Even as a fairly optimistic person, there haven’t been too many COVID-related instances that have left me with feelings of positivity. I did, as I would assume many have since the disease outbreak, get the opportunity to really take a good, hard look at myself, however. COVID-19 has added stress to our lives, has challenged us to put society before self, and has been one of the few instances that I can recall (especially as a hermit writer who prefers to work alone) where life’s daily tasks involved a certain sense of teamwork with every single person we encounter in a given day. Here are a few things I learned about myself while adapting to the “new normal.”

1. I Can Be a Team Player. Though I am a very happy and gainfully employed writer now, I took aim at this life after realizing that the office life was simply not something I could master, nor ever be truly happy with. I could step back, take a deep breath, and truly say to myself, “You work with really good people” on multiple occasions, and still hate the “work with” part of that sentence. 

Cue COVID.

When the outcome of working together became the health and safety of humankind, rather than a paycheck, I was pleasantly surprised with my own willingness to “play ball.” Even a successful trip to the corner store these days involves my mask and washed hands, as well as everyone’s in said store, and at least in my neck of the woods, I often left those scenarios thinking, “Great work, team!”   

2. I Really Appreciate Healthcare Workers. I’ve always had an unrealistic fear of hospitals and places of the like, simply because a silly voice in my head was telling me they are just full of diseases and I was going to get sick if I went. I can readily admit that those thoughts were irrational for my first few decades on the planet, but the last few months they have actually be justifiable, with no action of my own, of course. With that, I truly view the healthcare workers risking their lives to save others as absolute heroes and when hand shaking is deemed a safe practice, I hope to shake every doctor, nurse, and hospital staff member I ever interact with. 

In addition to their jobs, I can’t even fathom the level of stress management skills nurses have to have to stay sane, and I simply can’t say enough about how much I have come to appreciate them.  

3. Cooking Is Fun. Unfortunately I can’t title this section “I realized I was good at cooking,” but I sure do enjoy it, and some somewhat-edible concoctions have made their way from my kitchen to my table in the last few months. With the evolution of grocery delivery looking like it will hang around after COVID-19 has been put to rest, I like to think I will continue on this journey of self-taught culinary “arts” and maybe even get the confidence to share some with a neighbor or something. As for now, I’ll view the quarantine order as a silver lining that is allowing my newly found cooking habit to get polished up. 

4. Human Interaction Is Important to Me (This One Surprised Me). As cliché as it may be, the saying “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” is probably ringing true for a lot of people with something related to COVID-19 and the things it took away from us that we otherwise took for granted. For me, that is human interaction. Though it was something I often avoided for extended periods, it was not something that I was ever forced to avoid, and I have been quite thankful to be able to utilize my Zoom setup and see some familiar faces every couple of weeks. 

5. Society Still Makes Me Sad. Despite everything I have just written, my core reasons for being a hermit have definitely been reinforced during these stand down periods. Though so many people have come together for the greater good of society, so many have not. I’m a realist, and I believe the new polarizes any instances they know would upset us (for me, the “COVID is a hoax” folk), but nonetheless, the failures and seeming short attention spans of a lot of the nation are, indeed, the reasons for a continued rise in cases and I just wish we could all make this an “us against COVID” situation instead of a left and right issue like so many issues in our country have come to be.