Let’s be clear: The Coronavirus pandemic is not a joking matter at all. People are dying. People are being released from work and are left in economic desperation. Crisis capitalism has created “entrepreneurs” out of criminals and miscreants, exploiting peoples’ legitimate need for information, supplies, and silver-bullet cures. And the worst is likely still to come.

Still, humor is an important part of our arsenal of coping mechanisms. Gallows humor has been known to blunt the worst part of tragedy. So we can make jokes about sneezing or laughingly remember singing “Ring around the Rosie.” To do this is not to disrespect the suffering but indeed to respect the surviving.

Well, the shit has not really hit the fan yet. Because of this, some naysayers decry the hyperbole in the air. They simply can’t see that hyperbole now is the only way to prevent tragic superlatives later. So, yes, lockdowns and disruption are necessary. And to get through them, we all need help.

But, dear friends, if your health is intact and you are not economically desperate, you can make the best of it. If boredom, cabin fever, ennui, or disgust-at-disruption are your main issues, here are some thoughts on how to deal with them:

1. Remember humor. As for myself, I’ve been hardcore preachy to the family about staying safe- to the point of even alienating them- but we are all still joking about life and fate. We do so understanding that our main role is to stay safe and to help others and that sanity requires humor.

2. Remember books. There is really no reason to be bored as long as you have books in the house. Reconnect with reading. Reconnect with learning. Indeed, silver linings on dark clouds do exist.

3. Remember conversation. People once spoke to each other. Now, quarantined and sequestered, we can speak to each other again. Explore ideas, get to know your family and friends!

4. Remember togetherness. Pandemics force us to think of ourselves not as isolated units but as parts of a fragile collective. Pandemics expose Capitalist/Randian thinking as at best insufficient and at worst downright irresponsible.

Dealing with difficulty is not fun but it can enrich the soul if it forces us to remember the elements of life that animate and connect us as humans.

Romi Mahajan in an Author, Marketer, Investor, and Activist

Originally published in Medium


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