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LETTER: Can COVID-19 be a good thing?

A letter from Jeff MacPherson

Can COVID-19 be a good thing?

Simple answer - YES. It can be!!

Before I share my perspective on this topic, I just want to start with the caveat that I am completely sympathetic and not oblivious to the lives lost or affected by this horrible situation. 

We are currently going through a full-blown global pandemic right now. Hundreds of thousands of people have become infected, with thousands of deaths occurring all around the world. On top of that, there are also a ton of long-term repercussions that will continue to impact us long after the virus becomes stable. I don’t know about you, but with all of this going on I have taken some time to sit back, observe and try to understand what is happening as a whole. What I have realized is that there actually can be some good that can come from COVID-19—in fact, it is already starting to happen. 

After one week of a global lockdown, I’m sure you’ve probably had a conversation with at least one other person about how they’re experiencing cabin fever, are bored or are doing social video conference calls with their friends just to stay ‘busy’.

What about some bigger issues? An increase in couples breaking up or getting divorced, the downward spiral of financial instability and most importantly, the rise of depression, anxiety and loneliness. 

With all of this going on, it really forces you to look at your perspective on life. How we really aren’t as happy as we thought we were and that perhaps there is a bit of ego attached to some of our personalities. 

Let me explain…

At some point in time, you’ve probably been in a relationship with a loved one that didn’t work out. Splitting with a significant other is never easy both for yourself and sometimes everyone around you. However, usually after going through a period of grief, you’ve probably looked back and viewed the situation as a learning experience, something that made you a stronger person. 

There are a lot of unhappy couples. Probably some that are close friends and family. With the spread of COVID-19, these individuals will be spending an extended period of time in the same place and will be forced to figure out their feelings. During this time, they will hopefully realize that they shouldn’t be together and that life is too short. As they say, ‘they’re plenty of fish in the sea’ and it’s important that you find someone who will support you no matter what. When we get stuck in our comfort zone, we become complacent and nothing extraordinary ever comes from this place. 

Financial stability—a huge concern for many of us now, especially if you thought you were one of the fortunate ones who would always be granted ‘security’ from your place of work. At this point, you are probably tossing and turning at night thinking, ‘how am I going to pay my bills?’, ‘how am I going to put food on the table for my family?’ or ‘what am I going to do to support my loved ones?’ As much as these are huge concerns, you need to realize that there are more options out there than you think, however we often don’t see them because our egos and constant need to please others often gets in the way. 

Here are a few companies:

  1. 7-Eleven - 20,000 new jobs announced. Stocking Shelves, cleaning stores, mobile orders

  2. Amazon - 100,000 new jobs announced. Fulfillment / delivery 

  3. Walmart - 150,000 new jobs announced. Checkout, distribution, fulfillment centres

  4. CVS - 50,000 new jobs announced. Delivery, stocking shelves

I completely understand if the above is not your idea of a ‘dream job’, but when the going gets tough these jobs will help you pay the bills, feed and support your family and can be a temporary solution until you find something new. You also never know who you might meet, perhaps a new friend? A significant other? You just never know. Even after reading this if you’re still thinking, ‘I would never work at any of those places’ or ‘people will look at me differently if I do’, starve and I personally don’t feel sorry for you. There are options available, you just need to get out of your own way.

Now for the biggest concern, depression, anxiety and loneliness. 

It really amazes me how many people ARE NOT truly happy with who they are. During times like these people are forced to actually spend time with themselves with no distractions. Multiple hours filled with what ifs and not being able to sleep—things that are probably only going to get harder as the weeks go on. Then we make it more difficult on ourselves by spending countless hours scrolling through our timelines and seeing how miserable the rest of the world is. Sadly, even though this virus is killing people, there’s going to be a huge upsurge in the suicide rate months after everything is back to ‘normal’. 

Studies show that unemployment alone causes over 45,000 suicides a year worldwide. That is not including the suicide rates that occur because of depression, anxiety and loneliness. These are troubling statistics. 

How is this a good thing you’re wondering? At first thought, it’s not. But this time gives us all a level playing field and forces us to find our inner happiness, outside of external sources. Yes, if you spend too much time alone it’s a recipe for disaster, but there are a lot of people who are going through the exact same thing, so you are not as alone as you think you are. But if you spend this whole time comparing yourself and trying to explain how your life is worse than someone else’s, you’re not going to help your situation or get anywhere. This has and will continue to affect us all in some way.  

If you know me personally, or have been following my journey, you know that I always try to remain positive in every situation. I’ve spent the last 5 years working from home, countless hours of these years alone.  I have gone through depression, anxiety and have found myself in situations where I wasn’t sure if I was strong enough to go on. It took me a long time to realize and understand that to truly be happy, you need to be able to be alone. Even with all the negatives around the world right now, I have personally never been happier in my entire life. 

Learn something new, start a journal, meditate and get some exercise. Keeping your mind busy for periods of time throughout the day is the best way to get through any tough situation. If your negative thoughts start creeping back in, think of a positive and replay it over and over again in your mind until you feel grounded. This is not an easy exercise to do, but when you can control your mind, you’ll have true control of your life. 

Now is the time to take action and better your life in some way. I know many people who say all of the things they’d like to do, if they only had the time. Well now you have the time! At the end of the day, I hope that you can be happy, because you deserve to be and if you are truly feeling down, are struggling with uncertainty or need to speak to someone, I am only a message away. 

Lastly, to shed a little more light on everything, our world is going through a global cleanse. Before COVID-19 there were too many people destroying the planet. In fact, our air pollution has been lower than it has been in a long time and wildlife are returning to places where they haven’t been seen in ages. It’s sad that it has taken a global crisis for us to realize the destruction and havoc we were causing—I hope we don’t forget this once all this is over. 

Now is the time to think about yourself and what you want out of life, to be smart and most importantly BE SAFE! If you find any truth in the words above, you’re likely struggling with this and are ready for a change. Here’s the sign that you’ve been waiting for and now it’s up to you to make it happen! 

Ps. To all the nurses, doctors, first responders, volunteers and countless others out there risking their own health for the health of others, you are the real heroes! Thank you for everything you do! 

Written By: Jeff MacPherson

Edited By: Devon Mayor