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  • Susie Csorsz Brown

Dear COVID-19

Dear COVID-19,

You are a curious thing, aren't you? Hard to pin down, hard to describe. Apparently, you like to sneak, tip-toeing in, around and amongst people. You've leapfrogged onto more continents than most people get to visit in person, and in such a short period of time! Don't you think you've sight-seen enough? Time to pack it up, methinks.

As little as you are, you're quite the teacher.

You've taught us a great deal, actually.

You've taught us that our busyness is not actually necessary. Hard point, though, as many of us define ourselves by our busyness. How much of our busyness is self-imposed? How much of it is actually necessary?

You've taught us that when we work or school at home, it takes a very deliberate step to get away from the tasks. One has to leave the room, close the computer or just turn away in order to get the much needed (and probably much deserved) break.

You've taught us who our village is, and who we can rely on, either in person or over some form of digital communication.

You've taught us that home really is our shelter. We are most safe when we are at home.

You've taught us who we can share our space with, and we've learned to be less greedy with our areas with. Who are our families? Who can we spend a large amount of our waking hours with and still like them in the end?

You've taught us geography as we track each hot spot, and measure the closeness or distance to our own families, our friends and loved ones.

You've taught us to really talk to our families, to reconnect. You've taught us the value of tuning in, of paying attention.

You've taught us the importance of space and how we have to respect it for others.

You've taught/reminded us about self-sufficiency. I know we are spoiled, but living overseas we often get spoiled in having others do household tasks for us (having household help). We've relearned to do our laundry, change sheets, and do all of the cooking. We clean the house from top to bottom. I've even learned the careful art of balancing pool chemicals.

You've taught us better online and digital etiquette. Telework and elearning is putting us online and communicating in different and lengthier ways.

You've taught us how to be creative again. I don't know if the same is true at other households, but after telework and elearning are done for the day, I claim devices have to be off and we head outside to do whatever. Kids have been inventing games like crazy, we've all been participating, and it's amazing.

Boredom is not always possible when there is a device in your hand. Those devices kill creativity, they kill in-person communication, and they kill connection.

You've taught us to appreciate (anew) the clean skies and notice what crap with which we are filling the air and water. You are teaching us to notice how beautiful Mother Nature all of the time, but especially when we let her stay clean.

You've taught us to intentionally focus on our better health, and to not take for granted every breath we enjoy.

As little as you are, you've caused quite the disturbances and distractions.

Work is not like 'normal' work any longer.

Home is not like 'normal' home.

Outside is not like 'normal' outside.

School is not like 'normal' school.

I hope we remember these lessons when we arrive at our 'new' normal. I have to wonder: what will normal look like after we win? Because we will, you know. Enjoy your time in the proverbial sun, COVID-19. Your time traipsing around the globe is not going to run on indefinitely.

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