What I’ve Learned During Covid-19 (Part Three)

Continuing the trek down the road of life lessons I’ve learned during Covid-19, here is part three!

Quarantine Does Not Mean Stop Being Proactive

I don’t want to go into many details as there are many personal aspects I don’t want to describe here. I do, however, want to discuss the ideas behind being proactive during a time when you can’t leave the house. I am not necessarily describing the need to exercise during quarantine, even though I understand that part is important as well. In this instance, I want to discuss the ideas behind remaining proactive about moving your life forward.

Just because I followed the Safer at Home orders does not mean that life stopped tumbling onward. I am still in the process of job searching with my degree, buying a house, and planning a wedding. However, when quarantine first began, I took it as a time to get some much needed leisure activity done that I missed out on during all those years of studying and working.

We picked up quite a few board games to add to the collection, started some puzzles, and did miscellaneous other activities around the house. I started playing more Nintendo Switch games and delving back into the world of computer gaming. I continued to do household chores as needed, including cleaning and cooking more often.

Unfortunately, I decided to forego all of the adult responsibilities that define moving forward with my family. I did a little bit of job searching, but everywhere was on a hiring freeze, so I put it on the back burner. With much regret, I pretended like we wouldn’t be able to afford a house because of unemployment, not thinking about the fact that jobs would eventually become available once things started opening again. While we understand that venue tours are difficult to accomplish during all of this, my fiancee and I completely put wedding planning on hold.

While all of those activities might be nigh impossible during quarantine, I shouldn’t have ignored them completely. Now that things are opening back up and jobs are becoming available again, I’ve found myself in a situation where I’m frantically scrambling to do all of these activities at once. Instead of slowly working towards them when quarantine began, I put everything on hold. Now I’m paying the ultimate price for my procrastination.

Teachers Are Paramount

I’ve always been one of those people that believes in the importance of teachers and the education system. In fact, I had some teachers that were so wonderful during my time in high school and college that I spent over a year of my college life studying to become a high school history teacher.

Our education system is underfunded, our teachers are underpaid and overworked, and so many people take all of that for granted. Recently, there has been such a large push for people to reopen schools, yet those same people have never once advocated for more funding to go to our schools.

Wisconsin’s governor, Tony Evers, recently announced that $80 million was being put forward to schools to help with remote learning and the materials necessary to help schools affected the most by Covid-19. A good majority of the comments I read on social media regarding that $80 million involved people complaining about how it was going to raise property taxes or come out of the pockets of Wisconsin’s residents.

Please explain to me how that is a bad thing? Instead of using your taxes on irrelevant or unnecessary things, your money is going to help fund schools, teachers, and the students that learn from both.

Outside of my small rant there, I always understood that teachers were one of the essential jobs that don’t receive enough credit. When Covid-19 happened, and we instantly became a mostly home schooled family, I hadn’t really thought about what the teachers must be going through as they adapt to virtual and remote learning.

Now, I finished my degree in an online institution where the professors have been specifically trained to teach online. My fiancee’s daughter’s teacher is a Kindergarten teacher that suddenly had to shift her entire focus from an in-classroom environment and learn to teach a six year old via online learning. That’s not an easy task.

During the remainder of the school year, we went through many tense and exhausting moments while we tried to understand what the teacher was asking for in the assignments. We also struggled getting the kid to understand the things the teacher was asking.

I’m not quite sure how teachers are able to do what they do, and I have nothing but more respect than I already did because of this entire experience.

Our teachers are heroes, and they should be paid commensurate with what they do on a daily basis.

Taking My Privileges for Granted

While not everybody in the world has the ability to go and do as they please with enough money to accomplish such things, I have been privileged enough in my life to do so. If I want to go eat at a restaurant, I can. I am able to drive back to Kansas to see my family, go to the local library to try a new book, go to an escape room for a fun little adventure, go to the park, play basketball at a local court, go swimming at the local pool, go to a board game store with no fear, and a myriad of other activities.

Covid-19 happened and all of that was taken away. Now, I’m not complaining because all of a sudden I don’t have the ability to do all of those things. Alternatively, I’ve come to realize that we never think about those things as wonderful privileges of which we can take advantage.

Unfortunately, it took Covid-19 for me to understand that we don’t know how lucky we are until we don’t have it anymore. Flowers for Algernon has never been more realistic and prominent than it has been during Covid-19.

I was having an interesting discussion with my fiancee a few days ago where we talked about the feeling of going out to eat. Personally, I’ve never been the kind of person that thoroughly enjoyed going out to eat at a restaurant so much that it is an important part of my life. My fiancee feels the same way. We both enjoy going to a restaurant and having a nice meal, but it’s never been an essential activity for us.

Takeout has not been an issue, and it’s actually made life kind of easier as we don’t feel the need to do anything special when we can eat at our own kitchen table or living room couch. Technically, we enjoy that aspect of things more.

There’s still this feeling of loss, though. Not being able to go eat at our favorite little coffee shop has definitely taken a small toll on us. Our inability to visit the local library and browse their books or go to the mall and do a little shopping has been saddening.

These are first world problems at their finest, but that doesn’t make them any less impactful. Again, we have done just fine without all of those options, but at the same time, it’s about keeping ourselves, our loved ones, and those around us safe and healthy. We’ll survive.

We have to stop taking our privileges and abilities for granted. You never know when they might just disappear and leave us in a brand new world.

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