These Times Change Us

Moving Along

This pandemic has changed us all, and some of the changes will be permanent. In my own case, I am obsessively following the news, especially about COVID-19 and the political scene in general. Prior to this—and especially prior to the last administration—I didn’t much bother with following anything beyond the highlights.
Why the difference?
You are probably well aware that children who grow up in abusive homes tend to be hypervigilant. It is a matter of survival; they need to know what is coming their way in order to best protect themselves against it. My household is fine. But my I worry about my broader surroundings. When the Capitol building can become the site of a rioting crowd attempting to overthrow an election, I suspect a lot more of us are going through our days with our eyes wide open for whatever may happen next.
And of course there is the pandemic. I have been less impacted by it than many, and sometimes I think of it as “noise”. It is always lurking in the background, and I am always wondering who it will strike next. A few weeks ago, I had an appointment cancelled because the professional I was scheduled to see had just come down with COVID. I was quickly doing the math in my head to make sure I had not seen that person in over two weeks. (I hadn’t.) And of course I breathed a sigh of relief, because the timing working in my favor was purely a matter of dumb luck.
The disruptions this has created in the lives of so many, likely has led a number of people to re-think their life goals: career, friendships, possibly even spiritual and religious beliefs. Even those who are young enough to feel, under normal conditions, that their time is pretty much unlimited—are suddenly brought face to face with their own mortality. If they are extremely lucky, it is the cases they read or hear about in news reports. If they are not so lucky, it can be their grandfather, their sister, their uncle, their very best friend…And of course some among us have directly suffered from COVID-19, and many survivors report it is the worst thing they have ever experienced. Some even become “long haulers,” suffering aftereffects such as breathing problems and brain fog that may wind up lasting throughout their lives.
We have, all of us, been handed an opportunity—or maybe more like a mandate—to take our own lives seriously and think hard about the direction we want that life to follow. I hope for all of you that the mark you wish to leave in this world doesn’t leave out critical elements like friendships, and laughter, and lots of fun. We all deserve joy.