You will never be the same again, life in Covid-19 Times
You Will Never be the Same
You will never be the same again my friends. The world, and by default you, have forever changed. When your children are old they will tell their grandchildren about what it was like in Covid Times. How they survived the great pandemic, the things they saw, the things they did. You are living in this moment through utterly historic times. There has not been a truly impactful global pandemic in over a hundred years. No one knows exactly how this will play out, if they tell you they do, they are lying to you.
But our lives have already completely changed. I was thinking about this today as I was walking along the beach in Pacifica. With social distancing being the order of the day, I found myself carefully working to maximize distance as I went by people. I looked with extreme judgement at the people obviously flouting the rules of social distancing. Even stopping to take some photos, I put my arms on a railing and immediately thought about the need to avoid surfaces, to wash my hands as soon as possible. I wanted a Friday treat, thought about getting a pizza, or maybe just a Coke. But I opted instead to come home and raid my disaster supplies for a box of pasta and treated myself to pasta for dinner. I made that call because I decide the treat wasn’t worth the risk of interacting with people.
I sound paranoid don’t I, well I’m a diabetic, with high blood pressure and a heart condition, I’m 55 years old. As such, with those co-morbidities the virus is a higher risk for me. But as this pandemic continues to spread we will all begin to think this way, it’s just plain common sense survival.
How has the World Changed
Work has changed for many of us, at my community college there are no face to face classes while this proceeds. Teachers who never thought about, hell who utterly disliked the idea of, teaching online now are doing it. I have an 80+ year-old part-time faculty member who is learning many, many new things. We’re learning how to do everything virtually, I’m spending hours every day on Zoom meetings, some with video, some just on the phone. Email, phone, Zoom, text all happening nearly simultaneously is how I spend my days.
It’s finally getting real
This is all just getting to be real for people, today I found more and more of my faculty and staff needed not specific questions answered, but just someone to talk with, to make a connection. I know my extroverted friends are struggling a bit, the worriers in my life are starting to max out. I’m fortunate in some ways, first I’m a bit of a prepper, I’ve been thinking about and planning for something like this for a long time. I have all the things I need stored in my house and as things started I quickly added to my supplies. I’m also a really large introvert, I spend a lot of time alone. At my job, the thing that wears me out everyday are all of the face to face personal interactions I have to engage in. Without those, I’m actually less stressed at the end of these days even with the level of stress we’re facing making lots of really fast and important decisions.
This disease will impact us all, friends and families will get ill, some may die. If the worst of the projections come close to being correct, because we don’t shelter in place appropriately, you will know a lot of people hurt by this disease. Kids growing up now will be permanently marked by having grown up during this pandemic.
Covid-19 has always been a greater threat to the global economy than global health. Like the SARS epidemic before it, this coronavirus will make many, many people sick, it will kill a lot of people, but likely not to the levels that the flu does, especially not the Spanish flu of 1918. But it’s a novel virus, it’s new, we have no immunity, we have no vaccine, any vaccine is optimistically a year away. According to disease experts, what truly brings us through this is a significant number of people becoming ill, recovering and gaining immunity, combined with a vaccine. The same combination that protects us from the flu every flu season. So until we reach an effective level of herd immunity we will likely be sheltering in place, maybe three months, maybe 5, maybe 8, no one knows for sure. Sheltering in place also slows the disease down, helps hospitals be not so overwhelmed, which in turn means more people with better care and more people surviving the disease. It seems somewhat surreal to even be writing this.
The Threat to the Economy
The economy is going to take a massive hit, businesses will fail, unemployment rates will be much higher than they were just weeks ago. We’ve seen the stock market, until a couple of weeks ago on the longest winning streak in history, suddenly take daily record hits in a negative direction. The Dow Jones has seen some of it’s biggest one day losses in history. The market’s gains of the last three years are gone. This will impact a lot of people’s retirements and retirement decisions. I’m already making different financial decisions based upon the way this disease is impacting the world and the people I care about. A lot of people will take financial hits, some will be broken financially. I imagine after the great pandemic has passed, we will do business differently, we will view trade and education differently. It will change the way we address health care, debt, and just about everything else will change. Some new businesses will also be born, innovation will spike, people with the means who invest correctly will become rich because of this situation.
We are all different now
We are already thinking different, working differently, shopping, connecting, exercising and even spending and saving differently. Hell some people are apparently going to the bathroom differently, how else do you explain the massive runs on toilet paper. We are living through historic times. So what do we do?
What do we do?
First of all don’t despair, worry is the enemy of happiness, despair doesn’t do anyone any good. This will end, this is not our new forever, just our new reality for a time. So it’s time to think like marines and follow one of their mottos; improvise, adapt and overcome.
We’ll have to improvise, at work, in teaching our children, we’ll need things we don’t have or can’t get, we’ll have to improvise new ways to do things we’ve always done in different ways. I hope you all have plenty of duct tape, seriously, that stuff is amazing.
We will have to adapt to our new reality. This is as much mental as physical. I hear an interesting interview with a man in Wuhan who has now been quarantined for months. He talked about having more difficulty going to the store, where he might have to deal with people, than he did being home alone after so much time isolated.
Overcome, we will overcome, should I have made that we shall overcome so we could burst into song? We will face this challenge, find new ways to live and do the things we want and need to do. The overwhelming majority of us will survive this challenge, some by avoiding and some by going through and surviving Covid-19. Eventually, given all the money, energy, support and effort being put into finding one, there will be a vaccine. Humans when appropriately motivated and pressed can be absolutely amazing. Scientists rock and like they have many times they will help save the day. Life will slowly get back to normal, well to a new normal anyway.
Friends, I suggest you document what’s going on. Keep a journal, take pictures, make videos, your young children, your future grandchildren, hell historians will appreciate it. Write about it, write about how it feels to go through this, it will help you and it will be fascinating for people to read in the future. It will be painful and beautiful for you to read and remember what it was like. It is overwhelmingly likely that no one alive today, will every go through a full blown global pandemic again in their lifetime. There will be a definite, life before, and life after the great pandemic, much like there was for the Great Depression, WWII, the assassinations of both Kennedys, Martin Luther King and 9/11.
While we’re in this it’s important to practice self-care. You not only have to take care of those around you, but also yourself. You’re of less help to those people if you’re wired and burned out. So find those moments for yourself. Maybe that’s early in the morning, or late at night, but find a spot and do something for yourself. Take a bath, read a book, meditate, eat a little chocolate, find a way to laugh. Take spots during the day, each day, to just stop and breathe. Even if it’s only the time to stop and take three deep breaths and let the tension drift. There are lots of meditation and nature videos on the web that you can just listen and relax to for a bit.
Helping others will always make you feel better. This is a really easy time to be able to help others. Even if it is just by checking in on someone, the elderly person down the street, a relative or even a friend. I’m making it a point each day to reach out to someone different, to connect in a real way. Not just a hello on Facebook or by text, but really connect, a full chat or even go old school and make a phone call. Let’s use this time to reconnect to people we’ve lost a little bit in our lives and remind ourselves and them of our connections.
Don’t forget to celebrate!
Don’t forget to celebrate! Celebrate everything! Any reason you can think of, make some stupid party hats, create a fancy snack, do shots of kool-aid. Do a Facetime, Zoom or Skype happy hour with friends, do a Netflix Watch Party. Have a it’s Wednesday party, stop everyday at 11:11 and pretend it’s New Years Eve.
Get better! Read, exercise, develop better eating habits, research out of where some pirate might have buried their treasure and then go search for it when all of this is over. Design the ultimate vacation to take when things get back to our new normal. Learn a new language with a free app like Duolingo, play that guitar in the closet. Invent a new story, maybe you’ll become the next JK Rowling.
As with everything, our attitude is everything. Keep yourself positive and if you find yourself slipping reach out to someone who can help. If there is no one else, reach out to me, Happinesskane@aol.com. I’ll be thrilled to chat with you and help you raise a smile, it will make me feel good as well.
And while you’re home here’s a post with literally hundreds of thousands of things to do. Gallery tours, concerts, images, videos, activities for kids, free digitized books, free audiobooks and couple of pretty pictures thrown in for good measure.
I absolutely know you can, so have a happy day my friends. ~ Rev Kane