John O'Connor
John O’Connor

A recent Wall Street Journal article examines how readers are finding comfort during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some respondents are taking up new hobbies. Others are working on long-term goals. Some are simply feeding Netflix addictions with more enthusiasm. The common thread seems to be that these various activities provide a sort of comfort food for the soul. And the timing could hardly be better.

Let’s face it. Most of us just experienced the most unusual 14 months or so in our lives, whether personally or professionally. And I don’t mean unusual in a fun way.

That is, unless your idea of fun is being isolated from people you care about, losing out on enjoyable activities, or watching your livelihood race toward the Abyss.

It’s a good thing we humans are wired the way we are. Over the centuries, we have learned to adapt to all kinds of natural or human-made disasters. That ability may be the only reason our story is not complete in the fossil record.

My guess is that there is not a person reading this who has not dealt with a COVID-19-related caregiving, service or operational challenge. And it’s probably a safe bet that most of us have had to make notable adjustments affecting our non-work hours as well.

More than likely, you too did something intended to help you get through the pandemic, or at least get through it so far.

For yours truly, it was something I hadn’t done in a while. Namely, taking stock of some questionable lifestyle and spare-time habits. As a result, I am now eating a bit healthier, exercising a bit more and getting more acquainted with some of the great authors of the Western Canon. (I tell you, that William Shakespeare guy has some pretty good insights.)

An accurate summary of my progress in each area might read as follows: Off to a decent start, but still a very long way to go.

It’s unfortunate that it took something so terrible to roust my Common Sense gene. But at least I can take comfort on two fronts. One is that I already have benefitted physically, mentally and perhaps a bit spiritually. A second is that unlike the pandemic, these adjustments might continue for years to come.

As for whatever you did to get through the year that was, I hope it provided some respite, and maybe even made your life a bit better. In the end, that may not be much compensation. But all things considered, a little relief sure beats none at all.