An optimist’s guide to Pandemic survival

By JAMIE MASSENGALE,

Eat Pray Love, and binge. Now, when I say eat, pray, and love, I don’t mean go find yourself while traveling the world. Now is probably not the best time to go to Italy, India, Indonesia, or any countries that start with I. (Ireland and Iceland, I see you.) Oh, but the prices couldn’t be lower.

Ok, don’t freak out. That would be step one of the things you should do during this time of uncertainty.

Hopefully you are showing your humility and reasonability.

During this strange time in history, I want us all to really think about what we actually care about.

I want us all to actually think about what makes us happy in this world.

One of the hardest parts of “social distancing” is being estranged from the ones we really love and care about, but luckily, we all have cellphones and can facetime each other.

I have been keeping up with my family and facetiming every couple of days and I think this has actually made us closer in a way. Closer from a safe distance, you could say.

Although this is probably a bad time to start working on my intimacy issues. Or is it?

Let me just start watching "Love is Blind" on Netflix and see how I feel. Nevermind!

One of the things we can be mindful through this is just how wasteful we have been. This is a great time to consider how precious our resources are and can be a great teaching moment in conservation.

With all the toilet paper people are hoarding, hopefully people will use less and conserve. I don’t think I’ve heard the word bidet so many times in the last few weeks, but I’ve been wanting to buy an attachment for the last few years. Maybe now I’ll give it a shot (pun intended).

I actually saw a suggested ad on Facebook today of a robot garden. How nifty! I could get robots to grow my food! Crazy!

As far as eating goes, many restaurants have now gone to curbside pickup and take-out orders to deal with this pandemic and while change can be hard, I am very happy with the sense of community I am seeing in Hattiesburg.

This community knows how to come together (or safely distance) and overcome.

Love is the thing I have been seeing the most throughout this thing. Although I stay up to date with current affairs, I don’t like to read the comments section of news articles too much, so that helps.

My church has now gone online and I am seeing an outpouring of love in online services. My friends from throughout the Episcopal Diocese are getting together and singing songs and doing daily prayers. I don’t think I’ve been to church so much in a long time.

I have really been enjoying the Live From a Safe Distance Concerts and been trying to share the love when I’m able. The concerts have been a great reminder of what talented musicians and artists we have in Hattiesburg.

I have also watched friends do drunken karaoke, make bread, paint, read children’s books, and so many other creative things that make my heart swell.

Hattiesburg is truly a creative melting pot. I am so happy to see my friends doing these things in these hard times of separation.

So keep washing your hands, watching your friends, and staying in touch (but not touching) with your loved ones. We’re all in this together!

Jamie Massengale is a jack-of-all trades at The PineBelt NEWS and not only assists with our social media and web presence, but also is a member of the ‘Food With Friends’ team from Signature Magazine – and he writes an ocassional column.