We have all heard the phrase “is the glass half-full or half-empty?” The optimist sees the glass as half-full and the pessimist sees the glass as half-empty. Considering the majority of us view the glass with a defined perspective, we are naturally inclined to view other matters definitively as well. During current unprecedented times, where COVID-19 has impacted the world, half-full or half-empty has become “fully empty.” Streets are crisp clean and empty, school playgrounds are full of greenery – but no children are running around. Even the emptiness is empty. What do we define this as now? Truly no one knows but, allow me to shed some light.

The emptiness we see is the optimism and belief that by staying home, we can fight the disease together. If we still believe we are stuck at home, we do not understand the value of healthcare professionals who want to be at home, or homeless people who want a home. We are privileged and safe at home. While all this may sound redundant and similar to what most news channels, social media posts, and commercials recently say – the truth is that the entire world of all economic classes has adapted to one, simple standard-of-living.

The emptiness we see is the acceptance of new guidelines. Life never came with a rule book until now, where simple hygiene became the first and the most important rule. It almost seems like the water from the “half-full or half-empty” analogy is now used for good hygiene (pun intended). The beauty of it all, however, is the amount of increased caution we take before opening our main door nowadays. Suddenly, germs that always lived around us get more attention than before. Our perspective toward germs changed – we went from being 5-second hand washers to paranoid germophobes. Additionally, we do not have a vision of when these germs will stop spreading or when we will defeat the virus. This uncertainty is something we have accepted among this emptiness.

The emptiness we see is the emergence of what will eventually become a cleaner Earth, or so we can hope. It all lies in our perspective and what we believe we can control. Right now, we do not have much in control, except to wake up every morning, take the E to our kitchen, grab a bite, and walk a few blocks to our newly built work-from-home desk. Once we see that crack of dawn, the day when we can safely go outdoors again, we will fear a handshake, a hug, or even standing in line at Starbucks (among strangers) waiting for the go-to drink we have not had in months. What we can control at that time is how we maintain the newly implemented rule in our lives I talk about – hygiene. We can control our perspective, our habits for better hygiene, so we never fear such a disease again. We are living the emptiness, which one-day young children will read about in their history textbooks. We have the authority today to control what will be tomorrow’s precedent.

So, is the glass still half-full or half-empty?

Until we see each other to discuss, stay safe, and stay home.