The Silver Lining in the Dark Cloud

Apr 16, 2021

Guest Blog By Rick Lauber

What was the biggest news story from 2020? Undoubtedly, it was COVID-19 which arrived, quickly proved to be something to be taken very seriously and resulted in people living very differently.  

One key change COVID-19 brought for me was a temporary layoff from work which – in due course – became a permanent layoff. I adhered to the social distancing restrictions and quarantined myself at home for many months.

But remaining stuck at home became tiresome. There were only so many “make-work” projects I could undertake, jigsaw puzzles I could tackle, floors to vacuum, and Youtube videos I could watch to pass the time. While I’m no social butterfly, I yearned for social contact with family and friends and restlessly paced around my home like a caged animal looking for something to do. I learned that writing helped me in various ways:

Writing kept my mind working. The human brain is like a vehicle … it needs both fuel and regular service to keep working. The act of writing got me – and kept me – actively thinking and kept my mental wheels rolling. I remembered how beneficial and fun it was to learn, tuned into webinars on subjects of interest, and registered for on-line classes offered by the local public library.

Writing kept me sane. Throughout a completely abnormal year, writing provided me some normalcy. There were writing jobs to complete and submission deadlines to meet. Without these, I may well have permanently parked myself on my couch and watched more mindless television.

Writing introduced me to new people. While writing is normally a solitary profession, I had the opportunity to meet and interview others (via the telephone or e-mail, mind you) for ongoing newspaper, magazine, and/or blog assignments.

Writing made me feel good. Doing something and creating stories were satisfying to me. While COVID restricted a great deal and – admittedly – resulted in my sometimes questioning my purpose, I was pleased to see what I could still accomplish. I was happy to see I could still produce something of interest and value to others.

2020 will long be remembered as the year of the pandemic. COVID-19 brought with it personal and professional upheaval, unexpected challenges, and considerable losses (of jobs, earnings, business closures, quality of life, and life itself). Writing became my constant in a year of change.

Rick Lauber is an established freelance writer and author of two published caregiving guidebooks (Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide).