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Sandor Dargo
Sandor Dargo

Posted on • Originally published at sandordargo.com

Gratitude for COVID-19

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We hear about the importance of gratitude at almost every corner of the internet where there is the tiniest website dedicated to self-help. In order to be more satisfied, happier with your life, you must practice gratitude. You have to actively think about events, people, or even physical objects that you are grateful for.

But gratitude is not a new kid on the block. It's not a novel whim.

The 19th-century American philosopher and author, Ralph Waldo Emerson already wrote about the importance of it.

"Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude."

But the 19th century is almost like the day before yesterday. It might seem far away in the past, but it's still close enough to easily relate to it, to understand how certain events and decisions still actively influence our lives today.

Let's go even more back in time and make a big jump to the 2nd century AD, to the Roman Empire. The famous philosopher emperor Marcus Aurelius already wrote about the importance of gratitude in his journal:

"All you need are these: certainty of judgment in the present moment; action for the common good in the present moment; and an attitude of gratitude in the present moment for anything that comes your way."

For anything that comes your way. Stop for a second and read is slowly. For. Anything. That. Comes. Your. Way. Yes, even including the hardships. What seems a barrier, so often it's the way to go. If you want an easy life, you have to make difficult decisions and you have to remove some rocks of the way. The obstacle is the way.

These thoughts hit me like a thunderbolt while I was reading an e-mail about a postponed event where I was supposed to speak. Though these thoughts have been around for quite some time, all became crystal clear at one single moment of light.

These are difficult times. Thousands of people - luckily with a relatively low mortality rate and mostly with prior diseases - are dying. Millions of people are losing their jobs, losing their only income to feed their families. These people including a lot of developers are making the biggest sacrifices. Even more people - luckily we are even more - try to balance our daily lives between parenting, homeschooling, and work.

What can you be grateful for in these moments? Honestly. Don't write down something just because you think that's expected. What can you really be happy about? And let's skip the parts about being still alive.

I'm grateful that I could try fully remote work for about a month now and who knows for how much time longer. For a long time I've been thinking that this is the future, this is the way to go and that actually I could easily get used to it. But I never tried. This is something I couldn't have tried in this form and so easily without the coronavirus.

I can't really say that I'm grateful that I had to cancel my vacation that I have been planning for months and waited for years. Not even close to that. Including more than a week that I must take before the end of May or I lose it. Well. I can take those days and I can either go to quarantine or wander around the hills below.

A nice place to go in confinement

But it also opened up an opportunity to talk at an internal event in my company which is broadcasted to all our offices worldwide. I'll talk about Undefined Behaviour in the C++ Standard Template Library.

For this I'm happy, and I would have had to turn the opportunity down without COVID-19.
Why is this important to me? Because eventually either online or later the year, I'll present this topic at C++ On Sea. I just got a great chance to practice my talk.

I embarrassingly laugh when people talk about how much time they have because of the virus. With my wife, we feel that we have less. Parenting is a full-time job and it's good like that. But not having schools makes it even more difficult and we have less time for ourselves. But I'm really happy that I can spend more time with the little ones.

We try to be active and do some things that are fun and useful as well for both them and us. One thing like that is baking. I'm an amateur of sourdough baking and kneading the dough is something that the kids can help with. Not to mention eating the results.

Baking in confinement

And last but not least, there is one more thing. I'm working in the travel and hospitality industry. Has our company been hit hard? Think about how many people make bookings or board planes nowadays.

At this moment I really had to start thinking about how to make myself more independent, how to make my income streams more diversified. Yesterday would have been the best moment to start building such a plan and the second-best moment is right now. The coronavirus gave me the final push.

Don't get me wrong. Having people dying and many more people losing everything they worked for is not a good thing. It's probably the worst thing I've seen in my life, but you can always find some points that can cheer you up and make you feel grateful.

What positive impacts have the coronavirus on your life?

Top comments (15)

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everton_68 profile image
Everton

Great article.

Remain in house brings me more time to do other things that I've planned, like share more time with my family and update my studies about in general.

Social distancing is not so good for a long time for some people, this can cause some diseases in their lives.

We need help each other in this pandemic time.

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Thanks for your comment. Indeed, it's something we barely think about that social distancing - possible loneliness - can also cause serious diseases. I guess for many people work is kinda the only way of socializing.

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everton_68 profile image
Everton

Indeed, we should start thinking about loneliness and try to help in some way.

what do you think about future impacts after this pandemic?

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

I don't think my opinion is relevant regarding this, but I'm not so sure that so many things would change. People, in general, don't like to change and try to avoid it. Why would it be different this time? We will consume and travel less because we will have less money for some time. And then? We'll consume and travel more once again.

If I'm mistaken, even better!

What do you think?

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everton_68 profile image
Everton

I think people in general do not change, when this whole pandemic is over everything goes back to normal.

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dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis

very nice article. I have the same feelings about what's going on, and I hope I can find the time to finish a blog post about all the opportunities the covid19 / socialdistancing can bring ( i also find that i have less time now, that i am always home.. ) which matches with a speech i am preparing for my Toastmasters path ( Focus on the positive :-)

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Thanks for your kind words, Davide.

Good luck with the Toastmasters. I couldn't attend it since I moved to another country, but it changed my life! What is your path?

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dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis

I choose / got innovative planning. In the new pathways, dunno if you already tried the new format. But yes, it is a life changing experience. Antibes looks coll, where did you move from?

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

I've seen the new format at one meeting at a local group, but I don't know much about it (in a few years the schedule will work for me:D). Yet, the name innovative planning sounds exciting.

Antibes is nice, you have both the sea and the mountains nearby. I came here from Budapest, Hungary and that's also a great place, but for different reasons. How about you? I see you are an expat in Germany.

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dvddpl profile image
Davide de Paolis

yes. I come from Miland, nothing so special actually but still relatively close to mountains and sea, and I ended up in Northern Germany - Hamburg - which is a super nice city - but the landscape around rather flat for someone that loves everything mountain-related. I guess I am a bit stuck until kids are out of school, then who knows where we will move :-)

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

I love Milano. We really enjoyed aperitivos over there :) And I also saw there probably the most bizarre stuff I have ever seen. There were some big advertisements on the streets (I think in the Northern suburbs) about funeral sales. You know you could buy coffins and stuff. On sale. I couldn't have fit any in our trunk!

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muscaw profile image
Kevin Grandjean

The virus slowed everything down.
It's a great way to spend more time with your family and think about your future.

We should not forget how it was like after everything is over. Try to not go back to a life where you don't have time to be with your family or do things you really like.

I was not affected too much yet with the virus, but I know some people are. Try to help if you can πŸ˜‰

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sandordargo profile image
Sandor Dargo

Thanks for your comment!

I spend quite much time with them even without the confinement, but obviously I lose the commuting and I don't share lunch with them, not to mention the full days. But anyway, with schools opening this part would change.

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sergix profile image
Peyton McGinnis

Well said! This was an article much needed during this time.

As you said, there are always ways to be thankful in any situation. I, for one, am grateful that God has allowed me to continue being with my family each day and that we have stayed healthy throughout this time.

I'm sure we can all be thankful, if nothing else, for a new day to wake up and learn something new.

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straleb profile image
Strahinja Babić

With all the isolation, over a month now, I finally gathered the guts to start learning React.js, also tools like adobe xd and Figma it definitely brought back the spark :)
Don't remember when was the last time I was this productive :D