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  • Christine Shuck

Neverending Hope

It is spring. My favorite part of the year. Each time I step outside, my heart leaps. Over the past seven years, I have planted thousands and thousands of plants. And our space, a full acre if you count all three houses and the empty lots, is a large one.


It's taken a long time to get where we are, and it will take even longer to get to where I want to be. But I don't want to talk to you about my garden today, not really, I want to talk to you about my hopes for our world's future.


Life is full of learning opportunities. And I have found that focusing on the lessons is a far better way to live than dwelling in regret.


Today, according to the Coronavirus Dashboard that 17-year-old Avi Shiffman created, we are now at a total of 203,797 deaths worldwide of the coronavirus.


A side note on this, strongly consider clicking on the Buy Me a Coffee link on his site. This kid turned down an $8 million dollar deal to place an ad on his site because it would have been too large and detracted from the real point of the website. That kid has got some real ethics, he deserves a coffee or two for his efforts!


Back to programming...


In any case, we can look at this number, 203,797, which grew overnight by nearly 1,000, and simply react to the horrifying reality of a rather infectious virus, or we can take a step back and re-imagine our world as something different.


Different how? I'll paint a picture, one that many, MANY are seeing unfold before their eyes.


Much of the world is on lockdown. It is something unprecedented in our lifetime, actually, it is unprecedented in the history of our world. One friend referred to it as the Stone Age, and while it is true, that if the factories remain shut down and the lockdown continues as it currently is, there WILL be a return to the Stone Age - at this moment, life is certainly not at that stage yet.


Beijing has clear skies for the first time in decades.

Coyotes are roaming the streets of San Francisco.

Jellyfish have been seen swimming in the canals of Venice.

The toxic emissions in certain areas of China have all but ceased.

Gas prices have plummeted thanks to a massive reduction in usage.


The Earth, our planet and home, has reacted nearly instantly, showing us that 1) humans really make our world a mess, and 2) there has to be a happy medium.


And that's what I want to talk to you about. The happy medium.


We have seen what life is like at full speed ahead. And now, thanks to a virus, we have seen what life is like when we hit the brakes. Somewhere in between, we need to find a way to exist without polluting the ever-loving shit out of our world.


Not just that, but we need to re-think how we are working. Companies around the world are re-thinking the brick and mortar, traditional office concept. It just took a highly contagious, put-the-world-on-hold virus to do it. We aren't children, we can actually work from home responsibly and, in some cases, far more effectively, than employers would like to admit. And suddenly, companies are actually taking this into consideration more than ever before.


I imagine a greener world. I'm a gardener, it's in my blood. I imagine a place where we can live and work in the same place, without the need to clog our highways and pollute our air with gas. Where cars aren't necessarily a necessity, but an occasional use kind of thing.


I know I'm not the only one. Companies are beginning to realize that they could save a hell of a lot of money by retaining workers at home, rather than in an office that has to be built, heated, cooled and stocked with coffee. That much of the work can be, and honestly should be, done from home.


From 10am to 9:30pm, four days a week, I will walk upstairs to our library, and walk on a treadmill and talk on a headset to callers from around the country, providing customer service easily and effectively via a computer hookup from Amazon. Any and all call center customer service can be done this way. Can you imagine how much Amazon saves over other call centers? They provide a computer and monitor, a mere $500 max in costs, and save tens of thousands in the process. It saves me thousands of dollars a year in gas, as well as hundreds of hours of my life commuting back and forth. Meanwhile, I'm walking up to 13 miles a day at a sedate pace of 1.5 mph, getting in shape, losing weight, and staying pain-free. As well, allowing me to choose my schedule has meant that I can now have three days off in a row to do with as I will.


I win. Amazon wins. Hell, even the customer wins. What's not to love about this?


And I know, not everything can be done like this. But seriously, for every single worker currently at home, working from home, with a few tweaks, it CAN and SHOULD be done.


We must learn from this. We must adapt. And if we do, the world will benefit. WE will benefit.


I have neverending hope that, in our darkest moments, we learn from this. That we achieve a happy medium and that, at the end of the day, we survive and thrive.

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