Out and About

Is there anything positive about COVID-19?

Maybe this will be the last time I dwell on the effects of COVID-19. The effect is a big negative anyway. Months ago I started looking at the pandemic through a different lens. Is there anything positive coming out of this pandemic?

A few vaccines are being administered now. The number of people infected and hospitalized is dropping. Finally, we are seeing something positive. However, daily COVID updates still end with a warning to continue following CDC guidelines. And, it is challenging to even make an appointment for the vaccine.

The CDC’s instructions to social distance, wear a mask, sanitize, and wash hands to keep the infections at bay work. We should adopt some precautions like that into our daily lives even after the pandemic is controlled. I am sure observing the guidelines prevented me from catching a cold in 2020. That is a positive effect.

Gov. Kay Ivey’s “shelter in place” order this spring forced us to prepare ourselves to decrease the need to leave our homes. I loaded my freezers and pantry with food. I purchased supplies for projects that have been on my “to do” list for a long time. I made sure I had extra fuel. I prepared to plant a bigger spring garden, learned how to can, and dehydrated more food. The pandemic has made me think about lifestyle changes to help me become more self-contained. I think that is a positive.

If electricity was disrupted for an extended period, what then? A wood burning stove to heat my house and give me a resource for cooking would help. I am thinking again that solar collectors and battery packs need to be a reality instead of just an idea. There are knowledgeable people that design and install solar right here in Blount County. There… positive lifestyle changes spun from COVID-19.

What about the need for water? Since I live on a river, I have water. All I need is a large “gravity” filtration system to purify water for drinking and cooking. Thanks to the internet, I have that now. I am becoming more self-contained… more self-sufficient.

These changes not only make me more self-sufficient, but position me to live more simply. Sure, there is much more I can do to live simply and I am on track to do so.

What other changes can I make to simplify my living? I have started gathering “stuff” to purge. Maybe what I do not need will satisfy some needs of others. Attacking the clutter around me is a positive.

Living more self-sufficiently is not a new idea for me, but the coronavirus prompted me take steps to do it. It is now truly a goal. Self-sufficiency is an all-encompassing positive that COVID spun for me. Writing this column this week reminds me of an old t-shirt I had that simply stated “Live simply so others may simply live.” I need to find another t-shirt like that.