Living in the age of the coronavirus is a surreal experience.
Things that we could normally do are forbidden and we've all had to get used to a new normal. We even talk differently now. Phrases and terms like "social distancing," "self-quarantine" and "COVID-19" are commonplace, something not even imaginable a couple of months ago.
While we're living in uncertain times, oddly enough it is also a time to be reminded of the things we should all be thankful for.
As American writer Cynthia Ozick wrote in "Art and Ardor," her essay collection published in 1983, "We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude."
With that spirit in mind here are nine things that we should all appreciate more.
Friends and family - Like many of you, I've been circling the wagons with family and friends. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Since we're spread out across the state, we've all been messaging each other more over the past couple of weeks more than in the past few months. When feeling upset or agitated, family and friends make a wonderful support system.
Work - You should be grateful if the coronavirus hasn't had an impact on your job yet. There are many others who have lost theirs due to new rules regarding congregating in public places. I'm certainly appreciative that I can work from home. It's not quite as cool as I imagined but at least its an option. For so many others, like my son who is a musician, this is a difficult time.
People - We've all seen pictures and videos of those who are hoarding toilet paper or cleaning products. There have even been stories about people getting into fights at grocery stores. Thankfully this is just a small group. The vast majority of people are sticking together and stepping up to help others. Local YouTube stars gave away an ambulance full of toilet paper. The Palmer Lake star is shining once again. School districts are committed to keeping students fed. Almost every day you can find a story about people checking in on neighbors, donating their time or trying to keep up the spirit of others. It's inspiring.
Journalists - I've witnessed first-hand how hard The Gazette newsroom has been working to keep up with the deluge of coronavirus news. It's all hands on deck. Of course, we're not the only ones. Local and national news organizations are in overdrive to get accurate and timely news online, on your TV and on your doorstep as quickly as possible. As Gazette editor Vince Bzdek wrote in a recent column, information is also the best weapon we’ve got against this virus right now. Journalists are working tirelessly to deliver it.
Freedom - Going to a concert, flying overseas for a vacation and even going out to eat at a restaurant are all things we can't do anymore. Spending time with family and friends has to be done through video chat or texts. Simple, routine things we could do whenever we wanted just can't be done. A basic human right has been limited and we all miss it and should have a greater appreciation for what we used to be able to do without restrictions.
Pop culture - With limited options for social interactions people are turning to music, movies, television, video games, sports, books and the internet for both information and a distraction. A number of artists, sports, classes and performances are now being streamed online for free.
The healthcare community - Scientists and healthcare workers are working around the clock to not just take care of those who are sick but also find a cure. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals are putting themselves in harm's way for all of us.
Service workers - Postal workers, truck drivers, maintenance workers, custodial workers, first responders, grocery store employees, restaurant workers and many more are working dilegently to keep society running as normally as possible during a stressful time.
Nature - We're fortunate to live in a region with an abundance of natural beauty. A little exercise in an area with majestic views can be just the thing to lift spirits.