As we’ve all grown fond of saying, we’re living in a challenging and unprecedented time. No person in their right mind would describe these past few months as a “good time.” With all who have suffered from the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19, it’s hard to feel positive. I know well and firsthand how devastating this has been for many people and businesses.
In this time of frustration, I often find myself thinking of what our leaders teach to our students during Bold Earth adventures. In the face of adversity, with circumstances you can’t change, keeping a positive attitude is critical. When your backpack feels heavy and camp seems a hundred miles away, the best course of action is turning your thoughts to the beauty of the landscape around you and conversation with good friends. Over the past few weeks, this is the mindset I’ve been striving to adopt. Last week, I pushed myself to identify five positive things that have come from these challenging months.
Nurturing relationships from afar
Social distancing has forced us all to rely more on technology and less on face-to-face interaction (the exact opposite of what we teach at Bold Earth). Technology does have its place, and being unable to see friends and family in person has fostered a new appreciation for how important those relationships are. Additionally, it’s been easier to connect with people I see less often and inspired me to reach out to friends from past adventures. I know many of our leaders and students have stayed in closer touch.
Appreciation for the outdoors
This feels paradoxical, as most of us have been stuck inside since winter. While that may be true, it’s made me grateful for every walk I get to take. I have a greater appreciation of little moments outside, not just grand adventures. It’s also allowed me to take stock of the amazing adventures I’ve had, and make plans to prioritize future ones.
More time with immediate family
Many of our Bold Earth families are incredibly busy, and daily family interactions aren’t always as meaningful as we’d like. Social distancing has allowed us to spend more quality time with parents and siblings, like having more sit-down meals, playing games, and watching movies together. Bonus: More time with family pets! For me, that’s with our dog Riley.
Increased kinship and empathy
While this pandemic has hardly healed societal ills, I’ve been so inspired by the displays of kindness all over the world. Adversity often brings out the best in people, and I’ve seen examples of that every day. At Bold Earth, we’ve received many encouraging phone calls and emails offering support and kindness. It very much feels like we’re in this together. (Check out this heartwarming video of residents of Boston singing to each other.)
Time to reflect
Even those who are fortunate to continue to work have more free time on our hands. While that’s not always a good thing, it’s given me some time to reflect on what is most important. This has forced me to slow down and take stock of what’s most important to me, instead of rushing from one activity to the next.
With any circumstance beyond my control, I find it’s helpful to take a minute and think about the silver linings. At Bold Earth, the COVID-19 crisis has given us a renewed sense of focus on our mission and the students we serve. We’re acutely aware how much our students have missed this year. Just like you, we are missing doing fun things in beautiful places with great friends. We are still hopeful we’ll be able to run another amazing summer. From our family to yours, stay safe, healthy, and positive!