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How COVID helped me

David Gane
David Gane
5 min read
Stay safe.  One of the many street signs that have appeared, to warn people, during the current pandemic.  This one was in the high street of Shaftesbury, which has now been pedestrianised.
Photo by Nick Fewings / Unsplash


After avoiding it for years, I finally got COVID.

I had a cough last Tuesday and body aches the following day. By that afternoon, I tested positive. It didn't last long, but I couldn't eat or speak for over three days, and I lost 10 pounds. Worse yet, stuck in a room alone, I went a little loopy.


When COVID first hit back in 2020, I was ready for it. I had been teaching online a couple of classes, so I was prepared for the transition. As places started shutting down, I kept asking my bosses (the Regina Public Library and the University of Regina) if I could move online. They told me to wait. A few days later, more places closed, and I asked again. They told me to quit asking.

So, you'd think I'd be ready when I finally got COVID.


Of course not.

I was miserable. I couldn't focus on anything and got irritated anytime I tried to read, watch, or listen to anything. I was uncomfortable, hungry, and my whole body ached. I tossed and turned all night trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in, and since I couldn't settle, I stared out the window and waited for the days to pass.


One night, there was a storm in the southwest. I could see the flashes of lightning but couldn't hear the thunder. I checked the weather app, and it said the storm would hit.

I waited, but it never came.

Nothing came. I remember listening to the world outside the window, and it was silent. No wind, birds, cars, planes, or trains. Nothing. You'd think I was dumped somewhere in a distant forest, not near the city's center.

I think that was when the boredom really hit me.


In this state, my mind spun through many thoughts: my future, my relationships, my work, my writing. I went a little too deep and re-evaluated everything.

But it wasn't all bad.

At one point, I thought up a series of points to share with one of my clients on her project. When I was finally feeling better, I sent her what I remembered. She responded, "David, I don't want you to get COVID, but I really like these ideas, so I don't mind if you get COVID."


Nine days after I tested positive for COVID, my wife was getting on a plane to Greece. I didn't want to get her sick, so I avoided her at all costs.

I didn't handle it well. I'm a guy who likes hugs, kisses, and holding hands, and I missed her every second. The day she went to the airport, I still had one day left of quarantine 😢.

Have a safe trip, Kate. I'll see you in three weeks.


For the most part, life is back to normal. The symptoms have cleared, and I can go walk amongst the people. Yet, some things have changed.

After not eating for three days, my appetite took a while to return, and because of this, I am more selective in what I consume. A lot less sugar, salty carbs, and stress-eating of gum, and a lot more fruit and vegetables.

I also haven't been using apps on my phone as much. I avoid Reddit and watch a lot less YouTube. After being irritated by everything, I realized how much time was wasted on them.

When I could think again, I reorganized my life. I wrote out a lot of to-do lists and listed the projects I wanted to get done. My whole approach to managing them has changed.

Lastly, I've been walking around with a peaceful buffer between me and the world. I think it's mindfulness—paying attention to myself, my thoughts, and the world around me. But there's also a feeling of what I can best describe as serenity. I don't know where it's come from, but I know it's been present since having COVID.


Do I want COVID again?

Of course not! But I'm sure I'll get it at some point.

However, I'm not complaining about how I've felt since. This serenity has been enjoyable. I feel more present and aware of myself than I did, and more focused on my goals in life.

I know eventually it will wear off, but until then, I'm going to embrace my time within it and be grateful.


📖 Reading:
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert: This was a reread, but her light, playful touch with creativity makes this book always inspiring.

How to Make Good Things Happen by Marian Rojas Estape: I never settled an opinion on this one. I felt like the ideas were helpful, but also sometimes the facts felt presented as if they should be taken for granted without the data to back them up. Also, sometimes it feels like she's telling us that positive thoughts are all it takes to succeed.

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg: I will have nearly finished this when the newsletter comes out. It's a solid book about building healthy behavioral habits, which feels somewhat overshadowed by Atomic Habits by James Clear. But Tiny Habits may be my favorite of the two.

📺 Watching:
The Bear Part 2: The ending hits differently and therefore makes me feel different, but I still enjoyed it.  I especially loved the individual Marcus and Richie episodes.

The Dressmaker: This dark, comedic, sad, and odd film starring Kate Winslet had been on my list for a while, and I enjoyed it very much. It's about a woman who returns to her hometown to find out if she committed a murder of a classmate in her youth. Be warned, the shifts in tone and humor make it not a movie for everyone.

Sisu: If you're a fan of John Wick, this might be your kind of show. A Finnish gold miner is threatened by Nazis at the end of World War 2. Little do they know, there's more to his story. Bloody, violent, and over-the-top, it's best to view this film as a revenge fantasy.

Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One: I've always been a fan of the series, and although this one didn't hit the level of Fallout, I still enjoyed it.

🛠️ Using:
TidyCal: There was a moment early last month when I considered changing up my scheduling software, TidyCal, a simple app I bought for 29 USD. I thought a fancier, more expensive app would help me block off busy times easier, but it didn't take me long to come running back. Simple, well-priced, and has all the features I need.

Bear 2: For the longest, I had used Bear 2 for notetaking and loved it. However, there were a few features missing, and I moved all my notes to Ulysses, my main writing app. However, with this new release, many of those missing features have been added—although I'm still waiting on importing notes with the original dates to be fixed for iOS. Otherwise, it's been fun to play with it again. (I also realize I recommended two things named Bear 2 😉).

Asics Gel-Venture 9 - Men's Trail Running Shoes: I always wore Asics running shoes, but took a break last year to find something a bit more durable for hiking. I'm not here to complain about my replacement shoe, but it wasn't until I bought my Gel-Venture 9s that I realized how much I'd been ignoring the obvious problems of my old ones. My Asics haven't been put to the full test, but the immediate comfort I feel wearing them makes me never want to try another shoe again.

🗣️ Quoted:

If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
— Van Gogh

Thank you for reading

That's it for this month. If you liked this newsletter and want more, visit my daily blog.

I also help others with their writing. If you're interested, please visit my coaching page.


David Gane Twitter

Co-writer of the Shepherd and Wolfe young adult mysteries, the internationally award-winning series, and teacher of storytelling and screenwriting.


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