Can We Find a Bright Side in Isolation?

by Paige Wolf

I’m on Day 15 of isolation with my husband and two children.

And I won’t lie, it’s been rough. Besides the fear and uncertainty and all the horrible news, it’s the not knowing when this will end. But trying to hold on to the belief that it will end.

This is just something we are going through right now.

If we have no choice but to go through this, what can we learn? Is there anything we can take from this experience to make it feel more valuable, more necessary, less horrible?

It’s not an easy thing to wrap our heads around when death tolls are spiking, the economy is tanking, many of us have lost our jobs or are being called to work in terrifying conditions. Some of us are separated from partners and even from our children. We can’t get to our parents, our siblings, and our friends. We can only touch the people who live in our home. And we are thankful that we have those people to hug – even if they are driving us insane.

OK, so the bright side. Silver linings. It’s really hard to see them through these clouds. But here’s what I’ve got:

  • It’s become perfectly normal and appropriate to call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in years and reconnect. I’m finally having long conversations to catch up with my college friends and talking to my aunts on a daily basis. It feels good to remember that these people are still in our lives and to have the chance to hold them close to our hearts again.
  • I’m amazed by the resiliency and creativity of my children. Because we are in a school district with significant equity issues, remote schooling isn’t a real possibility. So we are making do with piecemeal optional assignments, online learning apps, and loads of screen time. We’ve made up random independent study assignments and watched them be resourceful. Considering they have been isolated from their friends for weeks, I have to say I’m impressed. They are handling this way better than I am!
  • I will never complain about a Snow Day school cancellation again. OMG, laughable!
  • I’m embracing hobbies old and new. I haven’t played my guitar in ages, and certainly haven’t recorded myself performing. But I’m doing that now. Mostly covers, but I am sure I will eventually write something.
  • It’s felt hard some days to keep up my little gratitude journal app (I use 5 Minute Journal App), but I know it’s necessary. And it definitely makes me think about the things I am grateful for, beyond the obvious things like my husband having a stable job and my kids being healthy and home with us. Having a deck to sit outside on a nice day, having a warm cozy comforter, having a sufficient supply of coffee, Facetime for seeing friends and family, flowers blooming despite it all…
  • I know my husband is thankful to not be packing lunches. My kids are thankful for not waking up early. I haven’t yet found anything I don’t miss about the days of yore.
  • Most people are being very kind. My husband met a really nice neighbor walking our dog at night which is something he would have never normally done. My neighbor two doors down literally can’t stop baking and we have been the lucky recipient of cakes and pies. A cousin I haven’t seen in years volunteered to get groceries to my disabled mother-in-law. People are showing their best selves through kindness and compassion (as well as their worst selves through angst, but we are focusing on the GOOD right now!)
  • Our kids will have a hell of a story to tell! If you are able to encourage your kids to journal, this is the best thing they can do so they’ll have a diary to look back on and share with future generations.

What is your silver lining?