Nine Things I’m Grateful for During COVID.

When I set out to write this article, my plan was to call it “Ten Things I’m Grateful for,” which has a much nicer ring to it…but I couldn’t come up with ten. Where this damned virus is concerned, it’s not easy to find those silver linings inside the cloud.

Anyway, here goes…

  1. Frontline workers. I know it’s become a cliché to give a shoutout to these folks, but where would we all be without them? The healthcare workers, grocery and retail clerks, restaurant staffs, delivery people, police and emergency personnel, public works employees, cleaning and maintenance crews, and countless others who work tirelessly and put themselves at risk every day…You make it possible for folks like me to pamper ourselves in comfortable self-isolation. To all of you, I am grateful every day.
  2. Zoom. We all complain of video call fatigue, but where would we be without this technology? I’m grateful I’ve been able to continue doing so many of my favorite things on Zoom: weekend visits with our son and his family, hip hop and step aerobics classes, book club meetings, happy hours and wine tastings with friends, writing webinars and critique sessions, and so much more.
  3. Social distancing walks with friends. I’m not talking about distances of six feet: I’m talking 3,000 miles. At a pre-arranged time, I head out with my cellphone and earbuds and take an hour-long “walk” with someone who lives clear across the country, merrily chatting away as we rack up the steps on our Fitbits. I’m grateful to have such a healthy way to keep in close touch with friends and family.
  4. California coastal weather. With our activities so severely curtailed, I appreciate living in a climate where we can occupy ourselves outdoors on a year-round basis…not having to worry about pesky thunderstorms, hurricanes, blizzards, or other extreme weather events spoiling our plans.
  5. Selective slacking. Since I don’t get too close to anyone these days, I freely admit: I haven’t shaved my legs in five months and I’m growing increasingly lazy about makeup, which doesn’t mix well with mask-wearing anyway. From six feet away, who can tell the difference? I assure you I’m not slacking when it comes to personal hygiene or household cleanliness. Gotta keep those germs at bay.
  6. Food preparation. I’m grateful that COVID has given me more time to rediscover the joys of food preparation and cooking. I am no Michelin chef; in fact, I’m the queen of shortcut cooking. But I’ve found it fun and rewarding to invent new recipes and—during the first weeks of the pandemic, when many grocery items were in short supply—to find creative ways to combine the unexpected ingredients my Instacart shopper would deposit on my doorstep.
  7. My agent. I’ve been writing a lot and querying literary agents, fully believing these activities were just time-fillers that would not really lead me on a forward path. I was wrong on both fronts. I finished my second novel and have received encouraging feedback from my beta readers. And I signed with a literary agent this month, for which I am very grateful indeed.
  8. Hamilton. If it weren’t for COVID, we’d have to wait another 16 months or so before having the opportunity to watch the wonderful film version of this masterpiece with the original Broadway cast. Now we can all be in “The Room Where It Happens” while relaxing on our own couches. Lin-Manuel Miranda, I salute you.
  9. Mom. My mother, Muriel, was my best friend and role model. I’m grateful that she taught me to face the trials and tribulations of life with fortitude and humor. Without those lessons, I would be having a much harder time dealing with all the doubts, fears, and anxieties that come with this pandemic, and with the difficult months-long separation from our immediate family.

Mom suffered from Alzheimer’s for the final years of her life, finally succumbing in December 2014. As hard as it was to lose her, I’m thankful she didn’t live to see what’s happening in our world today.

Come to think of it, I guess that’s ten things I’m grateful for after all.

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