Silver Lining Amidst Tragedy

When tragedy strikes, it’s hard to see the positive... but it’s not impossible.

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Alyssa Rolley

Due to things such as school closing, I’ve had more time to go on long walks with me dog Sophie.

The world has been thrown a curveball with the current COVID-19 pandemic hitting many countries hard. With nonessential shops closing and people self quarantining, many are finding themselves bored sitting around in their houses all day. Some are handling this isolation better than others, but there are many ways to find the silver lining during this unfortunate period of time.

Over the last five to ten years, there has been a growing frustration that families are not spending enough quality time together. With parents working and kids busy with extracurricular activities, it takes a toll on the amount of time available for interactive family time. When both parents work, sometimes that work follows them home and/or they are too drained from the day to have enough energy to spend time socializing with each other and their kids. On top of that, transporting kids to and from actives and sports is time consuming and can create tension.

Since the introduction of the countrywide lockdowns, families have been forced to depart from their usual routines. This has lead to a sudden, yet gradual change in the family dynamic. Kids came home from college, parents and young adults started working from home (or not at all) and suddenly found themselves confined together under one roof.

Alyssa Rolley
My first embroidery project during self quarantine.

So what happened? Families are reconnecting. They are spending more time with each other doing a variety of things that they had done in earlier years, or in some cases, never before. More families are binge watching tv shows, playing games, and going on walks together then ever before. Lock down, in many cases, has created a more positive at home environment because families are rediscovering the value of spending time together.

Another benefit of the stay at home order has been resurrecting old hobbies and discovering new ones. In addition to the impact on hobbies, individuals and small groups are putting more creativity and time into fundamental activities like cooking, baking or the art of outdoor barbecuing.

Cooking for example, either for oneself or two or more people, has inspired people to modify old recipes and try new ones. There’s nothing like putting together a meal from scratch, sampling, and, assuming the results are positively tasty, sharing the recipe with friends and family.

Baking has clearly become popular if the disappearance of flour, baking soda, and eggs from grocery stores is an indicator — it is! There’s nothing like baking homemade fresh cookies, cakes, pies etc. and sharing some of the goodies with friends and neighbors; respecting social distancing of course.

Alyssa Rolley
A homemade face mask made by Linda Van Kirk, my grandma, for her friend.

While not an expert myself, outdoor barbecuing was already a popular culinary artistic expression without the lock down, and then the door was opened for an explosion of cooking steak, chicken, seafood, pork, and veggies – over gas or an open charcoal flame – with all kinds of spice and sauce concoctions. BBQ feasts can be enjoyed outside or in and everybody gathers around for the feast and is expected to be happy.

I interviewed Jeff Dalton, my dad, on his thoughts on the lockdown and how it has affected him. He responded, “I just picked up dinner from Longhorn Steakhouse. The place was packed. The world hasn’t stopped working, it just works differently.” Due to social distancing, for the people who do not wish to cook, restaurant workers will bring your ready-made food out to your car to enjoy back at your house.

Alyssa Rolley
Jeff Dalton, my dad, watercolor painting while watching the ocean waves.

I’ve talked to countless people who have dragged out old hobbies like water color painting, Lego building sets, embroidery, and others. I spoke with Linda Van Kirk, my grandma, about hobbies she’s been starting again. She replied, “I’ve recently talked with a friend who works at Amazon where they are required to wear face masks. Since they are currently unavailable in any stores, I decided I could start sewing again and make face masks for her.” This is great way to help someone else while feeling like you are accomplishing something simultaneously. Personally, I have been teaching myself how to play the ukulele through a variety of available YouTube videos. There has also been a surge in trying new hobbies, which is easy if you search Amazon under hobbies and don’t mind the extra waiting for non-essential items. If you don’t feel like waiting, Pinterest has many DIY projects you can enjoy making from items already in your home.

Alyssa Rolley
Holly Rolley, my mom, taking off on one of her many runs.

I know several people who’ve said they’re taking the necessary steps to get serious about getting in shape and losing weight because they now have the time to do it. I talked to Holly Rolley, my mom, about what she has gained from this lockdown. She said, “Many years ago when I was in high school, I ran track. I loved running. But because of my busy schedule, I just didn’t have time for it. However, with less business during this time, I have found the time to jog around my neighborhood.” The old excuses of work related or other nights out drinking and eating, commuting back and forth to work, going to large group events are on hold so there’s no excuse not to take advantage and become healthier. With the nations gyms closed, getting healthier depends on dusting off the old running shoes, filling up the air in the bike tires, and if they have it, arranging home workout equipment. That said, there’s also been an increase in purchasing new modern machines that are connected to the internet for virtual workouts and/or the traditional smaller versions of the stuff normally found at their gym.

This has been a horrific global tragedy that sadly has killed thousands of people. Hopefully, the world has learned from the mistakes made, the solutions provided and those solutions yet to come. People are resilient, creative and when forced together can find a silver lining through hope, compassion, neighborly helping hands and most of all, families coming together to find renewed companionship, faith in a positive future and binding love.