This Stuff Is Sloshing Around Everywhere!

Over the last ten days, I have begun venturing out into the world. In the last year, I only went to two indoor places, my chiropractor and the supermarket. The few other times I ventured out were to outdoor locations.

But, now, fully vaccinated, I’ve started to dip my toe into the heady world of stores (clothes, shoes!)—and noticed something wonderful sloshing around all over the place!

No, not all the bright shiny objects I forgot existed, but rather the kindness. No matter where I turned, kindness swirled around everyone.

Drivers paused to allow pedestrians to cross the parking lot, doors were held open, random conversations were started, and smiles were everywhere. Please, thank you, excuse me, and oops, I’m sorry lilted through the air. 

I noticed people pull to the side of the aisles to let others pass, a smile and nod sealing the exchange, while others offered unsolicited compliments. 

You could almost sense the hunger for human connection. Everyone was eager to look others in the eyes, hear some kind words, share some laughter. Despite the masks covering half our faces, voices conveyed smiles beaming from under the face coverings. 

Long may this last.

For the last fourteen years, I have walked my little Yorkie, Riley-Rose, around the block each morning. Despite it being a rather small block, the walk takes a good 15-20 minutes—let’s just say Miss Riley likes to stroll.

On our journey, I pass many school children; we live between three schools. Each time, I smile and say good morning. Some respond some don’t, but I persist. I persist because I like knowing that no matter how that child’s day began, he can arrive at school having seen one bright smile and hearing one chirpy good morning.

It is along the lines of the saying, “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” 

But, the pandemic is a battle we do know about, and kindness appears to have become a by-product of these horrible months. 

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could keep hold of this feeling, this desire to nurture our fellow human beings? 

Kindness is usually thought of as being considerate, concerned, generous, friendly, and warm. In our pre-pandemic lives, many of us felt people had become blinkered, oblivious to those around them. People were literally unaware. With eyes on phones and earbuds in ears, they didn’t notice the person struggling to open a door or hear a call for help.

In our crowded societies, many were so busy, so focused on their own goals and needs that there wasn’t time to worry about others. We all kept rushing forward, brushing others aside. Who had time to thank someone for handing them their coffee? 

Then we all stopped, retreated indoors, and waited. You couldn’t brush others aside, simply because there were no others! And, people realized they missed other human beings. Even with all their annoying behaviors, we longed for others.

Kind people then turned their attention to being kind in novel ways. Communities set up shared refrigerators on street corners. Anyone could donate fresh foods, and anyone could come along, open the fridge and take what they needed.

Kindness was around, sloshing everywhere. As libraries closed, little free libraries popped up on people’s front lawns. Students set up shopping runs for the elderly and at-risk. Restaurants delivered meals to frontline medical staff.

And you know what? We all felt better for it. People realized that it felt great to be kind, that often the emotion the giver experienced far outweighed the dollar spent or the hour given. This stuff is addictive!

Slowly but surely, our world will reopen, and I hope that this kindness-euphoria sticks around.

Let’s learn to accept other people’s mistakes, offer them grace when they aren’t at their best and forgive each other those small transgressions.

 Let’s all embrace kindness as a default setting and let that stuff slosh around everywhere!

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4 comments on “This Stuff Is Sloshing Around Everywhere!
  1. Maria Oskwarek says:

    Jane, this is such a perceptive post! I love your optimism and generosity of spirit. May it last, indeed! We humans can have short memories, but I hope lessons learned from the past year will stick. 😊

    • Jane Paterson says:

      Thank you. I agree memories can be awfully short. However, I believe it more likely to stick around if each one makes a conscious effort.

  2. malia sharpley says:

    It is so important to take that extra minute and engage with others and show kindness

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