• Justin Anthony

The Pandemic Isn’t All Bad

Updated: May 14

Triggering title?

Good. Consider this a motivational kick in the ass.


Life and the web is an epidemic of whining, excuses, and woe-is-me stories. And it makes sense, COVID-19 has affected the world in a way that nothing else in our lifetimes ever has.


But everyone has always had a story that will break your heart. That's never changed.


Yet what makes certain stories stand out is how an individual responded to their tragedy.

I’m not saying these are easy waters to navigate. Quite the opposite. And some of us are in deeper waters than others. I acknowledge that. I am not addressing those who are drowning.


What I am saying is there is no such thing as “all bad.” Bad cannot exist without good and vice-versa. It’s impossible.

“So what could possibly be good about a pandemic, motherf***er?”


Let me get it out of the way for those who actually need to me clarify:

  • It’s a tragedy how many people have contracted the disease and died. Just awful.

  • I'm devastated for small businesses that won't survive this income drought. As a dreamer nothing hurts me more than people having the dreams they've worked for be ripped away by something like this.

  • My heart aches for anyone without a job, scared of what the next day will bring.

  • The levels of frustration I feel about not seeing loved ones and people not attending burials of family could drive me into a hole I would never return from. I miss my people.

You feel me more now? I want to be very clear. I don't want to be misunderstood.


I'd like to share a lyric from my favourite artist, LeAnn Rimes:


All the rest is out of my hands

I will learn to let go what I cannot change

I will learn to forgive what I cannot change

I will learn to love what I cannot change

But I will change, yeah I will change

Whatever I, whatever I can

So back to the question, what’s one good about a pandemic?


Time.


There was a great phrase floating around that seemed disappeared once people started shaming this motivation of productivity (*cough*excuses*cough*) so let me bring it back:

To recap:


If we what we have is time and can only control our immediate selves, what does that leave us with?


Opportunity.


I expressed my thoughts about this in a positive PSA for VanArts Radio:

Even those scrambling to keep afloat are finding opportunities in this time to improve (business models, products, resources, etc.). Like this story from Vancouver is Awesome:

Improvisation is one of the best skills of the human spirit and really proves what you’re really made of.

Know who inspired me recently? Kids.


Most children aren’t much for Skyping with loved ones -- my nieces are two and five, believe me -- so how are they satiating the craving of social interactions? This is how the kids near my neighbourhood improvised with their resources to engage with neighbour friends:

I admire them. They're artists. Artists always find ways to use the resources at their fingertips to create, express and survive.


Like this ballerina that missed her grandparents, dancing for them outside their window …

Or the Vancouver Film Community coming together to create art in their homes for a virtual film festival …

This school choir singing from a film that I’m so happy to know they are familiar with ...

And the Shakespearean performers giving us a laugh via a Zoom reading …

Successful artists think like athletes to achieve their goals. It’s time for society to think like artists; the people who have never known anything but uncertainty of the future.


The options right now, today, in this moment and as they have always been are to be passive or proactive.


Like Nell from The Haunting, terrorized by ghosts in a scary house while no one believed her:

I fuggin' love Lili Taylor!


Anyway, proactive. Even blended with passive it is still more productive than just simply passive.


A Twitter post from Jeremy Haynes recently went viral with many people condemning the sentiment. Take a peak at the responses if you're interested:


The replies actually contain shaming of the motivation to prosper during an economic dip. The replies are disguised as excuses to shame. What a world. I'm not entirely convinced the people who retort "what about this, what about that" are even living through the examples they present.


Funny enough, this statement actually only condemns those that it applies to. It can't be a shaming post, the end result has yet to happen. But people don't like being condemned especially when it's accurate.


If the future fallout is another depression era then we cannot be passive. But it's more convenient to curl up and wallow away in today than prepare for what comes tomorrow.

Yep, that's a lot of pressure to think about. But reality doesn't go away by being ignored. Did you mother ever go away simply because you ignored her?

But most people are actually doing ok. No, seriously. There seems to be a hesitation around admitting that, a shamefulness. I talk to some friends to check in and they say with great hesitation, "I'm doing good, I'm alright. I'm safe, I can enjoy life for a bit."


Why are we shy about it? For Pete's sake, celebrate! It's amazing! That means we can get through this!


YES I KNOW THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS.


That doesn't mean those who are not the exception need to empathetically suffer in passive solidarity with those who are; that doesn't help them or you.

To be clear once again, I'm talking to the passive not the proactive.


No one cared about anyone’s lack of self-motivation before, during and won't after the pandemic. Those who choose not seize this opportunity of time should remember that others are.


They are learning a language, an instrument, finishing a project, purging, trying new things, picking up old passions, experimenting in the kitchen, the list is endless ...


Do not be the person who looks back at these pandemic months of opportunity and say, “Jeez, I really wish I had done more with all that time.” Or worse yet, the person who instills more sadness for themselves because everyone around them levelled up.


Trust me: regret, you will! Regret comes so easily to humans. And whining on Facebook.

Yes, please take your moments of frustration, take your moment to cry, ask for help, to just sit and be with your thoughts. Then get up off your ass and be a participant in your life.


It is on each and every one of us to take care of ourselves first. There’s always a reason to do or not do something.


It’s not on Trump, it’s not on the pandemic, it’s not on your mother, it’s on YOU.


Some of you are like this right now:

Others:


Either one is a choice ... Yep, it is ... It's a choice. Your choice .... yes, it is! Stop sassing me!


Consider you just won the lottery. What reasons are there to not go to the lottery office and collect your million dollar winnings? Maybe your foot hurts, you’re sick, you're sad today, you have to walk far, there's too many people out, it’s raining, etc. yadda yadda yadda. Do you still f***ing go?? YES, OF COURSE YOU DO!

Me?


I study from home and use my immediate resources to accomplish tasks the best I can. I push to make all my assignments worthy of my portfolio and hand them in on time. I have filmed a few videos currently in post production, one specifically for a film contest. I seek and attend virtual seminars for the film industry and am assembling pitches to exciting potential opportunities. Same as before the pandemic.


Have I had road bumps, challenges, late nights and frustrations? Absolutely. I did before the pandemic, too. Will I air them out on social media? Hell no because no one cares. Did excuses matter prior to the pandemic to my boss, to a casting director, to my agent, to an instructor, or to my self? They didn't. And they won't after this is over either.


What made me feel better about the challenges was overcoming them. It's the only way.


"It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to."

- W. C. Fields


So to summarize, having this time to seize an opportunity is good. That's a good thing; a good thing that was afforded by the pandemic, a bad thing. Ying and Yang-a-lang.


It's ok to be thankful for that while acknowledging the world is going through a tough time.


Even if the opportunity in front of you is finding a professional to talk to so you can get on with being yourself: that brings value to your life. (Do a search in your local area, accessible resources are popping up as a response to the pandemic.)


And really, that is what life is all about: value.


But try creating something small first, see what that does for you.

That’s it. Just had to get that out.


Now please use the time you have to complain about this blog on Facebook.

Chime in on the convo either here, on my Twitter or at Instagram!

Sharing the post with someone who would love it is very appreciated.

How are you making your time count during the pandemic?


#covid19 #coronavirus #pandemic #productivity #complaining #opinion #oped #actorinvancouver #actor #inspiration #motivation #quarantine

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