Photo courtesy of Flickr
It was the sixth day of “social distancing,” or whatever you’d like to call it, and, needless to say, I was losing my mind. The only voices I heard (other than those of my family and the few friends I was consistently FaceTiming) were the news anchors, sending more and more negative news my way, heightening my sense of impending doom. Everything I had been looking forward to in the coming weeks was cancelled. My friends and I were constantly complaining about being lonely and bored, unsure of what was to come. Are we ever going back to school? Are we basically seniors now?
After observing me wallowing in my loneliness, my mom invited me to sit outside on the front porch with her. We saw neighbors we have never seen before walking around, trying to enjoy the fresh air. I told her about how it feels like every time I pick up my phone, I just feel more down.
She told me about how the coronavirus seems to be bringing out the worst in people. People in grocery stores are fighting with one another about how far apart they should stand, refusing to hold doors, sending dirty looks whenever someone coughs. She said the last time she observed such fear and distrust was after 9/11. But the fear that came after 9/11 brought people together through acts of kindness and a sense of community. The coronavirus appears to do the opposite.
We decided I should do something nice for my friends, and I concluded that the answer to our collective slump lied in baked goods. I looked through my cabinets and found a box of brownie mix. That night I made a sheet of brownies, cut them up and put them in cute little baggies to give to my friends.
The next morning my sister and I distributed the brownies to our friends. After dropping them off on people’s porches (don’t worry, we still kept with the social distancing theme), I received tons of kind thank you messages and Snapchats of them smiling. Who would have known that such a simple act could spread such joy?
Brownies are not going to end the pandemic. They’re not going to stop the coronavirus from spreading, they won’t heal the infected, they won’t shut up the news anchors who are honing in on the negativity, spreading mass-panic. If they could, I would have made a whole lot more pans. What they did do was bring a smile to some of my friends’ faces in a time where smiles are scarce, and that’s what we need right now.
We all feel scared and uncertain. We all feel lonely and bored, like we will lose our mind if we have to spend another day in social isolation. No one is alone in these feelings\; we’re all in this together, and we need to come together to get through this tough time.
My advice to you is to do something nice for someone today, even if you may not receive something tangible in return. You don’t have to make a whole pan of brownies, but maybe hold a door open for someone, tip your UberEats delivery guy a little extra, or even send your friends and family a message saying you miss them. What you will get is a feeling of satisfaction that you did something to ease the stress for others. It’s a frightening time and the only way to get through this is to keep our heads up, hands washed and stay positive.