Pundits and journalists around the world continue to wax prophetic about the innumerable ways our world has changed during this pandemic. They point out the obvious and the nuanced, the banal and the thought-provoking. The concrete and the ephemeral.
How the world will be after the health crisis–and how and when ‘after’ will occur–are two great variables that no one can really define or schedule. ‘After’ implies that there is a resolution–a medical treatment or vaccine, or simply a slow reduction in the life-threatening number of cases through social distancing and hygiene.
My prediction: the discovery of one and the discipline of the other, over a two year period, with waves of re-infection in areas of the globe who fall short in the application of either the medicine or the discipline.
No one really knows what the world will look like in 6 months. We do, however, know what it looks like now.
Trips to that already endangered species, the shopping mall, are almost a distant memory. Sporting events, weddings, funerals, recitals, graduations…Hasta la vista for the foreseeable future.
The economy in general, of course, is down but not out. The hospitality industry in particular, code red. Biotech may boom. But everyday life, when it returns, will be in physical therapy for a long, long time, with many of us relearning how to do the fundamentals without certain muscles, namely the ability to gather in groups and the confidence to, literally, breathe easy. Working from home and online meetings will be the smallest adjustments.
All this we know. These disruptions are easy to observe, calculate, quantify. Isolation. Restrictions. Infection rates. Percentages of unemployed. The dollar amount of bail-out packages.
What’s not so easy to articulate is that emotion creeping up in the back of our minds–or the bottom of our hearts. It is grief. Sadness for the loss of a way of life that now seems permanently gone.
(Perhaps everything will be ‘back to normal’ sooner than most people think. A cure, a vaccine, a treatment that minimizes symptoms of the virus…all are possible and probable in a year or 18 months. But in the meantime, we are left with this reality.)
If we can see this change as a loss, and accept it, then we can begin to move forward, not to the New, but to the Old.
I’ll write more about that forward movement in the next post. Until then, be safe, be well, and be patient.
8 thoughts on “A Sense of Loss…?”
I’m old enough that I look at life in terms of decades. If you look at the bad things that have happened to the U.S. on a national level, things like wars and economic calamities, they usually last from a few years to about a decade. Some day this too will be over. And when it is, our lives will get back to normal. We will continue to make progress and in some ways, things will be even better. Until then we simply have to get through it. We have no other choice.
This is a terrible time and a lot of people are suffering greatly, but it’s not the end of the world. Bad things happen from time to time in life. This is one of those times. Nobody likes it, but we will get through it. Life can be hard, but we are resilient and adaptable. You can’t rush the future, but you can look to it. Good luck to us all.
Thanks, Amy. Great perspective. – BGT
Important to realize, I think, that the way things were around the world at the beginning of the year (pre-pandemic) were not perfect or ideal. There is so much uncertainty, but stepping back to take a wider view has its benefits. We can reassess priorities. Appreciating small things, being grateful for service industry workers, the affirmation that celebrity culture and sport-star worship is unimportant- these are some examples.
I’m interested to see how businesses and industries rebound from this. As for personal relationships, crisis tends to accelerate the feelings we were previously unable to articulate or understand, so that is not always a bad thing either.
Very true, Elle. The changes are going to be interesting. – BGT
Overnight, the world has accelerated forward several years.
It’s a bit like living through a war. During WW2 people made the best of the cards they were dealt and found ways to enjoy life.
I look forward to going to the symphony or walking into a crowded bar or a favorite coffee shop.
In a couple years, we’ll be liberated from this enemy, but we’ll never to return to the life we left behind in February 2020.
Well said, Maurice. Thanks. – BGT
“They point out the obvious”
Sometimes, facing the obvious is a step towards a solution. During the second plague pandemic in Europe, in the 16th century, Nostradamus came up with a progressive method: hygiene. So obvious, yet no one seemed to have thought of it. Today, our mistakes are different, but not less obvious.
Good point, JL. Thank you, sir. – BGT