The coronavirus isn’t so novel anymore. It was new when it hit us early last year. If you were like me, you thought we’d follow the CDC’s guidance and hunker down, wear our masks, keep our distance, wash our hands, and have that puppy behind us by Memorial Day.
Instead, we’re mourning the deaths of over 335,000 Americans. Over 19 million people in this country have contracted the virus. Worldwide, that number’s over 81 million.
Those numbers could bring even the most optimistic of us down, as will the inability for family and friends to gather safely any time soon. Luckily, I saw the dark cloud coming last spring, and decided to look for the good in a world that has kept me, a lifetime extrovert, largely shut in for the better part of the year.
While I’m in no way suggesting that impacted families should have an easy time with things (my own niece contracted the virus last fall, and scared us all to death), I do think that there’s strength in reshaping the narrative, and not letting COVID-19 run the show.
For example, instead of bemoaning the fact that movie theaters had been shuttered, thereby denying me from a beloved, twice monthly pastime, I decided to bank the hundreds of dollars that my family had been spending at the movies each month. Just before Christmas, I took those savings and had a new flatscreen installed in my great room. CineMike Theatre is now open for business, and that flatscreen’s not just for movies: the Super Bowl is going to look GREAT on it!
And it wasn’t just my movie tab that was shrinking last spring. I quickly surmised that with the bars closed, my cancelled weekly Friday evening happy hour and almost every Sunday afternoon cocktail in downtown Sacramento were fattening my bank account.
Also, I was eating out far less, since take out has never really been my thing. Even after restaurants opened up for dining (being shut down again just two weeks before Christmas), I decided not to be one of the first to head back out to them. Frankly, I was enjoying cooking more from home. My coffers were also being bolstered by the gym membership that I wasn’t spending.
Instead of saving that, too, I decided to escalate the payment of a few bills. I paid off a car last summer, a few months early. With that windfall and the money saved from my restaurant bar and gym tabs, I paid off all credit card debt just before Christmas.
Happy Holidays, indeed!
All kidding aside, this has been a year that’s been unprecedented, at least in most of our lifetimes. Just like the Grinch, COVID-19 tried to stop Christmas from coming. But we, like the inhabitants of Whoville, found that Christmas came. It came just the same.
Like Michael Jackson warbled in The Wiz, COVID, you can’t win!
I’ve always tried to find the good in even the worst of situations, and needless to say, it’s been more difficult that ever during the last year. In lieu of a New Years resolution that you’ll probably abort anyway, I challenge you to find something good in this COVID situation, instead of wallowing in it. It won’t be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, but when we all emerge from this season, it may well be one of the best decisions you ever made.
I’m planning to practice what I preach: now that the coronavirus has improved my financial situation, and while we’re continuing our social distancing and mask wearing, awaiting our turns to take the vaccine and the eventual return to something that resembles a life we called “normal,” I’m going to try to whittle off the rest of my COVID belly before next swimming pool season.
Wish me luck! If COVID can give me that elusive six pack, that’ll beanother “plus” to this virus!