Pandemic Activities That Makes the Glass Half Full

By Annie Lane

May 12, 2020 4 min read

Dear Annie: In the midst of all the negativity toward the coronavirus pandemic challenges, it is easy to look at the glass as being half empty. In some ways, however, the glass is half full. Here is a partial list:

In the South, where I live, the pandemic happened during excellent weather, encouraging people to get outside and exercise, and to do yardwork. There is less rush-hour traffic, lower gas prices and more time to spend with the immediate family — maybe even away from the TV and video games.

This is also an opportunity to:

1. Clean out closets and drawers.

2. Hand-wash and detail your vehicle.

3. Try all those recipes you have been keeping and never had time to attempt

4. REALLY do spring-cleaning.

5. Plant a garden and grow your own vegetables (since you can't find them in the store anyway!).

6. Catch up with old friends/family via phone, email and snail mail.

7. Write notes to all those people you have wanted to thank personally over the years. (This is an especially isolating time for older people, so a note that you are thinking about them would mean a lot to them.)

It is also an opportunity to remember and truly appreciate all those things we regularly take for granted, such as:

1. Sitting in a nice restaurant, with a tablecloth and cloth napkins, and a candle on the table, and a waiter or waitress to make your meal perfect.

2. Going to a grocery store and actually having options of brands and sizes of various products — not just having to take what is available, if there is anything available.

3. Being able to return items ... for ANY reason

Also, for those of you who are hesitant to meet new people because you don't like to be touched or hugged, 6-foot social distancing makes you the new normal and will allow you to be more comfortable as yourself! Ditto with OCD germophobes! We are all on the same team!

Stretch your imagination to come up with ways to "enjoy" a situation over which you have no control. For instance, Easter is always a time for groups of children to have Easter egg hunts put on by churches, schools, organizations, communities and families. We had a big wooden Easter bunny at our mailbox with a sign directing children to our front porch, where children could get a sanitized bag of jelly beans from an Easter basket.

Graduation is coming up, and most students will not have the traditional ceremony that they have been working hard for, and expecting. Why not have a graduation ceremony at home, complete with caps and gowns (which are probably already paid for anyway) and a homemade diploma (if the real one is not available) presented by the parents who were instrumental in encouraging them to reach this stage in their life. They can also video the entire ceremony to share with family and friends who cannot be there because of social distancing.

We can't ignore the pandemic. At some point, it will be a part of our history. For now we can make the best of the situation, and look for positives. — Pandemic Positives

Dear Pandemic Positives: Yours is a great letter filled with practical tips to help us make lemonade out of a lemon. Thank you.

"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book - featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette - is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]

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