Covid Carryovers

My buddy Tim recently attended a work conference, and he learned the term Covid Carryover. A covid carryover is a lesson/habit we picked up during the pandemic that we intend to carry over into the future. In his context, it was a work-related question, but I think my most obvious covid carryovers are life- and culture-related. Here are my covid carryovers:

Support our community businesses. 

I try to do this, anyway, in a half-hearted way. Now I want to keep dollars local, support the businesses of friends and family (and make friends with local business folks). Why? I think it’s more humane, I think it’s cooler to keep money local, and it’s more fun and fulfilling, as well. I also think it helps us realize the actual cost of things. Cheapest isn’t always best (and isn’t cheapest in the long run, when we consider the ethical, social, environmental, and spiritual costs of never-ending economic expansion and consumerism.)

Spend time with friends.

I miss hanging out with friends. While introspection and solitude are important to me, so are these few and precious relationships that are fulfilling, fun, and force me to be a better person.

Pay attention to what’s happening around me.  

Nationally I think we turned a corner on specific social issues (race, policing, the role of government), and I don’t think we can or should go back to the way things were before. I think we gotta pick a side. But, simultaneously…

Narrow the scope of what I pay attention to. 

I think living through the time of the pandemic has radicalized me in terms of faith, economics, and interest in government. Growing up in a public-service-minded household, I have taken it as axiomatic that we owe our cultural involvement in government, and that part of that was a sort of “dirty-hands” necessity. Government morality is complex by necessity. However, both because of the intractable relationship of big money and power controlling government, I now think our faith obligations and our democracy transcend any political system. To some extent, it’s irrelevant what I do with government so long as I’m fulfilling obligations to the people around me. I have to do that regardless of what form of government or oligarchy controls things. That makes things easier and more demanding. I can’t control government; I can control what I do given what’s in front of me.

Confidence. 

I know myself better after the pandemic than I did before. Probably because of the items above – they forced me to think more critically about the lifestyle I want and the context in which I live. I simultaneously expect more and less from the people and institutions around me. And of myself. The confidence piece may result from more self-knowledge and knowing what I’m capable of coming through and how to navigate challenging times in my way. I have boundaries and strengths unique to me, and that’s a-ok.

What are your covid carryovers?

La Esperantisto

I learned about the Esperanto language while channel surfing my way into a cable tv biography of William Shatner. The Shat starred in a 1960’s horror movie with all of its dialogue in Esperanto, which none of the cast spoke. Kind of weird, but it was the 1960s. The idea of a an artificial language was pretty interesting to me, so I held on to it, always meaning to learn more. That was a decade ago. Thanks to Duolingo, I’m now a couple months in to learning Esperanto!

As far languages go, Esperanto is pretty new – only 130 years old. It’s what’s called a constructed language (aren’t they all), meaning it was artificially devised instead of organically evolved.

Esperanto Flag!

If you know Spanish or Latin, you might recognize Esperanto as a cognate to the Spanish esperar, or “to hope”. That gives you a clue as to why the language was created – it’s named for people who hope. Wikipedia says the language was formed “to foster peace and international understanding.” The founder grew up in area sharply divided by language and culture, and he wanted more for the people of the world. He was interested in unity. (This was only a few years prior to The Great War.)

My understanding is that the language’s founder wanted Esperanto movement to be just about the language itself and nothing more, but going to bat for peace international understanding is itself a movement So much so that the Nazis and the Soviet Union saw esperantoj (Esperanto speakers) as threats. Tyrants don’t like free thought or unity.

I mentioned earlier that I’m learning Esperanto on Duolingo, the popular and free language app. It’s a popular language, and a quick internet search will find subreddits, message boards, Instagram accounts, and other examples of people embracing the language.

Whether or not it ever becomes pervasive, I love the idea that millions of people around the world take the time to learn Esperanto based on hope and unity. Maybe it sounds silly, but it’s my kind of silly. My kind of people.

Pacon!