7 Lessons Learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic
1. Family Matters More Than We Realized Need I say more?
2. We have Unleashed a Revolution in Medicine
“One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned from COVID is that the scientific community working together can do some pretty amazing things.”
—John Cooke, M.D., medical director of the RNA Therapeutics Program at Houston Methodist Hospital’s DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center
3. Self-Care is Not Self-Indulgence
The Adage “Age is Just a Number” has taken on New Meaning “This isn’t just about the pandemic. Your health is directly related to lifestyle — nutrition, physical activity, a healthy weight and restorative sleep.”
—Jacob Mirsky, M.D., primary care physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital Revere HealthCare Center and an instructor at Harvard Medical School
4. Technology has Pushed Us into a New Way of Living
Zoom Meetups have substituted for face-to-face encounters. Face-time with friends, relatives, and family members are fine, but they come with virtual hugs, lacking the tactile quality we all need to stay emotionally healthy.
5. Crowds may Return, but We Will Gather Carefully
6. Loneliness Hurts Health More than we Thought
“What we’ve learned from COVID is that isolation is everyone’s problem. It doesn’t just happen to older adults; it happens to us all.”
—Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University
Author friend Susan Weidener writes about the toll isolation takes on our souls but finds hope for the future in “The Dream Catcher.” Her work in progress is titled A Woman Alone.
7. When Your World Gets Small, Nature Lets You Live Large (Condensed from the AARP Bulletin, March 4, 2021)
“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ornamental Pear Blossoms in our back yard
Birds have made a nest in a begonia basket in our back yard – off the ground, away from predators, delicate watering operation so as not to disturb the birdies!
Which items stood out in this list of seven?
What point would you add?
How have you ventured out?
Coming next: Between Heaven and Mirth: Where Fun is always ON!
Technology has pushed us into a new way of living, for sure, but as you say it lacks the tactile quality. I so want to give people hugs! My friend lost her mother this week, and I wanted to rush down the street and give her a big hug – no can do. It’s difficult for me not to be able to give that to her, and it’s difficult for her not to be able to receive hugs at a time she really needs them.
I’m glad for our mutual visits this morning. I will probably never look at a pothole without imagining a “smile” around it – ha! Thanks for starting the conversation here, Arlene! 🙂
Good morning, Marian! It looks like many of us are looking back at the past year. I have also looked back to my posts of last spring. I agree with your points, and I love the flowers! You know that I love my walks and seeing nature, and that I also miss seeing my family and friends in person. I think, unfortunately, we have also learned in this past year how selfish some people can be and/or how willing to believe misinformation. One other positive thing, technology has also allowed us to see artists and performances that we might never have seen otherwise. And, we see our daughter and her wife in Massachusetts every week on Zoom! So, we actually have seen more of them this year.
Merril, I believe many of us are “looking back” now that spring has sprung and more people are getting vaccinated. Yet, I believe the pandemic is not really over because not all people are willing to receive the vaccine and I’ve heard of variants of the variants now. Though Cliff and I have both gotten our shots, we will continue to wear masks in public.
I enjoy images of your walks in nature and of course the FOOD, which you enjoyed during the Passover season. 🙂
Thank you, Marian. (It’s Merril.) 😏 Yes, rates are going up around here, which is scary.
Merril, my husband and I are experiencing the same thing with our daughter and son-in-law in San Diego. We’re texting and exchanging photos daily, staying in closer touch than before the pandemic. We sure miss seeing them in person, though.
Yes–there are strange pluses, along with the minuses.
A group of us at work had the same (virtual) conversation that overall, we’re more productive and collaborative since the entire division has been working remotely.
Interesting. I’ve heard that about a lot of places.
I didn’t know that other workplaces are experiencing the same thing. That is interesting! Since most of the work I do involves conceptual thinking and writing, in my own home, my mind is free to think and create in a way that it can’t at work.
Liz, “remote collaboration” sounds almost like an oxymoron, but apparently it’s working. 🙂
It works when there is a genuine conversation occurring, not so much when people are talking at each other. Just like in-person collaboration, now that I think about it.
So very true, Liz! Thanks for helping that to happen here. 🙂
You’re welcome, Marian.
Nice to meet you Marian. I liked the blog. I like following your blogs. Hope you do the same to my humble blogs
Hello, Mina. Thank you for visiting my blog today. Do stop by again!
Most welcome Marian, Hope you follow my blogs
These are very pertinent observations about this last year of the virus Marian thanks for sharing them with us. Each is important. Like those ducks launching, may we too launch into a better world. (One photo did not come up ..the braided branch). If I were to add anything, it would be to keep on looking and noting Nature’s beauty as your photos show. It’s always uplifting and a reminder of the magnificence of God’s creation.
A Blessed Easter to you and family.
Hello Susan, lovely to see you here. Have a lovely Easter. At least the beaches have stayed open.
Thanks for the Easter wishes, Susan. I agree, looking UP takes us out of ourselves, especially if we are surrounded by restorative nature, God’s amazing creation! 🙂
Oh, where to start. Yes, our longings and hankerings for family togetherness has been an aching learning for sure. It deeply affects those in isolation–not just nursing homes, but retirement facilities which for reasons of caution have implemented restrictions that feel like prison for the residents. I’ve talked with numerous persons, and not just my mother. It makes me more determined than ever to “age-in-place” as long as we can–much preferable for my husband and I over checking into a facility and program at any early age that must for reasons of life and death have draconian rules during a pandemic.
Aging-in-place is our choice for now too. The pandemic and our status in age have drawn Cliff and me into serious discussions.
The draconian rules you mention here have helped preserve life for those in elder care but what an emotional toll it has taken, especially for those whose loved ones have died this past year and couldn’t touch them in those last moments. And, almost as bad, having to delay or make-do with a digital memorial service.
Thanks for sharing your observations here, Melodie! 🙂
Hi Marian, thank you for sharing these useful observations about the Pandemic. I know those neck and shoulder exercises and also know that Zoom is not a substitute for work meetings. The productivity is down quite a lot at work under these isolated conditions. I love your ducks, a nice video.
Thanks, Robbie, I just replied to your extensive interview with Nonnie of RRBC. Amazing, how you cary on with such grace and productivity. And I know you spend a lot of time on the computer: 3 of them – right? so neck and should exercises are probably a “must” for you. 🙂
I’m having a lot of neck and shoulder pain from being on the computer most of my waking hours. I need to seek out those exercises!
Liz, I also use a posture corrector called ComfyBrace, which you can find online. I think a stand-up computer set-up would be ideal, but I’m not sure how long I would last in a vertical position – ha!
Thanks for stopping by, Liz! 🙂
A great list. We have learned a lot over the past year. We also learned that one is never too old to learn new things. Having lost my dear mom and not being able to be there, for her, and the family was a tough one for me. But I learned we can manage and that people are so kind.
My heart aches for you, losing your dear Mother recently – and so far away. Yes, we can manage, but the restrictions on family gatherings to pay tribute and share the grief is such a poignant loss during this time. My sincere condolences, Darlene! ((( )))
Thanks, Marian. xo
All of the observations you mentioned are important, Marian. Self-Care is Not Self-Indulgence is so true. I hit all of the marks with the exception of restorative sleep, but it’s not from a lack of trying. My mind seems to race in the wee hours of the morning. Like you, we’re fortunate to watch the daily duck launches in our backyard. I’m looking forward to the gosling march. Have a wonderful Easter.
We authors share some quirks, Jill. When my mind raced early this morning, I got up and painted my nails and did some reading. Fortunately, I was able to go back to sleep.
May you enjoy a wonderful Easter and, very soon, a gosling march. Thanks, Jill! 🙂
#7 has been the saving grace for my husband and me. We head out in the car for a nature drive/walk and take photos to inspire my writing and blog posts, texting them to our daughter and son-in-law as we go. Two weeks ago, we drove up to the county in Vermont where we grew up, and I was thrilled to find the river in the stage after ice-out. I’d forgotten all about that part of nature’s cycle in northern Vermont.
Liz, me too! My world would feel much more confining without the expanse of nature. Besides, the exercise helps me physically and mentally. I’m glad you visited Vermont at just the right time to observe a “forgotten” stage of nature. Thanks so much for the follow-up chat here. 🙂
You’re welcome, Marian!
This post will make a great social history of the pandemic for you and your community, Marian. Loved it. I’ll chime in on the impact Covid might have on the tug-of-war people go through when trying to decide on a strategy of aging-in-place vs. CCRC.
I came down on the other side of the decision from you and Melodie, above. Partly, I have the example of a 94-year-old mother who is still living in independent living and has not complained once about the restrictions imposed. Luckily, my sister was able to be a designated “caregiver” and could visit one day per week while following strict protocols. The other issue for us was whether to go into an apartment (our original plan) or a carriage house. During lock-down, we were much less certain that we wanted to be in an apartment. The rules were tighter there due to density. I think I see the subject of a blog post here. 🙂 Thanks!
I look forward to your developing another aspect of the tug-of-war you mention on your own blog. Although you will miss the purple mountains of Virginia, I see that you are gaining much more, especially closeness to family. So much to take in these days in our elder years . . . pondering transitions and new vistas.
We feel satisfied with our decision to move to a one-story floor plan, which we can navigate easily now compared to the tri-level we left. Our daughter lives just 9 blocks away and our son a few miles south of us. Our house now is large enough for one of the families to move in with the one of us “left behind,” if that is still an option. Our grandchildren are all in their teens; soon our kids will be empty-nesters.
Your reply made me think of the Amish “dodie house,” where three generations lived within easy reach of one another. When Aunt Ruthie lived at Landis Homes, I saw Amish care-givers, but not many Amish residents, if any.
I know you are in the throes of curating your “stuff” now and thought about our own move nearly 5 years ago. It was hard to part with books, but I gave so many away, including an English Lit book with copious notes, donated to a scholarly young man who was thrilled with the keepsake. Just a look back: https://marianbeaman.com/2016/08/31/where-have-all-my-books-gone/
Thanks for all this in the midst of prep for your momentous move, Shirley! 🙂
By the way, I really like your updated profile photo, keeping the diagonal pose which stands out.
I agree with all of them. I have attended some conferences via Zoom that I would not have had access to had it not been for the pandemic. I have played it safe, however, when it comes to venturing out. My church has opened to limited capacity. I have attended twice and mostly watch livestreams. I have not yet taken the vaccine.
Love the duck launch! I see the geese launching in my neck of the woods.
I hear you counting your blessings, L. Marie. Our church attendance has been sort of hybrid too: online viewing and attending with masks and limited capacity.
We will never forget this year and the lessons learned. Although we didn’t have a choice about the onslaught of the virus, we can make adaptations as you have: taking advantage of Zoom meets and enjoying the geese flights in your neck of the woods. Thanks for checking in today. 🙂
Great topic and lovely flowers and your backyard. This Covid has definitely brought us closer to God. I found an app that ring church bells at 8:00 am at 12:00 and at 8:00 pm it gives me a verse a devotion and a podcast morning and evening and a quiz and bible reading of which a get point in all activities to grow my digital garden. I love it. But having served Covid both Pablo and I had it. We stayed home and cared for each other. I was hit harder than Pablo he took care of me the children would bring us food to the door and leave. I praise God we live in an apt and on the third floor because I could enjoy nature from up here. We got on my birthday. Yes Pablo and I decided to stay home and have someone come and care for us here.
I visit my mother once a week to cook for her and my brother on dialysis take them whatever they need or want. Our bible study women get together on zoom yesterday I hosted at my home it was so nice to enjoy sharing a meal and teaching them to make almond milk and taste the almond cake I made from the plump of the almonds. I praise God for the gift of cooking.
I’m glad you recovered from the Virus, both you and Pablo. I have friends whose loved ones were hospitalized and now are suffering after-affects. I’m glad your children and grands responded to your needs. But of course they would: you have close family ties.
Mother would love to hear about your practicing hospitality to your Bible study group. Almonds are healthy nuts. I keep them in my cupboard all the time, along with walnuts.
I would love to know more about the app with church bells and a devotional. The verse “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee” comes to mind.
Thanks for the cheer you are sending here today, Gloria! 🙂
I agree with all of your points, Marian. One positive thing that has come out from all of this is my brothers and I (I’m the youngest of four) now Zoom together each month. We ended up spread out in each of the four continental time zones. I look forward to my monthly meetings that often last a couple of hours as we catch up together.
Pete, I know several families who have meet-ups more often on Zoom than they would if they relied only on air travel or a road trip. My son-in-law in Florida “meets” with his two brothers, one in the Pacific Northwest.
It’s always good to hear from you! 🙂
All valid points especially for me and crowds I am reluctant to take that chance yet as there is gov vacination programme under way here for the general public we can’t even pay for the vaccine there isn’t any available…although covid is non existent where we live I am still worried that maybe someone may bring it here.
Greetings to you in Thailand. I’m glad you replied here as I (and many other readers) have very little knowledge about what is happening in your part of the world. I am sure you are careful about contact, and I am so happy you don’t have COVID in your area.
Stay safe, Carol, and keep on cookin’! 🙂
Marian — I’m happy that technology has advanced enough that we can meet virtually. But as you said, it doesn’t hold a candle to meeting in person.
Item #7 stood out the most for me: “When Your World Gets Small, Nature Lets You Live Large.” If I couldn’t mingle with nature every day, I think I’d shrivel up and blow away.
Last week I got my first of two vaccinations. Regardless, I don’t plan on going maskless in public anytime soon.
The lines you quoted are from the AARP article, which I referenced. I think that sentiment captures my feeling as well. Like you, I’d be fit for Berserkistan without the nurture of nature.
Cliff and I both have had our vaccinations, but we too wear masks in public. In my city, masks are required to enter stores.
Thanks for posting here, Laurie. I see interest building, building as you market you new book, way before pub date, a smart move. Not surprising because you are one smart cookie! 🙂
Thanks for reading the post, the comments and chiming in, Jack! 🙂
There is soooo much to look back at and be grateful for. We made it and whatever is ahead we can handle. For me having a daily creative practice and walks out in nature have really helped me. I haven’t seen a daughter or grandkids in 18 months and look forward to hug time sometime in the future when they’ve all had their shots.
My go-to’s align with yours pretty well: writing and walks. We’ve had our shots and our children have too. Next are the grands — and then we can safely HUG.
Huge hugs back to you, Joan, virtually of course. Thanks! ((( )))
I completely immersed myself into my art and language lessons… both I was told that I have a gift for but never truly expanded till covid happened….
Hello, Vivian, and welcome! I did a bit of poking around in your blog before responding here. You a quite ambitious to blog every day. I couldn’t keep that up. One of your recent posts that caught my eye was Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist, a book I remember reading some time ago. Great review!
Thanks for visiting. Do come back soon! 🙂
Thank you for your visit!! Blogging is like my journal actually and I love to share what I do daily:)
One of the things that I have learned in the Pandemic is that I don’t have to let it define me. I don’t have to look at every news broadcast every day and that the peace that I feel within me now will pass when people start crowding my life again. Right now, I do my best to enjoy every minute of it because I know this too will pass.
What a balanced approach, Pat. You truly have your head on straight – ha! It is helpful to be grounded in our faith, knowing we are pilgrims and sojourners on this earth. Indeed, this too shall pass.
Like you, I take news in small bits, just enough to keep me informed.
Shalom to you as well and Happy Easter!
Thank you, Marian, for featuring me. I blogged on Women’s Writing Circle about the pandemic during 2020, including solitude and nature, the solace of a friend’s phone call, church services relegated to Facebook and Bible studies to Zoom. Anyway, technology is a double-edged sword. Unfortunately, technology in the form of Google, took down my site, Women’s Writing Circle, after 11 years for reasons that I’m still struggling to understand…probably, because Blogger is an old platform and they didn’t want to be bothered, so from what I gather from IT friends, Google initiated changes that left people like me on the sidelines floundering ..end result, taking my domain offline by challenging my identity and making it impossible to prove that I was sole admin. So, I started my new site on WordPress, Along the Writer’s Way. Your shout-out is so very helpful as I start over, trying to gain new readers. The new site, like the old, continues to focus on reflections about women and writing and finding our voice through writing.
Luckily for me, my grown, unmarried sons live nearby and I saw them more (in person) during the pandemic than at any other time! How strange that these unexpected times resulted in some unexpected blessings AND new challenges.
My pleasure, Susan.
I did not know the back story of your blog. In advance of your new website, I tried to find the posts about isolation and coping with the pandemic as you described. The search was fruitless; now I understand why. So sorry to hear this.
But now you are starting out again with a fresh look and new perspective. I’m happy to be a small part of the promotion. Thanks again for such lovely writing, which I’m most happy to share. 🙂
They are all very valid points, Marian, but number 6 resonates more with me than any of the others. Not being able to see my only son, who only lives down the road, and meet up with my friends has really had a very negative effect on my wellbeing. I just can’t wait for all this to be over. I did find solace in Nature, gardening, bird watching and spending time with my dog.
Fatima, I felt sad for you as I read about the restriction on seeing your son. I hope you will have a reunion very soon. I wonder if you could Zoom as a connection.
In the meantime, I’m glad you find solace in the nurture of nature and your furry doggie. ((( )))
Yes, we Facetime sometimes and speak on the phone every week. We are also hoping to meet outdoors and have an icecream or something when catering facilities open on 12th April. Not long now! 😉
Umm, I’m so happy for you, Fatima! April 12 will feel like Christmas Day for you and your family! 🙂
My favorite is the one about family! I would add that having a relationship with God stood out to me. Our family experienced tremendous loss during the pandemic and if we didn’t have our faith it would have been so much harder to get through. A positive impact of the pandemic is it helped me to stay focused on my career. After all, I am a writer so nothing much changed because I live my life through zoom conferences and the wonderful wonders of technology!
By the way, every time I try to list my website it says I don’t have a URL so I’m listing it here:
You are a survivor, Katherine, as I am acquainted with some of your losses, especially of your brother and your mother.
Your website is working from my end, and I have left a comment on your post this week.
Sending hugs! ((( )))
Blessings in disguise! Great lessons–how blessed we are, Marian.
As human with limitations, we live life forward and understand it (partially) in retrospect. Without minimizing the horror of a huge death toll and isolation from loved ones, we count our blessings indeed. Thank you, Bette, for the reminder, and Happy Easter to you!
Your flower photos are so lovely, Marian. We are just beginning to feel signs of spring. The geese are back on the lake, walking gingerly as the ice is not all gone yet. Hardy and I just got our Covid shot. We kind of felt like the geese on the ice until now, but are relieved to be immunized and feel fine. I will write about it in my upcoming blog post.
Walking like geese on an icy pond is a good metaphor for the unease we have felt this past year. I’m glad you and Hardy have gotten your shots. I look forward to your April blog post, Elfrieda. Thank you!
I am waiting for the day we can kiss, hug, laugh, eat together and be sitting closer to one another. 🙁 Some people call it the new normal and infuriates me when I hear it. This is not a healthy way of living and should be banned.
It can’t come soon enough for me either – the “normal-normal,” not an abbreviated form.
Brindiamo alla vita, Valentina. I hope that translates as “Here’s to life”!
Thanks for stopping by to join in the conversation. 🙂 and a virtual hug, the best I can do here: (((( ))))
Yes, brindiamo alla vita, you said it right. Hugs back at you. 😀🤗
What a comprehensive and well-thought out list, Marian. I think the thing that strikes me the most is the price we’ve all had to pay-physically snd emotionally-for the isolation and loneliness. We’ve started to venture out slowly —seeing family and eating out. Not without caution I might add. But oh how wonderful to know I can safely hug my grandkids!
Thank you, Kathy. I did reference the Jan-Feb. AARP article and added my own embellishments, so that was my inspiration. You know how it goes.
Yes, the pandemic restrictions were horrible, but now we see the light at the end of the tunnel – a good thing! I’m happy to see you are able to leave the house, eat out, and engage with family again. With caution, as we are doing too. 🙂
I like your realization that when our immediate world narrows, nature looms large and inviting.
I’d add that learning and adhering to your own personal boundaries has taken on a whole new significance during the pandemic. To stay safe, one must.
I’ve not ventured out. Still waiting to get my vaccinations.
If you haven’t gotten the vaccine yet, maybe it’s because you are too young, not in the elderly age group as many of us are. Even though husby and I have gotten the vaccine, we are still cautious and wear masks in public.
You’ll probably let us know when your turn comes on your blog, a mighty popular one, I might add. What an enthusiastic fan base you have. So proud of you, Ally Bean! 🙂
You flatter me about my age and my blog. I’m old enough now to get the vaccine, but appointments are difficult to come by. As for my blog, I’m as surprised as anyone about how it’s grown over this last year. Pleased, but my goodness to the gracious, what a turn of events. 😳
🙂 Bless you!
A great list, and each one I’d add “not necessarily in this order.” Actually each one could be Number One! I think for me, #2 really stood out, because I haven’t heard enough people saying “this vaccine is a miracle!” Because, truly, for scientists/medical biologists and phrama doctors to create this agent against Covid is almost beyond belief. If someone was writing a book about a pandemic – fiction – and had a vaccine in a year, it would be called “science fiction” and “not believable.”
I totally agree with you, Pam!
Yes, I too don’t believe there has been enough BUZZ about the Miracle of the Vaccine. My SIL who works in research and development at J & J says it usually takes 5-6 years or more to develop a medication. This was a Warp Speed event because scientists across countries and cultures cooperated, for once. Maybe because people were so desperate for a “cure” they didn’t think to thank/be amazed. I would equate the vaccine to food for the starving, water for the parched.
Thanks SO MUCH for weighing in today. I imagine you are busy birthing your next book baby these days. Hoorah! 😀
Thank you, Marian. I love all 7 and hope I’ve learned the same. I begin with family since my son made the decision just before the pandemic to stay in this area and buy land here. It took forever to finalize the deal because the owner lives in France, but it’s done. What a gift to have a son in my neighborhood. The dogs have given me snuggles when humans couldn’t and they’ve also kept me moving in all weather, no matter how frigid or hot. My life circumstances and crazy hearing had already taught me the comfort and joy of being alone. Both my sons are vaccinated now and me, too. When we get together in May I’m ready for lots of hugs from my NC son since I haven’t seen him since October. We didn’t want to take the risk until all were vaccinated.
I agree with you and Pam about the vaccine. Yes, it’s a miracle and it may be a temporary stop-gap measure and there’s so much we don’t know, but I’m glad for short-term help in keeping covid from hospitalizing and killing people. It makes me sad the vaccines and masks became a political issue and I remember how that wasn’t the case when I got a polio vaccine as a child and how happy I was more recently to get a shingles vaccine after a friend suffered through shingles. I pray we can come together in mutual community again because the one sad thing I’ve learned is how deeply divided we remain.
I’m happy to hear you again expressing gratitude for the way things have “shaken out” regarding your son’s acquiring property, which I didn’t know until now had a French owner previously. We recently divested ourselves of some rental property, which makes managing our lives much easier as we edge closer to the next decade. I remember my Grandma L’s relief when she could turn her house and farm machinery business over to my aunt and dad. Her remark, “I’m glad to get rid of that stuff,” referring probably to the responsibility.
Yes, I was happy to get the Salk vaccine in grade school, and I don’t remember anyone resisting getting the shot. The only thing I do remember is little Johnny K. got polio just before he could get the vaccine; everyone felt so sad about it. I too have gotten a shingles shot and every year get “flu” and pneumonia boosters.
Have a wonderful weekend – and keep looking forward to the May reunion with your son, just around the corner, Elaine! 🙂
I love all those beautiful flowers, Marian, and look forward to spotting some myself this spring. Here in the desert (currently in Arizona), some cacti are starting to bloom, but that burst of color is something from the more moderate climates. Did you know we’ve been having temps in the lower nineties? Crazy…
We have been fortunate that our lifestyle has allowed us to safely socialize in places with lower populations, like Baja California, with like-minded and careful nomads like ourselves. Technology has always been important to me since I’ve been away from my childhood friends and family for almost two decades. Email, social media, and video calls have been the way to stay in touch for me since their invention.
So, Liesbet, you’ve moved from Baja California to Arizona now, wending your way east a bit. This morning our spot in Florida had a low temp of high 40s, but I think Easter will be in the 70s. The kids are coming over for the first time in my kitchen for ages. I bought the groceries and they are doing prep and clean-up, so they say. ((( )))