Covid is teaching us what’s important in life

Frank Carrano

It’s been interesting to observe how so many of us have been able to adjust to the many restrictions created by COVID safe practices.

Many couples, for instance, have decided to go forward with wedding plans, but at a safe distance. Each Sunday the New York Times reveals the images of newly married pairs, most of whom have donned wedding finery, but who have had only a few select guests to witness the event. I especially like seeing the couples dressed in their beautiful wedding clothing because it suggests that they understand that this is an important event and so it deserves some special attention, even though there are not a lot of guests to appreciate it.

They seem happy in spite of those constraints. Some may have a party later, during less restrictive times, or some many decide that the simple ceremony was just right. For some, perhaps, these simpler, more intimate celebrations have allowed them to better appreciate the true significance of what they are doing; the joining of hands and the promises they make to each other.

In the Quaker tradition, for instance, couples commit to each other without the need for a presiding official. After all, it’s really the two of them, agreeing to become a couple for life.

Other parties of all kind have either been postponed or outright cancelled. Disappointments, I’m sure, for those milestones that we all look forward to celebrating. Many have figured out how to celebrate through long distance gatherings, and others have just kept it simple and family oriented. Now I enjoy a party as much as anyone, but I have come to recognize how much some of us have focused on the celebration rather than the reason for the celebration, and that’s not necessarily the way it should be.

The pandemic, in its total control over our lives, has given us some opportunities to think more carefully about prioritizing the things we do and the amount of time that we want to devote to doing them. It seems to me that, sometime in the future, when we will have more choices, we might want to think things through before just reverting back to how it was. Someone remarked recently that the pandemic will never truly go away; that some things will probably never be as they were. That’s understandable because we now know that certain behaviors can put us all in a more vulnerable position and so we will need to avoid them.

So how do we put a more positive spin on all of this? How do we figure out how to change some things in our lives without feeling deprived? How do we live with each other in a better organized social environment?

I see a lot of changes that I might actually want to embrace, either because they are more sensible, or because they offer us more opportunities to be truly involved in the things we want to do, rather than the things we feel we need to do.

Keeping things simple resonates with me, especially as I have grown older and have a better life perspective on judging the relative importance of the things that I decide to do. I find myself less interested in carrying on with all the social expectations of a former way of life, and more interested in fostering activities that are meaningful to me now, post pandemic.

I want to try to live more simply; closer to my family and doing the things I care about.

That’s not to say that I don’t still believe in the importance of social interaction, I just want it to be more heartfelt. I’m still impressed with the outpouring of genuine concern that so many expressed over these past months, and I hope that it will be one of the positive by-products of our shared experience. I hope that caring more and doing more for others will be the new normal.

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