The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us all in varying ways. If we just consider the experiences within our own social circles – our families, colleagues, friends near and far, the school teachers that we may know, the service providers some of us have known for years, the often familiar faces of employees at the stores we frequent, and the restaurants we might miss – the makings of stories both happy and sad are being archived in our memories.
There are positive changes that might last.
Who doesn’t like home cooking? The crisis has forced many people to cook more at home and many families have gained a new appreciation for the tradition of sitting down together almost every night for dinner. The restaurant industry may be forever changed even after the crisis is over, and take-out orders – often referred to as “TOGO” these days, could remain more popular than before the crisis – and that too is part of the appreciation of eating at home.
Have you visited family “virtually” – using video conference tools such as Zoom or Facetime? Not being able to visit family in person is one of the most awful aspects of the crisis. Phone calls are important – but seeing one another’s faces while chatting can make those calls more meaningful. After the crisis is over, tools like Zoom and Facetime will likely remain popular, especially when staying in touch with family and friends that are not local.
How about more time in the great outdoors? Going to the fitness center to exercise during this crisis might not appeal to you, but how about spending more time outdoors, where it’s much easier to adhere to social distancing guidelines? Bicycle riding has gotten more popular – so much so that many bike shops are having trouble meeting demand for new bicycles! Our friends and family up north will have winter weather to contend with – but the habit of outdoor exercise, which could be as simple as a walk in the neighborhood, will be one that will continue for many.
Did you know that recreational vehicle (RV) sales and rentals have increased during the crisis? Vacation travel has certainly been impacted by the crisis and concerns about air travel, staying in hotels, and eating in restaurants have prompted many people to try out – or jump in with both feet – vacations in an RV.
There is heartache too.
In this crisis, we all know people who have experienced stress, heartache, and even tragedy. By now, more than six months into the crisis, I suspect most, if not all the people in my own broad social circles can say they know somebody that was ill with COVID-19. I know people who have been furloughed from their jobs because of the crisis and college student-athletes that have had their sport eliminated at their school. Parents and grandparents have shared concerns about how this crisis is negatively impacting the educational progress of the children in their families. I know people who have not been able to visit parents, grandparents, uncles, and other family members in nursing homes. I have talked to retired people living alone, struggling with depression from being socially isolated – unable to attend church, socialize at their clubs, go bowling, etc. I am certain you all can share similar experiences.
We all know this too shall pass.
People throughout history have proven to be resilient – and that’s important for all of us to remember as the world gets through this crisis.
Years after the COVID-19 crisis is over, many people will have stories to tell younger people – even future generations, about what they experienced in the once in a hundred-year global pandemic. Some stories will be sad – others will share joy. As we continue to deal with all the challenges in this crisis, let’s all remember to try to bring a little happiness to the people in our lives. That too can produce some positive changes that might last.