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The Positive Side of COVID-19Today we are still talking about COVID-19, but we are going to talk about the Blessings.  The world has certainly changed.  It might have permanently changed.  Our world as we knew it might never be the same.  But that doesn’t mean that it’s all bad.

Instead of sitting around, gaining weight, feeling sorry for ourselves because we can't go to a restaurant, we can't see our friends, let's face it, there is a lot that we can't do.  I asked people to tell me what’s happened due to COVID-19, that is positive.  We'll go over some things that people are seeing, right here and now, that is positive coming out of this crisis.

What are the Positive Sides for this COVID-19 Pandemic?

I asked people what a positive thing has happened because of COVID-19 and I got a ton of answers!  I want to go over some of them now with you.

First of all, pollution is down in many parts of the world.  Malika H agreed with me and said that there is now clean air and water for animals.

But not just for animals!  When Les and I went to China, it had a yellow haze.  There are so many people who wore masks there, not necessarily because of illness, but because of pollution.  It was particularly bad when we went.  I remember we had gotten off the plane and we're riding a bus to get to our hotel.

There was a tour director telling us about parts of the city.  I pointed at the moon and said how big and pretty it was.  She looked at me and said, that's not the moon, that's the sun.  Of course I was shocked!  And I wore my mask the entire trip.  Les didn't wear his, and as a result he wound up getting sick on that cruise two years ago.  When you are breathing in super polluted air, you are more likely to get sick.

Nature is Healing Itself

The skies cleared in China as people were on lockdown and then started to haze over again as factories reopened and people got back to work.

We are all aware how polluted our environment has become that slowly depleted our nature. With the pollution from factories, cars, greenhouse emissions, carbon emissions that cause climate change, our planet has been seriously suffering for quite sometime now. As the global pandemic brought our way of life to an almost complete halt, it has given the Earth a chance to breathe just like us.

China isn't the only place where the lock down has made a huge difference in Air pollution.  People in India can see the Himalayas for the first time in decades.

COVID-19 Equals Less Traffic

Several people talked about how much better people seem to be driving, if they are driving at all.  Tim B said that “nobody seems to be driving like a (bleep) on the highway. Beverly D is enjoying less traffic on the road. Joe G said that fewer people are dying in auto accidents.

Mark D, Steve B, and Cheri C are enjoying less traffic! And Steve B also said he can always find parking now.

Ryan mentioned that there are fewer cars on the road so it's easier to ride a bicycle.

I've noticed how many more bicycles are out and about in my neighborhood.  I've seen the regular bikes, tricycles, and recumbent bikes out.  Bicycle use is exploding as people try to stay healthy.  We are lucky in the US in that we are not on total lockdown in most areas.  However, if you are in an area that doesn't allow you to ride your bike, I understand, it would be more difficult.

King JS said that he's happy that there are less people outside.  He must live in a place where you aren't allowed to go outside and exercise like we are.

More Animals are Coming Out

Blake M posted a video that shows 70,000 endangered turtles were able to lay eggs on empty beaches.

Caroline C said that it's so quiet outside that you can actually hear the birds sing.  I love listening to birds sing.  Here in South Carolina we have different birds than in California, so I'm getting used to their songs.

We Still Have Work in this COVID-19 Situation

Ashley B is enjoying being more productive.  She said, “I can actually do something with the hours that are usually wasted at work twiddling my thumbs.”  How awesome is that!  I'm not sure if she is being more productive for her job, or for her personal life, but the main thing is she is being more productive. Tom A likes the fact that his coworkers are joining him in working from home.  So now he's not missing out on any work conversations.

Tim T said he's had a full take of gas for a month!  And Erik L said that his car gets 50 more miles per tank since he's not in traffic.  Erik still has to go to work every day

Dione C said that he'll probably be a remote worker forever.  That's nice if you like working remotely.  I believe that this pandemic has changed the way employers think about remote work.  Many of them have now set up the systems to work remotely.  This could be a big boon to the environment.  Just think, if everyone was able to work from home just one day a week, how much that would reduce traffic, pollution, and stress.

Michael K is enjoying the fact that remote work went viral.

Speaking of that, Wes G said that they've learned two important things.  First of all, his wife is able to work remotely, and second of all, they won't be home schooling!   A lot of parents are learning what a great job our teachers are doing.

Roger H has been enjoying his new 4 day work week.

And Cathy E and Betsy F are grateful that everyone including them was pretty much forced off the hamster wheel.  Now they can press reset and have more gratitude.

COVID-19 Investing

Money and Investing

Garrett D liked the fact that he could now liquidate his 401(k) without penalty to buy some real estate.  I've heard that the penalty will be waived up to a certain amount, but taxes will still be owed.  I hope that Garrett takes the taxes into consideration before he liquidates. It's not just the penalty for people under 59 1/2 that he should consider.

Lorenzo C said that he doesn't have to pay for daycare!  And he's fixing up a lot around the house.

Anders S said that his mortgage rate is down to 1.85!  That is awesome!  He doesn't live in the USA but I have a friend who just refinanced at 2.75% on a VA loan.

Royale S said that her daughter canceled her wedding reception and honeymoon, saved thousands and put the money in their emergency fund!  My nephew is also facing a wedding cancellation in June.  I hope that they follow Royale's family's trend.

We Are Saving a Lot During this COVID-19 Pandemic

One of my colleagues had a wedding a few weeks ago.  They didn't want to call it off, and they were able to have a 10 person wedding.  Where I am now, it's limited to 3 people but they were able to do 10 including family and the minister.  They streamed it on Facebook, had double the people at their wedding, and were interviewed on the local news channel about the event!

Andrew E is saving a boatload of money because he had to cancel a month-long trip to Korea and Japan.

Rebecca H said that she can knock her credit card debt back by twelve hundred bucks!  I'm looking forward to that check, also Rebecca!  If you aren't in the USA, the government here is issuing checks to every individual who earns less than 75 thousand dollars, and for married couples it's 150 thousand dollars.

Closer Family Bond

Kyle H likes the fact that during this COVID-19 outbreak, he's now playing monopoly and Life with the family.  Board games can help you from being bored!  Get it?

Speaking of board games, Jen H said that she started having family board game nights every other night.  Her youngest is now choosing board games over electronics.

Jami S said that she's using technology to connect with family members she's not seen in years, or never met.

Kevin M said he has gotten to know his family, and they're not that bad!

Jeri M agrees.  She said that families are becoming emotionally closer, appreciating each other more, and enjoying things that money can't buy.

Debbie L said that she's reconnected with an estranged brother after almost 8 years.  She now can text him whenever she wants.  That is definitely cool.

Paloma L just had a baby and is able to spend more time with the baby because the work schedule has changed.The Positive Side of COVID-19

Laurie C is enjoying being able to do what she likes to do instead of going to all the kid activities she normally has to go to.

Alina says that parents are learning that the issue is not the teacher.  It's not the school.  It's actually your kid.  I think a lot of parents are learning that these days.  I hope that they remember how difficult this time was once their kids go back to school.  I think people will be more appreciative of teachers now.

Steve B said that we no longer take supermarket employees for granted either!

Lilet M's husband is home now and so she is getting breakfast in bed every day!  Way to go Lilet!

Cynthia B is finding joy in focusing on her mate.

Leslie D is doing the same.  She said that her husband, and she put everything down at the end of the day to really visit and check in to see how each other is doing.

Personal and Health

Some of us are introverts already, and so aren't feeling the pressure as much as some of us extroverts.

Sean B said, I now have a great excuse to not want to be around people.  I'm saving the world!  I feel like Captain America!  Michael K clarified for Sean that it was the 1930 version, and it was his isolationist friend.  I personally haven't watched Captain America.  Maybe I should know that I have a little extra time?

Jami S said that she has time to learn about herself and she's found that she can be home alone on a Saturday night and not watch TV.

Lorena D said that she's getting at least 10,000 steps every day because of the daily walks.  We are blessed in the USA because even on lock down here, we generally get to go outside to exercise.

Betsy S is also walking multiple times a day and is enjoying seeing children playing outside.  Patti P is also enjoying families together on her street.  Parents in the front yard with their kids riding bikes and walking together.  She said that this was the first time in 2 1/2 years that she's seen that.  Patti P said that if businesses start letting their employees telecommute that this quarantine could be the best thing that has happened to the American Family.

Speaking of families, Shane S is loving watching his kids learn to truly depend on each other.

Jackie K took up jogging again, and she's now remembering how much she loves it.  She gave credit to her mentor, Lilly H.

Jessica G said that she's lost 5 pounds in the past two weeks.  But then Gertrude S said she found them!  And Kimberly A said that she's been wearing her tightest pants as a “gentle reminder”.  Then Gertrude said that Whitney H had mentioned the Quarantine 15.  We all have to be careful in what we are eating right now.  We know it can be done because Jessica is doing it though.  Way to go Jessica!

On that note, Katie P is also losing weight.  She's lost two pounds of fat and gained a half pound of muscle.  Her gym is doing remote coaching and cooking meals at home is a game changer when it comes to health and fitness.

Adriana M said that she discovered Dalgona Coffee.  I'd never heard of it before, so I did a search.   Wikipedia said that it's a beverage made by whipping equal portions of instant coffee, sugar, and hot water until it becomes creamy.  Then it's added to cold or hot milk. You cannot make it with fresh coffee or ground coffee beans; you have to use instant coffee.  Honestly, the pictures look like a pudding on top of milk.  I don't think I'll try it because then I'll be in danger of gaining the Quarantine fifteen!

Joanne H said quote, I am taking care of me, something I always forget to do.  Good job, Joanne.  We need you around, so please continue to do that after the pandemic is over.

On that note, Marianne B is sleeping in a lot, and Cindy L is caught up on all her TV programs.

Vicki P made a joke saying that she started cooking again, but wait, I wanted to hear about positive things.  That made me laugh.  Josiah H said he stopped eating out as much.

Kierra B let her husband cook dinner for the first time, and she really enjoyed it.She said she doesn't usually let him in the kitchen, but now that she's working 60 hours a week and he's unemployed, the dynamic is changing.  Way to go, Kierra.  We all have to make sacrifices.  Perhaps I'll sacrifice and let my husband do some cooking.  Wait a minute, that wouldn't work for us because our agreement is that I cook, and he cleans.  Honestly I like it much better that way!

Joe G said that fewer people have died of the flu. I guess this social isolating works on all kinds of viruses!

Christine S is enjoying her daughter's first steps, and Courtney H is enjoying time with her daughter.

Andrea O said that she and her husband are making progress in their garden.  Personally, we have the raised beds put together but have yet to put the garden soil in.  I'm hoping to do that this weekend.

And Mel K is hatching chicks in the incubator.  So cute!

COVID Learning New Things

Learning

Michael K is enjoying the free online courses that exist right now.  He said it's a great time for lifelong learners.  I agree!  If are part of the Rock your Retirement community, you probably know that I've joined some courses that are teaching me to draw with colored pencils.  Although mine aren't free, they are pretty low cost so I feel good about them.  If you're not a member of the Facebook group, go to RockYourRetirement.com/community and join the fun!

Bonding with Friends

Susan W said that her girls' night out was over Zoom, so they were able to invite some out-of-state friends.  She's going to continue to do Zoom calls after this is over.

My friends from a club I'm in did something similar.  We had a Zoom happy hour.  It was fun to see everyone after 3 weeks of being isolated.  We liked it so much we are going to make it a weekly event.  You can get a free zoom account, but keep in mind that if you have over 3 people on the call it will end without warning at the forty-minute mark.

Jean G said she's been appreciating everyone more.  And that she has time to do nothing, something we all need.

There were also some political comments, but I'm going to leave those out.  You understand.  I don't like to get political in person, on Facebook, or on this podcast.

Judy L is celebrating Passover with family and friends in San Diego, San Jose, and Palmer, Alaska.  She said that they were all able to participate and realize that we are all together in this and not alone.  What a great message J

Lastly, I have a category for Other because these didn’t seem to fit anywhere else.

Les, my husband joked that he's saving money on gas, but he's spending it on toilet paper.  That's not true.  You know that we have a bidet so we don't need that much toilet paper!

Steve B said that he has a newfound appreciation for the availability of toilet paper!  That we all learned out to wash our hands, and we now have a better understanding of supply chains.

Russel H said that the country has simultaneously upgraded our understanding of an exponential curve.

Fritz Gilbert, a future guest on the show, said that I must be stalking his computer, because he has an article coming out called “The Positives of a Pandemic”.  His article is coming out on Wed, April 15th, which is actually before this podcast episode will air.  I'll post a link to it in the show notes, but his blog is called the Retirement Manifesto if you want to check it out.  Great minds think alike, Fritz!  Fritz's episode will be coming out early in May, so keep your ears open for that one!

Mentioned in this Episode

New Satellite Video Shows China Pollution Vanishing During COVID-19 Lockdown—Then Coming Back
People in India can see the Himalayas for the first time in ‘decades,' as the lockdown eases air pollution
70,000 Endangered Sea Turtles Lay Eggs on Empty Beaches During Quarantine
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