Remembering What Matters During the Pandemic

Sean Baumstark avatar

by Sean Baumstark |

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As the impact of COVID-19 continues to loom over the globe, our concerns and worries seem to increase as well. What started for many as an issue in some faraway region of the world is now a pandemic felt by all humanity.

I was one of those people hesitant to give the coronavirus the credit or attention it has come to demand. Granted, even with my initial carefree mindset several weeks ago, I still wouldn’t have chosen to party on the beaches of Florida for spring break, nor would I have boarded a cruise ship — and I love cruises!

On the other hand, you won’t find me wearing a face mask as I go outside just to check the mail. I’m not around high-risk individuals, and with California being on lockdown, I’ve yet to identify a need for a mask. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines stating that you should cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.)

I think I can understand both ends of the reaction spectrum — the “come what may” attitude of some college spring breakers and the “not on my watch” of those who have done everything short of wearing a spacesuit.

Wherever you land on that spectrum, if you’re practicing social distancing, or if you live in a region that has mandated sheltering in place, there is plenty to learn from this. There is certainly at least one universal lesson for all of us: Remember what matters.

Aside from our own health and well-being, and of those around us, many of us are probably not worrying about plans for next week. For the most part, our fitness centers are closed, and some of our routine appointments are on hold indefinitely, such as haircuts and dental cleanings. Many of our social hobbies are on hiatus, such as improv performances, trivia nights at the local pub, and even sporting league events.

Instead, we find ourselves spending time on our chores, tackling do-it-yourself projects, going on walks with our dogs or loved ones, and enjoying our backyards or the puzzles we have never opened. We are rationing our time to one weekly trip to the grocery store, if at all, and getting creative in the kitchen. We are watching new shows or enjoying our favorite classics.

Perhaps some of us are writing more, reading more, praying more, or simply dreaming more.

Now, more than ever, we find ourselves actually connecting with the people we care about, more consistently and more deeply. Through the antique form of phone conversations or modern video chats, we’re sharing our lives and our experiences both with our neighbors down the street and across the country. 

We’ve also turned our focus to things we’ve always regarded as important but haven’t necessarily protected in our day-to-day activities. This might include helping our kids with homework, building pillow forts, calling loved ones, journaling, or exercising before we open those Girl Scout cookies.

Without discounting or diminishing the serious concerns that accompany this pandemic, many of us have been given the gift of time. And since we don’t have to juggle the millions of things that fill our calendars each week, now is a good time to evaluate your normal routine and habits. 

For once, “being busy” may not be a good excuse for … anything.


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


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