The Positive Pandemic Proclamation

Reflecting on the good parts of quarantine and 2020

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These are positive things I’ve found due to COVID-19, quarantine, and the chaos of 2020. I hope they brighten your day or inspire.

Revelations

  1. Clothes don’t matter anymore. I’m not stressed trying to pick an outfit for work, nor have I bought clothes since this started. I’ve come to appreciate the clothes I wear around the house.
  2. Phone calls are in. I used to hate calling people, but now I call my parents and friends regularly.
  3. Walking is great. I never noticed all of the interesting houses, trees, flowers, people, dogs, and especially dogs in my neighborhood.
  4. There are a lot of happy dogs if you look for them.
  5. There are also happy bunnies, but they’re elusive.
  6. Cooking every day improves my mood.
  7. Cooking even small meals every day gives me more energy than eating leftovers and ordering takeout. In Ayurveda, a traditional healing science centered on food and its relationship to the mind and body, it’s believed that fresher food is always better. The science is mixed, with some studies suggesting that only vitamin C and B12 are lost from reheating food, and others noting that produce loses 30% of nutrition in only a few days after harvest. Anecdotally at least, I’ve felt energized.
  8. Dungeons and Dragons can be played virtually as a way to keep in touch with friends for free.
  9. People pay attention on sidewalks now. Also, people in groups don’t walk in a giant, unwavering phalanx that takes up the whole sidewalk as if they’re the only people in the world.
  10. My friends and I are listening to each other and validating each other’s depressive feelings.
  11. Sometimes doing nothing at all is what goes the distance.
  12. Small/local businesses and communities fill in the gaps when the government doesn’t.
  13. It’s easy to spot bigots now. They’re no longer hiding their hostility toward the people they devalue.
  14. Money is more invisible than ever. I hardly spend on anything but necessities and rent. I think less about my paycheck and checking my balances, and haven’t been as stressed about the value of a dollar. (Coming from a place of privilege in that I’m lucky to have not lost my job over COVID and can still do it remotely.)
  15. Housekeeping is about more than just cleaning your house. It’s maintaining a comfortable relationship with your home.
  16. Alcohol is kind of overrated. I say this as an ex-bartender who still loves making drinks and learning about wine. At first I drank all the time in quarantine, but then I slowed down and started wondering what I was getting out of it. I love drinking with friends and my partner, but I realized I was just drinking because it was what I was used to.
  17. Everything that can be available remotely should be. Not saying it has to be, but COVID has shown that so many things can be done remotely. So it’s a question of accessibility. Why should I need to go to an office every day when I write code as efficiently or more from my home office?
  18. Napping is phenomenal.
  19. “Athleisure” is not a thing. Athletic clothes have always been substitutes for leisure wear.
  20. Talking to strangers in your neighborhood is empowering. It’s like, “hey, I live here and am also in quarantine, but down the street from you. I wouldn’t have said hi before, but now it feels like we’re in this together.” That’s warm.
  21. It’s unrewarding to force a new skill just because other people are learning new skills.
  22. It’s clear which companies give a shit about their employees.
  23. It’s also clear which ones give a shit about their customers. (Hint: the ones requiring you not to wear a mask don’t.)
  24. Delivery is nice, but dangerous.
  25. Food delivery companies/apps are taking much bigger cuts out of the profits of restaurants than previously expected. This is causing other food delivery services to crop up that are better for restaurants and is pressuring the industry to favor restaurants instead of convenience.
  26. Masks are fashionable in other places than just South Korea and Japan.
  27. Just because you’re optimistic doesn’t mean you can’t be sad.
  28. People are less judgmental of spending a ton of time in your house.
  29. People are less judgmental of spending a ton of time on personal hobbies.
  30. We have a great example of how to not to lead a country in a pandemic.
  31. We know it’s possible to stop pollution since it dropped substantially during quarantine, and also we know who to blame when it inevitably rises back up.
  32. People are finding more and more creative ways to use technology to spread community.
  33. Making it a habit to not touch my face improved my skin.
  34. Home and community gardening is trending and inspiring a generation of (hopefully) more locally-focused food production.
  35. I rediscovered my love for reading.
  36. Suzanne Collins released a prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy. Coincidence?
  37. People are finally coming around to the fact that we can think J. K. Rowling sucks and is a TERF while still appreciating the culture experience that Harry Potter was.
  38. Celebrities are out of touch with reality and we should not expect them to be experts in anything but what they do.
  39. Fresh herbs from the garden make far better cocktails than store bought ones.
  40. People in my neighborhood have been leaving houseplants (succulents, especially) in Little Free Libraries. In response, my partner and I have been putting vegetable plants we started from seed in them. In response to that, a local artist starting painting tiny notes of gratitude. Who knows what we’ll see next!
  41. Little trips with no firm destination can make for great adventures.
  42. Essential workers are getting recognized as such and making demands for what they deserve (hint: better working conditions, fair pay, benefits, not getting stereotyped as failures or raised eyebrows/fake smiles when they meet their partner’s parents).
  43. Resting is not a waste of time.
  44. I’m sleeping better, and not just because I don’t have to get up as early. The main contributor is that I’m prioritizing my sleep instead of staying out with friends or trying to sneak in a few extra minutes of YouTube. Somehow those things feel less important.
  45. I don’t have to come up with interesting things to say at the proverbial water cooler at work anymore. People show up for virtual meetings, say what needs to be said, and anything else feels natural. Bonus:
  46. I’m working more efficiently and have less stress to get things done in the office because I feel like I can always just keep working at home if I really need to.
  47. Conversely, I can leave the office immediately when I’m done. No traffic, no running into people in the elevator, no “Oh, by the way…” on the way out.
  48. My partner and I give each other hugs and kisses throughout the work day. Or sometimes we’ll bring each other water or a snack. Or take a walk together. Or rant about a project.
  49. Life is slowing down.
  50. Gallon water jugs are excellent dumbbells in a pinch.
  51. Having even a few extra minutes before work in the morning improved my morning mood.
  52. Mental Health is getting more attention than ever.
  53. I can take a home self-care vacation and no one cares.
  54. There’s a certain discipline to be found in staying inside all week.
  55. After working out in a gym for years, I’ve reset and re-evaluated my exercise routine to better fit my lifestyle and needs.
  56. There’s loads of free content everywhere.
  57. The alone time is invaluable for reflection, and reflection is invaluable for writing.
  58. I can grow a beard. On a related note, hair is not that important.
  59. Local businesses are getting more attention.
  60. Recently I was bored for the first time in a decade. It was exhilarating.
  61. My decision to not buy a car is paying off as there’s no where to go that I don’t walk or bike to.
  62. People are learning the value of solidarity.
  63. I don’t need in-person validation from my job to feel like my work is valued.
  64. I’m sure I said dogs already, but dogs. Lots of shelters cleared out because people wanted a companion.
  65. Many schools are offering free online classes. Harvard, for example, released an entire catalog. Better yet, they feel accessible and no one is judging you if you show up or don’t.
  66. “Reopen protests” are not a legitimate grassroots movement.
  67. I.C.E. is getting the scrutiny they deserve after trying to block immigrants attending universities.
  68. Disruption from my normal day to day has caused me rekindle my creativity. I’m writing, cooking, and drawing in ways I wouldn’t have in my normal routine.
  69. Life feels extra precious. There’s nothing that quite puts mortality into perspective like the real possibility of your loved ones dying without you even having a chance to say goodbye.
  70. I’ve learned to take breaks from the news as a check on my mental health.
  71. Similarly, social media has been powerful at times and draining at others. Steering clear of it for even a day goes a long way.
  72. I’m comforted by the fact that children everywhere are spending more time with their families than ever. While I get not everyone wants to spend every second with their kids, I’ve seen a lot of stories about people reconnecting with their kids and learning how to better co-exist in their own house.
  73. The same as 53 goes for partners, spouses, and even roommates.
  74. My relationship with video games has improved. Ironically, now that I have all of the time in the world to play games, I’ve gotten better at shutting my computer/console off when I’m spending too much time on it. Personally, this is similar to alcohol above. I used to mindlessly play games because they felt like a good escape from work and life. However, now that home is the escape, I’ve had a chance to reset and analyze the space that games occupy in my life. Because of that, when I game now it feels intentional and fun again.
  75. I forgave my dad.
  76. Watering plants is therapeutic. Watching flowers and leaves perk up after a good spraying from the hose brings a special joy to the heart.
  77. There’s a service (Carvana) that delivers cars straight to your door, which is great for people like me who don’t want to talk to an overly charismatic car dealer.
  78. People seem to be more forgiving. I’ve noticed that in general people are remembering that they’re surrounded by other sentient beings with valid thoughts and feelings.
  79. It’s becoming clearer which companies/organizations actually care about marginalized communities, which ones don’t at all, and which ones are pandering.
  80. Belly laughing on a Skype/Zoom/Teams/Webex call with your coworkers is a heartwarming moment in remote work.
  81. Billion Dollar Sports industries can slow and the world will keep spinning.
  82. Bidets are better than toilet paper.
  83. Productivity is an afterthought when the world is on fire.

More Good Things from 2020

A glimpse at the tip of the iceberg, but here’s a list of some good in these dark times. (Note these aren’t ranked nor comprehensive lists, just a few favorites.)

Music

  1. Charli XCX, How I’m Feeling Now
  2. Hayley Williams, Petals for Armor
  3. Tame Impala, Slow Rush
  4. Fiona Apple, Fetch the Bolt Cutters
  5. Bob Dyland, Rough and Rowdy Ways
  6. Lil Uzi Vert, Eternal Atake
  7. Run the Jewels, RTJ4
  8. Dogleg, Melee
  9. Dreamcatcher, Dystopia
  1. James Blake, You’re Too Precious
  2. Gorillaz, feat. Peter Hook & Georgia, Aries
  3. DaBaby, Rockstar
  4. Lil Baby, Emotionally Scarred
  5. Billie Eilish, No Time To Die
  6. Perfume Genius, On The Floor
  7. Dua Lipa, Physical
  8. Red Velvet, Psycho (Okay, technically 2019 but I have to show some love to K-Pop and I’m Wendy is my bias, so sorry.)
  9. The Weeknd, Blinding Lights

Video Games

  1. Animal Crossing: New Horizons
  2. Doom Eternal
  3. The Last of Us: Part 2
  4. Final Fantasy VII Remake
  5. Half Life: Alyx
  6. Valorant
  7. Persona 5 Royal
  8. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition
  1. CrossCode
  2. Coffee Talk
  3. Ori and the Will of the Wisps
  4. Moving Out
  5. Röki
  6. Ooblets
  7. Weaving Tides
  8. Spiritfarer

Movies

  1. Weathering With You
  2. Uncorked
  3. Becoming
  4. The Half of It
  5. Miss Juneteenth
  6. Never Rarely Sometimes Always
  7. Onward
  8. The Old Guard

Miscellaneous

  1. Same-sex marriage legalized in Costa Rica
  2. The “London Patient” was cured of HIV, making them the second of two in addition to the Berlin Patient
  3. Two cheetah cubs were born through IVF.
  4. The oldest bird fossil (a skull) to date was found. Apparently it looks like a chicken from the front and a bird from the back, which sounds like a Mother Nature’s take on “Business in the front, party in the back.”
  5. Spotify launched daily wellness playlists.
  6. Black Lives Matter is pushing for police reform in the U.S. and making waves around the world.
  7. We might be able to fix the dwindling marine life population.
  8. There’s hope for a particle that eats plastic.
  9. UBI is looking more attractive across the world.
  10. You woke up this morning.

Have something that’s been good for you in 2020? Post it in the responses or email it to devon.wellsa@gmail.com and I will add it.

They/Them | Software Dev | Chronically seeking orange juice | devon.wellsa@gmail.com

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