When the coronavirus first started becoming an issue, and they talked about maybe quarantining us, my first thought was, “Not much is going to change for me. I don’t go out all that much anyway.” I feel like some people shared my sentiment, but not everybody. Some people went out and started shopping like they wanted to get on the TV show "Doomsday Preppers." Toilet paper is basically nonexistent, and so is most fresh food.
But the worst part was that I had been wrong, not being able to go out has been awful. It’s not that I want to go see a movie or go bowling right now. I want to see my family. My grandmother lives down the street, but I haven’t been able to sit down and talk with her for almost two weeks now, and I didn’t think these things would matter all that much until I couldn’t do them at all.
My family is very close. Closer than is probably normal to the rest of the world, but it was my normal. When you leave the house, you give everyone a hug and a kiss goodbye. Sometimes, you do this multiple times because you fall into the old trap of “Oh, one more thing…” So now, when I stop by to drop off medicine or pick up something, I have to leave it on the steps and wave goodbye from the other side of a glass door.
But like I’ve seen in most cases, something good almost always comes from something bad. Now, granted, this is worse than bad. People are dying and everyone is scared, and the good things in this situation feel small and insignificant. But I’m a firm believer in looking at the silver lining, so even when this cloud is the size of Texas, I’m still going to look to the outer edges for hope.
And I see hope everywhere lately. We’ve started to really see each other again. Now that we’re forced to stay inside, people are thinking about all the things they wish they could do, and they’re creating new ways to hang out with people. My aunt wanted to have a girls night over Zoom one day, I ate cookies and milk with my grandma over FaceTime, and somebody was just explaining the rules of a bar crawl to me that occurs only in your house. And while these things might have happened in real life, a part of me thinks that without this virus keeping us inside, we never would have thought about how much or how little we talk to the people we love.
I never think twice about giving my grandparents a hug goodbye or kissing my mom on the cheek. It’s something I took for granted, and now that I can’t do those things, they’re all I want to do. So while this virus is horrendous, and it's hurting hundreds of thousands of people, it’s important to look to the things that bring us joy. It’s important to recognize the people you love and tell them you love them. If you focus on the negative things, that will be all you can see. There is so much good still left in the world — seek it out.
HOPE RUTGENS is an Illinois State University graduate who enjoys spending time with her family in Cedar Point. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.