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.
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?