Editorial: Puzzles, bicycles and flour? America’s isolation memories in the making

Dallas Morning News

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve mourned deaths that have come too soon, had our hearts drop at the sound of wheezing or shaky breath from a loved one. We’ve had our workspaces move from offices to the confines of our homes; we’ve had our hours cut, our work put on hold, our jobs stripped from us. Our faces have twisted at the sight of yet another bill we can’t afford.

And yet, despite the confusion, pain and fear we’ve endured these last few months, puzzles have gone flying off the shelves, bicycles have become harder to find and flour is in low stock because of high demand. That’s a testament to a brighter side that’s grown from the pandemic: People have had the opportunity to take more time for themselves and their families.

Before the virus sent us home to self-isolate, it was typical for families to get lost in the flurry of work, school, household responsibilities and extracurriculars that kept us always on the go. But it’s that time away from some of those responsibilities — or at least the need to drive to get to them — that has given us the ability to take time and to create memories by slowing down and appreciating things we might not otherwise get to enjoy.

College students and young adults have returned home to their parents for perhaps the longest period of time in years, something that some families didn’t think would happen again. Kids aren’t spending every free moment at after-school activities or with friends. For those for whom life has hit somewhat of a standstill, this has served as an unexpected chance to rekindle relationships. It’s encouraging to see items such as puzzles and bicycles sell out because it indicates that people are taking the time to step away from their usual routines.

This is a good reminder that there is more to life than work and responsibility. And we must remember that even as the line between work and home draws thin now that they both claim the same base, we must make time to take advantage of what’s sitting right in front of us.

When we look back on our lives, we won’t remember the extra hours we spent in the office furiously typing a few last emails before heading home. We won’t remember the busy schedules that kept us from sitting down to have a meal with our households or from partaking in simple conversation. We’ll remember the times we spent with loved ones and the quality of the relationships we’ve built.

So take the time to complete a puzzle and go for a bike ride with a family member. Take the time to break bread. Take the time to play a board game or play catch at the park. Have a conversation about aspirations or reflections.

The memories are there for the making.


Dallas Morning News

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