Our Changing World: 6 months into Covid

What “was” now “isn’t.” We’re traveling along a one-way street to a new world. There’s no “going back” to normal.”  This IS (the new) normal now.

Government mandates, lockstep obedience, social distancing, self-isolating, fear determining fashion. Confusing news: mass media and social media spreading mis- and dis-information, and truth as the reader/follower perceives it. Masks. A country divided: hate,  political, religious, and ethnic divisiveness. An economy in disarray. Home schooling and working from home. A new vocabulary: Zooming, live-streaming, video-conferencing, virtual everything. Most of all, new habits. Learned from fear; followed without determining, understanding, or even knowing if necessary. Once learned, sensible or not, these new habits have become…the new normal. Six long months into Covid and there’s no “going back.”  Instead, we are moving forward into an ever-changing world.

All of a Sudden

[Montrose, Colo. | By Jim Elder]

All of a sudden our world has changed. Perhaps in the near future folks will refer to the terms “BC” (before COVID) and “AD” (after detention). No matter the terms we use, our lives have changed forever.

From now on:

People may refrain from shaking hands and hugging. We may also avoid large crowds and social events.

Hand sanitizer will be a staple in purses and pockets. We’ll all become germ freaks.

We may turn from the trend of moving to large cities and instead will move to smaller towns with less people and pollution.

Folks may avoid mass transit and prefer to use their own cars. The use of automated vehicles will skyrocket.

We may no longer shove our parents into nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Arrangements will be made to help them stay in their own homes.

We may resist going to sporting events sitting shoulder to shoulder and breathing in viruses from the guy sitting next us. Ultra-highly paid athletes will diminish as fans lose their enthusiasm for crowds.

More online education options will be available. Especially colleges where distant learning can be easily accomplished at a fraction of the cost.

Straws at restaurants will be popular as diners won’t want to drink from a glass handled by food servers.

Travel and vacations will change forever with fewer flights and hotel stays and more online video conferencing.

And finally, folks will be better prepared for the next time, just like our grandparents that lived through the depression. People will have a month’s worth of hidden cash, and 6 months of expenses saved for an emergency. And plenty of staples – food and toilet paper stored for the next time we have a crisis.

2020-A Year We Never Forget

[Montrose, Colo. | By Eva Veitch]

Many older adults still recall the impact of the World War 2, the Great Depression, Korea, and the Vietnam War. Most of us remember where we were when President Kennedy was assassinated, when the Challenger exploded, and certainly 9-11 forever changed our world. Never in history has an event impacted the entire world until COVID-19. This virus knows no economic, cultural, geographic, racial, gender, sexual orientation, or other boundaries. It has impacted every human being on the face of the earth, whether directly from the illness, the economic devastation, the stress of fear and isolation, and in too many cases, all three.

We all know what we should do to protect ourselves and others; most of us desperately need haircuts and will never again let our toilet paper supply dwindle! What have you learned about yourself and your family through this experience? What will you do differently after COVID-19? I believe that this crisis will forever change our society, some of those for the better…some not so much. Will we ever shake hands with strangers again without thinking about 2020? Will we take our first responders, medical professionals, grocery store clerks, and truck drivers for granted after this? I hope not.

I know that when I am able to hug those I love, I will hold on tight and treasure those moments. I will relish going out for dinner again with friends and family, I will appreciate full shelves at the grocery store and be grateful that our local businesses are reopened. I pray that our economy will rebound quickly, that those who have been ill will fully recover, that those who lost jobs will find employment again soon.

What can we do to support each other during this challenge? Please call your aging friends, relatives, and neighbors. Offer to do their shopping, rake the yard, or prepare a meal once in a while. It is an especially difficult time for those who are alone; you can make a difference just by calling to say hello. Have your children create homemade cards or write letters. If this has taught us anything, it should be that we should never take life or the people we love for granted.

We are forever changed because of COVID-19, but I hope we will focus on how this can make us better and stronger than ever, because we truly are all in the same boat. Stay home, wash your hands, wear the masks, and stay calm.

We are not in the Same Boat

[Montrose, Colo. | Edited by Kathryn R. Burke]

I heard that we are all in the same boat, but it’s not like that. We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

Some that live alone are facing endless loneliness. While for others it is peace, rest and family time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.

Some, with the $600 weekly increase in unemployment – for those lucky enough to actually receive it — are bringing in more money to their households than they were when working. Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some families of four just received $3400 from the stimulus while other families of 4 will get $0.

Some employers just got the EDL funding. Some will get nothing and have to layoff everyone and close their doors forever.

Some people were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk, and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work, because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some publicly march, rant, rave and protest they’ve lost their freedom, while others lie desperately Ill, all freedom gone as they just wait to die.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours a day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours a day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone they love to it, and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles will save us. Others say the worst is yet to come.

We are all on different ships during this life-changing storm – each of us experiencing a very different journey, one that can change without warning. You might be floating on a yacht today, and tomorrow, suddenly find yourself  floating on a sinking life preserver next to your shipwrecked boat.  Then, along could come a yacht to haul you aboard and save you.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat, maybe not even floating on the same sea. We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

All of us who emerge from this storm, will do so in our own way. Riding it out, It is vitally important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. Not just looking, actually seeing. Not judging and blaming, but understanding and offering compassion.