Bob Roth

What do a new puppy, folklore and a virology podcast all have in common? Taylor Swift, of course, and most importantly seeking inspiration during a pandemic. Let me explain.

My daughter, who lives in Washington, D.C., mentioned she was listening to Taylor Swift’s new album, “Folklore,” on repeat. Not having seen my

daughter since March, and missing her terribly, I literally wanted to hear

what was inside her head. I thought this was a novel way to spark a long-distance connection.

Best intentions are just that, and I listened to “Folklore” once and went back to the podcasts and news in my headset.

Next, enter a high-spirited puppy to shake us out of our routine. Ruby, our 8-week-old Labrador retriever, is boundless energy with an ear-piercing bark. We drowned out the craziness with the soulful artistry of Taylor Swift’s new album. No exaggeration — this actually worked.

Now “Folklore” is literally on repeat in two Roth households, and our mutual admiration for this collection of songs led to a shared joy and meaningful conversations. In a perfect world we would be listening in the same room, but I will take the silver lining of going outside my music bubble. My daughter thinks I’m cool, and I have a puppy who seems a bit more relaxed.

I dug deeper into the genesis of “Folklore,” when Taylor Swift’s lyrics to “Epiphany,” a song from this album, were read at the beginning of the podcast “This Week in Virology.” The virologists and epidemiologists often quote scientists and historic figures, not 30-year-old pop culture icons.

The fact that the song is a tribute to health care workers is the exclamation

of the bigger point I would like to make. In all likelihood, “Folklore” would not exist without the pandemic.

Taylor Swift should have been on tour this summer. Instead, she was forced to isolate, regroup and change her routine. Her well-choreographed career upended, the creativity flowed without the usual pressure.

How have your routines changed? Is it possible to use the time formerly slated with pre-pandemic activity as a springboard for positive change? What have you always wanted to try or to do better?

This is your moment. Ask yourself how you will emerge from your cocoon.

Perhaps you have less free time, home schooling your children from your home office. That meditation practice that you have been putting off could be a lifeline right about now.

It does not require exceptional talent to learn a new skill or figure out how to connect with your family in a new way. It takes creativity and the will to break out of a rut. Ponder what stirs your soul and what ignites your creative spark that can lead you to new heights.

If you are mourning the loss of a beloved friend or family member, I know that grief can be paralyzing, and I offer my sincere condolences. Acknowledge this, and tell their story in time, using this time.

The challenges and inspiration of the pandemic will become our folklore, the collective memories that groups and families will one day tell and retell. JN

Bob Roth is the managing partner of Cypress HomeCare Solutions.

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