my frantic request. (My health insurance which is through my husband was going to be cancelled unless I could immediately supply a marriage license. Marriage license? Who knows where the original is. I’ve been married for decades and moved numerous times. I needed a copy which seemed like it would be impossible to procure under the circumstances. The clerk somehow found the records, made an official copy and overnighted it to me.)

And while I’m recognizing heroics, a shout out also goes to the incredibly kind and patient woman an the bank who taught me–on the phone and online–how to complete all my transactions on line. The people who work for Instacart belong here too, as well as all delivery people and essential workers. (Both of my children are public essential workers–one is the manager and head librarian of a large regional library and the other works for the city, in city hall, just trying to keep things going.)

In the end it’s really the kindness of strangers that illuminates this dark time.

Good Thing #2:    Yoga! Yoga on Zoom! Who would have thought? I can fall out of bed and do yoga as often as I want in my pajamas.

Good Thing #3: Walking

Yeah, I know, walking has always existed. But I’ve always had excuses–too hot, too cold, too busy, too, too, too–. Now without my daily walks I’d be stuck home for going on the second year. So I walk. Every day. And it’s beautiful here so there are really no excuses.

Good Thing #4: And I’ll stop here for now:      Dinner

Dinner! Yes, I know. We’ve always had dinner. It just never counted so much before. My husband and I start discussing dinner at some point in the morning. What should we have? How shall we fix it? (Unless it’s a special dinner like tamales or homemade vegan ice cream. Then our discussion starts days in advance.)


Like they’re saying in the Senate impeachment trial, these are indeed the times that try men’s [and women’s!!!] souls. Light a candle for what you’ve lost and maybe though too for some small thing you’ve gained. And keep going.


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