Corona? Delta? Omicron? When will it stop? This virus didn’t seem to get the memo on world crises: they come, they’re bad, and then they’re, uh, over. So we can move on. What happened to that last part in this never-ending recurrence of variations of the same restricting pandemic? Will it never end?
Americans who grew up here were taught to try to make a better life for our children while immigrants from other shores leave behind many friends and family to take advantage of opportunity in the “Land of the Free.” We have all been taught to thrive because this is the country where it is possible. But how do you thrive when masks continue to be required, vaccines never quite finish off the danger of infection, schools can’t catch up, the economy can’t seem to get any traction, and the threat of increasing global temperatures looms larger by the week? Should we give up on thriving altogether?
Well, it depends on what we thrive on. For most of my life, thriving has meant better jobs, higher education, a nicer home, a larger nest egg, more secure investments, and better vacations for the family. What if ‘thriving’ meant something completely different? The truth is, some things have thrived during COVID. Some things are poised to thrive even more as crises turn into realities.
Here’s my list of things that can thrive not AFTER the pandemic but DURING:
Family Relations – Not with relatives or extended family but those bodies that actually inhabit your living space. COVID was THE time to invest in them if you hadn’t already. And how much time did we have to be with family when COVID struck? All the time in the world! What a boon! Even now, while much of public life has returned, we have discovered how much investment can be had in these our closest, physically if not socially, relations.
Community Focus – During COVID, economies didn’t thrive; but communities did. The relationships, the structures, the institutions, and the ways of being together that make up communities had to leap into action, setting a trajectory for greater and greater involvement. Issues like poverty, health, immigration, etc. that lay under the radar of an otherwise picture-perfect suburb were suddenly hoisted to the surface for all to see. These developments bolster community, not detract from it.
Mental Health – It’s not that resources for mental health weren’t available before COVID struck. But just look at the proliferation of articles, podcasts, and just general awareness now. If you are struggling with mental health, you’re no longer an anomaly; you’re in the mainstream! This means the practice of, the development of, the accessing of mental health grows. That’s a good thing!
World Peace – we’ve talked about it, we’ve written sci-fi fiction about it, we’ve hoped for it, but now, maybe for the first time in the history of the earth, we may have a common ‘enemy’: global warming. There might now be enough precedent for superpowers like the US, China, Russia, and the EEU to lay aside their differences even if only temporarily and come together to fight something that threatens us all. Imagine the benefits of that!
Faith – Faith is trust. Trust in something beyond oneself. Whenever our control over our circumstances slips through our grasp, we turn to That which might actually be in control. When we do, our relationship with that Higher Power changes. We become more humble, more sober, more realistic, less controlling, and more resilient.
Yes, we have thrived during COVID. And we can continue to do so. It’s just a matter of how we define thriving. It doesn’t mean we can’t work to solve inflation and supply shortages and trade deficits. It just means that thriving doesn’t have to stop when the economy does. I choose to thrive in ways that calamity cannot take away.