Column: There are still things we can celebrate during pandemic

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

There are so many different ways of looking at the pandemic we continue to experience.

If all we did was look at the numbers of new cases of COVID-19 each day, and the number of deaths – especially globally, and in the United States – we could become quite depressed.

There is so much more to this pandemic than the statistics.

There are the many “unintended negative consequences” of the pandemic: the troubling mental-health issues that have risen dramatically as a direct result of current stress and worry; the increase in opioid deaths; the fact that the poor and racial minorities are disproportionately victims of the virus; the foreclosure of countless businesses, with so many more struggling to survive.

Also, students of all ages have missed months of school, and were not getting the social contact they need.

There is much to grieve about this pandemic. But there is also much to celebrate.

Read more: Column: Pandemic requires we be concerned for the health of others

Read more: Column: Time of upheaval also an opportunity for positive change

We are extremely fortunate to be guided through these past months by Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. Her steady, thoughtful and oft-repeated appeals for kindness, calm, patience and keeping safe have kept us on course.

We are daily aware of, and applaud, the heroic work that has been done during these recent months by many across all levels of government, the public and private sectors, front-line and other essential workers. Each of us has adapted, and perhaps, at times, has had to make sacrifices to get to the place we are now, which is about the best in the world.

We have become more flexible and resilient with evolving requirements, and many people have let go of self-interest, for the good of the community at large.

Many of us have had to re-prioritize our lives to some degree; this has led us to rethink what really matters. We have been more open to changing habits during this ongoing upheaval. We can congratulate ourselves for our personal efforts.

During the pandemic, many people have been in closer online contact with extended family and friends. New online services and platforms have enabled people to work at home, to attend virtual meetings, to receive online counselling and other services.

The increase in computer usage has forced rapid upgrades to internet services.

More reasons to celebrate.

Canadian senior citizens received an extra, one-time $300 federal government OAS payment in July. Many retirees who can afford to do so are donating this gift to a charity of their choosing.

The question for them has not been whether to give this money away, but to whom.

Let us balance our woes of this pandemic with some justifiable Wows!

Nan Dickie is an author, speaker and former facilitator of a depression support group in Salmon Arm.

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