Good morning and good day to you. Once again, I write to you from the confines of a safe place, with freshly washed hands and no one within 6 feet of me. As I look out the window at the fog and relatively light traffic on State Road 12/29, this surreal slow down caused by COVID-19 is starting to feel normal. I’ve been reflecting a lot on the COVID-19 Pandemic and what it means for our community, nation, economy, world, and way of life. I’ve heard many negative statements, but then again, even when times are great, you can always find someone, somewhere, saying something negative. So, I chose to flip a switch in my mind and focus instead on something positive. In a time of uncertainty and worry, what GOOD is out here that I haven’t been noticing? What have I overlooked? In the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Robin Sharma states, “You are what you think about all day long. You are also what you say to yourself all day long.” So today, and each day forward, let’s think about good, worthwhile things. Here is my case for optimism.
Once again, our community is reaching out and supporting one another. When things get tough, humanity seems to pull together to lift each other out of the muck and mud. There is no better example than the support local restaurants have seen over the last three weeks. There are whole Facebook groups, with THOUSANDS of members, dedicated to supporting and patronizing local restaurants whose businesses and employees have been hurt financially. The outpouring of love and food selfies has been huge. It shows the genuine care many folks have for their fellow community members and the businesses that make up our hometowns.
Neighborhoods have created a fun way for kids to get out of the house and still have a good time. I don’t know if you’ve heard of a “Bear Hunt” yet, but there are folks all over the nation putting stuffed Teddy Bears in the windows of their homes, so children and their families can walk around and spot them. If this isn’t caring for your community, I don’t know what is.
Local restaurants are giving out free or reduced meals to Health Care Workers and Emergency Responders. Culvers in Menomonie is right across the street from my office. They have been giving a meal to Health Care Workers on certain days. It’s incredible to see that generosity and appreciation for those workers who are keeping us safe!
There is a house in Menomonie, WI that has set up a little impromptu “Food Table” for those that are having a hard time making ends meet. The table is set up on Main Street and on certain days has been open for any and all to go and grab an item or two if you are in need.
Community members are taking some of their downtime and deciding to volunteer or do community service. I’ve seen several posts on social media of people out picking up trash along roadways or volunteering at local non-profit organizations to make the community a better place.
Many of you know that I am a big runner. On my daily runs, I don’t think I have ever seen so many other people out walking their dogs, walking their spouses ;), taking their kids for a stroll, or just enjoying the outdoors. Now that we’ve had time to relax and pause for a moment, people are taking advantage of the wonderful trails, quiet streets, and nice weather that we’ve been having.
We finally have time to do those things we hadn’t got to yet. Whether it be fun experiences or projects at home, many people finally have the time. I put a new garage door on my house. My wife and I have wanted to canoe from Menomonie to the Dunnville Bottoms for about two years. We finally had a weekend that wasn’t crammed with work and plans, so we did it this weekend. It was lovely. My dad cleaned out his garage. That could be chalked up to a minor miracle!
We’re reconnecting with our families. Like you, I work a lot. I can be distant, I’m sure, because I always have “just one more thing to take care of” or something else on my mind. We’re stuck at home now, and with that comes some very welcome time to be with those we love. Rachel and I have had a lot of fun just being together. No big plans and huge events, just time spent hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. We’re expecting a little girl in June, so this time with “just us” might be the last we get to enjoy for many, many years!
This downtime is a chance to learn a new skill. I’m going to begin my class to get my Real Estate Broker’s license. I have seen many of my friends have begun taking online classes or are learning something that they normally wouldn’t have time for. My wife has almost finished her Medical Coding classes. This “extra time” is an opportunity. Hopefully, you can take advantage of it!
To place this blog on ice, I’ll leave you with another quote: “We live in an age when we have forgotten what life is all about.” This is also from the The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. We are all guilty of this. We are so stressed and busy, that when we do have a down moment, we spend it mindlessly scrolling on our phones. I am no different. Perhaps this is the wake up we need and a chance to “Look Up” and reconnect with ourselves and refocus our priorities. Because before we know it, this Pandemic will be over and life will go back to its busy routines. Now is the time to tweak our mindsets to be a better version of ourselves when we come out on the other side of COVID-19. That’s my case for optimism.
~ Tim Nelson | firstname.lastname@example.org | 715-529-0239