Pandemic Patience: RibEyes in an Instant to Icky Ground Beef

Karen Barnhardt
5 min readApr 14, 2020

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Mastering swift adaptation to thrive today and beyond.

Our society has developed an addiction to convenience. For years, we’ve gotten whatever we wanted quickly and easily.

We build our lives for speed.

Lord knows, our attention spans are short, and we want what we want — now!

Patience, what the heck even is that?

Without our knowledge, the desire for instant gratification undermined our understanding of patience.

Then, along came a monster. A virus unleashed itself upon us, and suddenly, everything slowed down.

Amazon no longer guarantees its orders will arrive within two days.

And seriously, what happened to all the toilet paper?

A new reality took hold with every empty shelf and each canceled plan.

We entered an era where ‘wait and see’ became the norm.

The kids were at home. The spouse was at home.

How much Netflix could we humans consume before we became permanently connected to furniture?

Feeling angsty and frazzled? Me too!

The walls of our home became the perimeter of our world.

Yet, there was a silver lining: reconnecting with our immediate family and re-engaging with pastimes we had long forgotten in our busy lives.

For years, my husband has grilled up a steak on Saturday night.

Let me tell ya, his steaks rock!

He’d run to the grocery store Saturday morning and pick up a couple of mouth-watering steaks with no problem. Easy peasy!

Not long after the chaos of the monster virus began, my husband set off to the store to retrieve our usual delectable Saturday steaks.

But what he returned with was a pound of ground beef. Oh, the horror!

I’d been fantasizing about that delicious, juicy steak all day!

I live a Keto lifestyle, for crying out loud. Karen needs her steak!

Toilet paper was scarce, but steak, too?

Sure, it was a trivial problem in the grand scheme of our chaotic times. But in that moment, it symbolized all my upended comforts and routines.

My gosh, how much we had taken for granted?

There were no steaks, chicken, or pork. Only some lowly ground beef was all that escaped the panic buyers that Saturday.

I’m ashamed to admit I got testy with my husband. How dare he inconvenience me like this!

But as we sat down to an alien and simpler-than-normal Saturday feast, I wondered — what had happened to all that gratitude I’d been hearing about for ages?

Experts in positivity have tirelessly discussed gratitude for years.

Well, it sure went in one ear and out the other one because I heard a ton of grumping going on. It wasn’t just me.

Many people (me included) focused on what we didn’t have. We didn’t give a thought to those who couldn’t even get to a store.

Hoarding and being nasty to essential workers was in vogue.

Too many turned a blind eye to anyone else.

After some time, I calmed down and ate my beef patty, and profusely apologized for acting like an ass.

Did I say profusely? Well, it was epic.

The “lowly” beef patty was still a tasty, nourishing meal. But the meal’s best part was being together.

And in that shared moment, the value of adaptability over expectation became clear.

It was time to adapt and look outside our own front door. It’s time to relearn patience, adapt, and find our community unity.

Did I even know my neighbors anymore? I couldn’t even recall the last time I walked around the neighborhood.

Yep, this was a new world, baby.

Amidst the chaos, did a steak really matter that much?

People can learn valuable lessons on patience, appreciation, and adaptability in this slowed-down world.

Later that night, I watched my husband dozing in his chair. I made a deliberate choice to adopt a patient mindset, slowing my pace, concentrating intently, and valuing what we had.

In my husband’s peaceful face, I saw not what we were missing but the love and comfort that still filled our home, pandemic or not.

Speed and convenience, bah!

At least we had food to eat.

We had each other, our health, and a roof over our heads. Those were the true necessities in these times.

It was past the time to broaden our attention span and notice what was happening around us. We needed to adapt to the new reality with patience and gratitude.

The days melted into each other. I found that patience wasn’t just a virtue; it was a conduit to deeper connections with my family and a more meaningful engagement with the small joys of everyday life.

Patience isn’t passive; it is an active engagement in the welfare of our community, a commitment to doing our part to stay safe and keep others safe, too.

Our capacity for empathy and kindness can expand by shifting our mindset and concentrating on something outside ourselves. We could grow.

The faces we used to see in passing were now in complete focus.

Let’s focus on those faces and recognize their significance to us.

Whether a wave through a window or a conversation across a digital screen, each interaction is a chance to affirm the bonds that tie us together, even when apart.

We can revel in the simple blessing of a sunny day. Notice the birds populating the sky and trees. Hear their song and take in their vibrant colors and patterns.

Let the simplicity of nature’s persistence remind us that after every winter comes spring; after every storm, calm.

Notice the variations of green that spring offers us as the leaves return to the trees.

And with each new leaf, let us write a story of resilience, a testament to our ability to grow and flourish despite the odds.

Find joy in the slow times. Relish being alive and healthy.

Discovering joy in taking things slow involves acknowledging that our previous understanding of ‘wasted time’ was too limited and harsh.

Breathe deeply, stay calm, and have faith in our collective resilience.

This storm will pass, as all storms do, and we’ll emerge survivors when it’s over. We’ll be part of a society that’s learned the subtle art of waiting with grace and hope for the future.

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Karen Barnhardt

Freelance Ghostwriter, Content Specialist & Copywriter. Check out my work at: www.halcyonwordsmith.com Looking for a writer? Captivatedbytheword@gmail.com