My original idea for this post was to take four and five things I learned and talk about them in depth. But then a friend and fellow RVer (Tammy at The Lady is a Tramp) wrote 52 observations she made during the COVID crisis. It was such a kick to read, I thought I’d steal her list formatting idea. I don’t think she will mind because after she read my 2019 List of Firsts she said she was going to steal that idea and do her own list of firsts.

When I started, I wanted to list a dozen but had trouble coming up with them. Isn’t that the way it is? You can think of a bunch when you are showering or out on a walk but sit down at a computer and none come to mind. But, slowly, I added one or two at a time and the list came together.

In the end, I had more than 19 but I trimmed them back because I love the symmetry of a list of 19 about COVID 19.

Please add your thoughts, observations and things you learned during the COVID 19 days in isolation to the comments.

19 COVID 19 Thoughts

Toilet paper stacked in a suitcase.
Who could’ve predicted there would be a run on toilet paper?
  1. Being an introvert and being forced to stay at home are two different things. The first one I love. The second one I do not love. Even though, on the surface, they might look the same.
  2. Eliminating or reducing your exposure to news and social media goes a long way toward good mental health.
  3. No one looks good in a mask. Well, maybe Zorro, Batgirl and Tonto. But that’s it. And they don’t really count because they wear eye masks, not nose and mouth masks.
  4. Social distancing is awkward and can be hard to remember when you are in a conversation with someone you know.
  5. People who aren’t inclined to wash their hands after using the bathroom don’t seem to be any more inspired to do so during a COVID pandemic.
  6. Those who do wash their hands practically undo all that disinfecting good when they put their full palm on the bathroom door to push it open or grab a handle to pull it open. The COVID virus can live on surfaces like doors for minutes, hours, days or, maybe forever; the information remains a moving target depending on the day and the source.  
  7. It’s a good idea to have so much toilet paper stockpiled that it’s actually a line item in your will.
  8. During a pandemic—if Facebook is any indication—making homemade bread is a must. Or learn to make a sourdough starter and then make bread. All of this, of course, is contingent upon finding flour.
  9. When you double the length between trips to the grocery store and you have a small refrigerator, you are much more inclined to buy processed and junk food. On the positive side, these days, there’s tons of vegan processed and junk food. It could also be on the negative side because, at the end of the day, junk food is junk food.
  10. The first time you see rows of empty grocery shelves, it can unsettle you to the core. And when you find one bag of rice left—even though you don’t need rice and you promised yourself you wouldn’t add to the panic—you sneakily add it to your cart. After that, you have to work on forgiving yourself for momentarily being part of the problem.
  11. “Look for the helpers.” Mr. Rogers’ words to live by.
  12. It takes longer to follow the guidelines for bringing grocery store food into the RV than it takes to buy the food in the first place. Bleach wipe everything, leave cans and boxed items in the van for three days. Then a month after you start following those guidelines, the guidelines change and say you don’t have to sanitize the food packaging that comes into your home. See lesson number six on how long the virus lives on various surfaces to better understand. Or less better understand, as the case may be.
  13. Laugh whenever you can. Not sure where to find it? Start with Pluto Living. The talking dog Pluto who went viral and now has an agent (not kidding) made a lot of people smile on days when they felt they had little to smile about.
  14. John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) started a YouTube channel, Some Good News, and posted for eight consecutive weeks (mid-March thru mid-May). It is amazingly positive and tons of his famous friends join in on the action as well as a bunch of ordinary people. It’s much better than regular news regardless of whether your news station of choice is FOX or CNN. All the media outlets could take a lesson from SGN. If you need uplifted, take in an episode or two. I guarantee you will feel better and much more hopeful. And if you are like me, you’ll need a couple of tissues per episode.
  15. Low gas prices are awesome to see at the gas station. Even if your tank remains on “full” because you have no place to travel.
  16. Don’t hold up a sign about the fact you need of a haircut. Instead empower yourself to take action and do it yourself. When we are all in the same boat, DIY haircuts don’t look so bad. And some can be downright hilarious.
  17. You can “unfollow” someone without “unfriending” them. It keeps their nonsense off your news feed which helps tremendously with your efforts to focus on the good.
  18. People and companies are generous. I watched HBO, listened to writing webinars from She Writes, watched Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musicals, learned about photography from Nikon’s online classes and took a class at Yale called The Science of Well Being all while in quarantine. All FREE. I estimate I got more than $500 of services. And that doesn’t include the free songs we watched artists perform regularly. Never doubt the importance of the arts in schools, in communities, in cultures and in our daily lives.
  19. Even in isolation, there is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone and, that in the face of an abnormal situation, your response is perfectly normal. I loved when people started talking about not being productive during a period with nothing but time on their hands. For the first weeks, I really struggled and then when I knew it was normal, I settled into the situation and slowly productivity increased and anxiousness decreased.

Post Script: After writing this post, the powers that be declared that catching the COVID virus from an object is extremely unlikely. Most likely, you’ll catch it from breathing molecules expelled by another person. So…take numbers six and 12 with a grain of salt.

What did you learn during this very unusual time?

Black and white graphic with two halves. Left half has sanitizer pump and reads, "In sanitizer we trust." Right half has a bar of soap and reads, "In soap we trust."
The COVID graphics in this post came from the United Nations.
Graphic of a kid washing his hands with a stop watch showing 20 seconds. Title reads, "Wash your hands often."

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