April 9, 2020 — With this much craziness going on worldwide, affecting absolutely every single person on this planet, it can be daunting to wonder: “but what can I, personally, do to help in the face of this pandemic?” I find myself asking this question of myself often.
We all have our roles to play. If you are in the medical field, your role is clear and obvious: help the sick people get better while not getting sick yourself. If you are an essential worker in an essential business, you get up as usual and go to work and do everything you can to stay well. The majority of the population would never be able to shelter in place without the grocery stores, pharmacies and shipping companies staying open and operating. If you are at home taking care of little kids, you get up every day and do you what you can all day, every single day, without breaks, to keep everyone alive and entertained and safe. If you are working from home, you get up every day and seek to keep your business functioning in the midst of the home chaos, be it from kids, pets, or whatever else that might be. If you are sheltering in place with school-aged children, you get up every day and try to facilitate that loaded concept of “online learning,” and accept that it is what it is. They will be okay and the school year will work itself out. (Driving yourself crazy over it is a waste of precious energy right now)
In this isolation period, there are gifts that come in the form of not racing around on crazy activity-heavy schedules, in and out of our cars, in and out of meetings and sporting events, in and out of social and civic gatherings, in and out of airplanes and hotels. There are gifts that come with being around your family members for more time than you could possibly imagine, (and can present some challenges as well, but ultimately they are your family) and getting re-acquainted. There are gifts that come with more time to smile, wave, and have socially distant conversations with neighbors that you likely had never even seen before mid-March.
And my favorite part is this gift of old-school stuff: more time to play games, cook together, take walks, call friends, craft, color, read, watch movies during the week (wow!), and yes, of course, organize! (I had to throw that in there, gotta be me)
So how can we marry this New Normal with Old School to find small ways to “do our part”? Start really small and close to home. Do you have a relative or beloved family friend in a facility for seniors that is in total lockdown? Is it a tad frustrating to try to call him or her due to hearing issues? Therefore, what is the most old-school thing you can possibly do and will bring untold joy to that relative?
WRITE A LETTER. Put it in an envelope and mail it. Stickers are encouraged!
Does that feel daunting? What about asking your kids to? How about gathering up some of their school pictures (that you always meant to send anyway!) and some drawings and throwing those in an envelope?
Such a small amount of time on your part will warm the heart and soul of someone you love who is unbelievably lonely and isolated.
And make it easy on yourself to spread this love! When you are going to the trouble of getting one card and envelope out, why not get out a few? Go ahead and address and stamp them…that way it won’t be a one-hit-wonder. Clear the obstacles! This is about spreading joy.
And, because you’ve already gotten all the stuff out, why don’t you put a self-addressed stamped envelope and piece of paper in there for him or her to write back to you if that’s a possibility.
COMMUNICATION LEADS TO CONNECTION. And connection is critical right now.
Don’t overthink it, don’t set yourself up to some standard of what the letter’s contents need to be. Simply offer the beautiful, old-school gift of a personalized envelope showing up in your loved one’s mail.
Remember when getting a letter in the mail was the ABSOLUTE BEST?? It never disappointed and usually started a chain of letters back and forth spreading continuous joy and connection. So do it if you can:)