I’ve been getting my camera out more often lately—partly as a means of creative restoration, partly to document our family life during this unusual time—and it’s got me thinking a lot about negative space.

Negative space is the area around your subject. It could be a white wall behind a vase of flowers, or the sky rising behind a line of trees. But whatever it is, it guides your eye to the subject of the photo. It defines the subject by its emptiness.

Stripped of our social lives, our regular routines, and even jobs or health, we’ve been surrounded by negative space the last few months. Sometimes it has taken the form of free time, though not always—ask any childcare-deprived parent—but for many of us, extra leisure or not, life has become much simpler. No more preschool drop-off; no more work happy hours; no more weekend plans. Life has slowed down, and our priorities, values, and very selves have come into sharper focus.

Though we didn’t choose the situation we’re in, it’s not all bad. This week, several of our articles consider the virtues of a slower pace, of negative space, of what we’re learning in quarantine. One article reflects on letting our time be “unprecious,” rather than hastening to use it productively; another article, on thrift-shopping, emphasizes slowing down (and enjoying) the process instead of expecting to find everything in one spree. Later this week, another piece will consider how quarantine has affected our friendships—and what new communication habits we’ll want to keep going forward. And one author reflects on how quarantine has helped her better appreciate—and care for—her home.

And as we’ve mentioned recently: this month we’ve begun sharing previews of our Verily Yours content here on the site. If a particular edition piques your interest, we invite you to start your free trial to access not only that article, but also all past and present content on our new Verily Yours Collection website.

What silver linings have you noticed in this different pace of life? Tell us here