Coronavirus: Threat Or Opportunity?

Just when I thought life could not get any stranger, it did. A mere week ago I had my trip to Cordoba, Argentina planned to witness the birth of my first grandchild. I worked tirelessly to get all my ducks in a row in order to be able to make such a trip during a very busy academic season. Long story short: Did not happen. However, my partner Rene’ was able to grab the very last flight that Argentina would allow into the country by pulling some strings and an American Airlines rabbit out of a hat.

But cross your fingers, as I write this she is still in the air…so who knows. (see the conclusion of this blog)

I dropped her off at a ghost town called LAX. Turns out I’m not the only one cancelling travel plans. As we exchanged our tearful goodbyes, it was amidst a vast sea of uncertainties, including not knowing when I will see her again…when everything hit me like a ton of bricks.

My guttural moans and weeping shrieks bubbled to the surface.

I broke down. Yes, I was guilty of uncontrollably weeping while driving.

I do not consider myself a very healthy emotional person. Unless healthy means hardly feeling anything when the shit goes down for months at a time, only to then let it all out in one giant weep fest.  A weep fest that sneaks up on you whenever it so chooses. Call it what you will, a weep fest or break down, in either case it is a barrage of feeling everything -at the same time.

Yes, a large reason I cried was because the love of my life was leaving for an uncertain period of time, but oh so much more.

The tears of grief, sadness and joy were fueled by:

  • My ailing and dying father.
  • Still grieving and missing my departed mother.
  • The selling of my childhood home.
  • The joy of the rekindling a relationship with my sisters after nearly twenty years of not speaking.
  • Sadness I will not get to hold my newborn grandson in my arms.
  • The joy of knowing I am going to be a grandfather.
  • Sadness I will not be there for my son and his wife in the most momentous event of their lives.
  • My new transition into my twilight years. Grandpa Jimmy.

Of course I cannot discount the Coronavirus social freak out that is happening globally at the moment. I know that was a huge part of the break down equation. But why?

This is now a new season of uncertainty for all of us. Just how bad is this public health crisis? No one knows. I do try to live by the creed that things are never as bad or good as they may seem at the moment. Therefore given this little proverb, things can only look up, cause things seem pretty damn bad.

For those who know me, they will be the first to tell you my thoughts on fear and the media. Fear is to media what gas is to my Honda or what a battery is to a Tesla. Therefore my initial inclination is this whole thing is fear on overdrive derived for profit by a soulless media.  And I still believe this, but only in part. The fear is real though they will take every opportunity to shove more fear down our throats, so long as it increases clicks and attracts eyeballs.

However, I have another fairly fundamental belief concerning the explanation as to why something may be happening: that of simply following the money. People do not turn their noses up to billions of dollars in untapped revenues. Rich individuals do not cancel events that costs them hundreds of millions of dollars for no good reason. And unless there is some mastermind conspiracy for global something or another, I have to believe the threat is very real and not even slightly conjured up. Sorry conspiracy theorists, can’t ride that train on this one.

I believe it is in all our best interests to see this health crisis as both an opportunity as well as a threat. Officials are instructing us to try to stay home as much as possible and, when in public, practice social distancing. This may be a perfect season to now start that novel you have always wanted to write, read that book you seem to never have time for, or watch some of those Netflix shows everyone’s been talking about for years. We can reconnect with loved ones or do those house projects we’ve been putting off. I plan on hiking up our property tomorrow and clearing out space to plant some new fruit trees. I can finish blogs I have started and never got around to finishing them. Maybe now is the perfect time to put away the booze and get sober or start that diet you’ve been putting off. Being as healthy we can be right now is a great idea. Other ideas:

  • Learn a new musical instrument
  • Watch some youtube videos on learning a new skill, perhaps learn how to clean those musty headlights on your car
  • Start the practice of meditation
  • If a student, get ahead on your reading. If not, just read!
  • Take long walks in nature
  • Paint a picture
  • Clean your room
  • Do what I did today…practice social distancing at the beach…while reading the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci (do you know he designed weapons for war?)
  • And the list goes on….

As far as the coronavirus itself? If we live wisely and practice smart sanitary living, chances are we are good. If not, the damn virus is going to do what the damn virus wants to do. We cannot live our lives worried about the “what ifs” in life. If we get sick? Try to get better. Perhaps this is also a time for us to grow as a person, in that we can learn to live amidst higher degrees of uncertainty. It is good thing to be reminded that nature is bigger and stronger than the rest of us. Learn to respect and appreciate life just a little bit more. Enjoy a big slice of humble pie.

I realize this pandemic will cause financial hardships for many. Now is a good time to get financially creative as well as generous for those in need.

Yes, I broke down in the car, though recovered and still realize I live in the same reality. Same issues. However, perhaps this is a time when I can reflect and work through some of my issues and practice gratitude and thankfulness for this beautiful thing we call life.

This is an opportunity to sit back (alone), take a deep breath, and hit life’s reset button.

We can learn a little something from the children of Italy who are painting signs all over the country, stating “Everything Will Be Alright.”

And it will.

One way or another.

Addendum: The day after I wrote this blog, Argentina would not allow Rene’s plane to disembark. She is flying back to Los Angeles as I write these words. At least in terms of seeing the love of my life soon, everything IS alright.



  1. Interesting read.
    As of writing this the city of LA has announced al bars, restaurants and wineries and other similar business MUST not have dine in services/close down.

    Many are speculating that a curfew might be in order soon and many are questioning the severity and chalking it up to mass hysteria over something that isn’t excatly a threat.

    Perhaps we will see how this plays out as
    Time goes on

  2. Hello jimmy! I took your communications class a few years back and followed your blog for extra credit (lol)
    This year is such an eye opener! It forced me to realize how unprepared my family was. I couldn’t help but think that if something abrupt were to have happened my family wouldn’t have been ready. Thankfully we have this “grace period” to get all of our crap together.

    I agree that this is a cleanse for the way everyone has been living. We are forced to spend more time in doors and with our families. I completely forgot what it was like to sit together on the couch and watch a movie-I forgot so much that it felt new. Blessing in disguise maybe?

    I used to planning everything months out in advance. Now I have to take everything day by day because the month is unclear.
    Life as we knew it has changed.

    I went to target and baby formula, diapers, feminine hygiene products, medicine, and water was gone.

    I hope your partner makes it home safely.

    I wish everyone safety!

  3. Up here in WA I was doing my student teaching and was going to do my edTPA teaching starting Wednesday… I worked on a painting and played my bass… 41 more days to go….

  4. I love all your words of positiveness, gratitud and new beginning for all those who wants to see life in a different way. I’m pretty sure that your son can feel all your guys love from distance because we cannot control what is unpredictable, I’m glad that Rene’ could return safety. Everything will be alright for those who believe it…

  5. Man Jimmy reading this ii feel your pain. Just know that you are doing the right thing.
    As a former student of yours, I remember you talking about that relationship you had lost with your sisters. I’m so glad you have revived those relationships. But please stay strong during these times! NEVER GIVE UP

  6. Jimmy! I absolutely loved reading this post. It’s real, vulnerable, and you are bringing light to us. Your love for Rene and your kids is so beautiful. Thank you for doing what you do. I am excited to make great use of this time and love my babies well. I will finish some over due art projects. Write and read. Enjoy nature. Do some good spring cleaning. One day at a time.

  7. Hi Professor Urbanovich –
    Excellent blog post and I hope Rene got home safe. Congrats on entering the grandpa stage. My daughter’s twins turn a year in April. One thing I learned during my cancer treatment when everyone thought I would not make it, even myself – it will be alright either way. We just need to make sure we are present along the journey and celebrate that. And make sure to occasionally have a weep fest!

  8. The unknown may be a blessing in disguise, now bear with me. This corona situation is out of our control. We can only conform or retaliate. I absolutely agree with you on during this time we should utilize our excess time to work on ourselves. Those may include getting sober, work on losing that weight and clean out that closet or room we have been putting off for so long. Some goals could also be to reconnect on a deeper level with those people you see everyday. I was born into a very religious family and the number one thing I took from all those years of catholic school is to see every day as a gift from God. No matter your preference we are alive and here today. Should we live in doubt or fear; no we should be utilizing this time to fully develop our character as a human being. This situation is very malleable, the eye of the beholder. If you see a pandemic fine, buy all the toilet paper you can and live in your house for the next two months. Or if you see a virus that effects the elderly and young with weak immune systems then go outside and enjoy the traffic free highways and the no wait restaurants. I believe if this situation progresses I will take greater notice but as of right now I’m staying safe and not changing my daily life.

  9. Through media literacy practices I was skeptical of the overall hype of this global situation. With most things out of my control, I am looking optimistically toward what is in my control. Thanks for the post, it offered me some peace of mind. I would appreciate some book recommendations if you would be kind enough to share some.

    • Hi Loren! This may sound weird, though “One Nation Under Sex” (David Eisenbach) is an absolute eye opener. But perhaps now is a good time to catch up on the classics, such as “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neal Postman (or anything else Neal Postman). Also google Leonard Shlain…”Alphabet vs The Goddess” He opposes Neal Postman in every way. Great minds.

  10. Hope Rene is safe and at home 🙂
    How ironic, I’ve been meaning to reach out to meet and catch up (for real this time) over some coffee now that I’m back in the IE. Guess we will have to postpone that.

    It sounds like a time of transition and uncertainty in your life, and I wish you peace, healing, and love. Ya know, all that Lucidity festival hippy dippy stuff lol.

    As far as the virus goes, everything WILL be alright.
    It’s important to stay alert, but not anxious. Focused, but not frenzied. Public service announcement from a registered nurse ya’ll: THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE HOARDING SUPPLIES *eye roll*

    Wash your hands, cover your cough, practice social distancing, good hygiene, and sanitary measures, and most importantly: don’t panic. Remember to treat one another with respect and love. Check in on each other. Community and connection is more essential than ever, we just have to modify how we’ve done it.

    There’s never been a better opportunity to be good stewards of our time, we unexpectedly have so much of it now.

    “This is an opportunity to sit back (alone), take a deep breath, and hit life’s reset button.”

    Everything will be alright.

  11. Reading this post right now, reminded me of our very first day of the communication class, where we have to go on Zoom. If I recall back, we did have a discussion about everything you have mentioned above! Anyways, this is probably the last day of this class, and I don’t feel like it’s the last day at all because literally everyday is like every other day now…However, like you say this virus is both an opportunity and a threat. During this lock down, I have taken some time to focus on myself more and appreciate the alone time. Also one of the phrase hit me really hard where you said “perhaps this is a time when I can reflect and work through some of my issues and practice gratitude and thankfulness for this beautiful thing we call life”…”We can learn a little something from the children of Italy who are painting signs all over the country, stating “Everything Will Be Alright.” These last two phrases, help me to look at the big picture instead of just focusing on the problem. And at the end, I really hope everything is going to be okay…

  12. Hi Jimmy!
    I totally agree with you that this is a great opportunity to begin new things. I actually found myself doing things to loose weight and even spending more time with my family and getting closer with my sister. Not being able to see my other family members that I’m really close with really bummed me out, but thank God for social media and FaceTime right? I really enjoyed reading your blog today!

  13. The coronavirus was difficult for everyone in the entire world. In a weird way this makes it feel a little less harsh and a lot more easier to bear. Back in March when the everything was uncertain and the entire world were starting to action was actually terrifying. I think as a teen, many of us tried to use humor to as a mechanism to not face the actual reality. At the beginning I would complain because the concerts I planned to go to were cancelled, but suddenly I stopped because I felt guilty. I felt that I was not sensitive towards the people fighting for their lives because of the virus. Also, I saw thing tweet that said ‘If it wasn’t for this pandemic, this version of yourself would have never existed’. I don’t know whether that is a good or bad thing, but I will say this situation has made me a lot more stronger mentally and appreciate the people in my life a lot more.

  14. Hi Jimmy!
    I enjoyed reading this post, It made me reflect upon my own experiences throughout this whole thing. I found it refreshing to hear about embracing your emotions and coming out with a positive outlook. I wish I was braver and optimistic. With the pandemic, racial injustice and political divide, 2020 was just such a hard year and 2021 is not all that better. I have found myself overwhelmed by the hate displayed towards others, the fear of contracting the virus and by the grief of losing someone to this virus and not being able to hold them and say goodbye one last time. I feel lost and scared to go back into the world, I know in my mind that I have to eventually do so, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was afraid. I have only left my home on a number of occasions to pick up some essentials and I think that sheltering myself has hurt me more than helped. Still I am going to try my best to push myself forward and get out to the world, see my family, graduate and become the professional that I aspire to be. I can only hope and try.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *