I have a suspicion that as soon as the “social distancing” rules begin to lift, most adults will race back to life as it was before the epidemic. As best they can. As best they can. As best they can.
For many, that won’t be very good. Jobs gone, businesses folded, homes lost. It breaks my heart.
Others will drag their feet. They know already they don’t want to go back to the way things were. People who are introverts and were able to work from home, for instance. It’s possible that some who lost jobs don’t want the old jobs back — however strapped for cash they find themselves. They’ve had some time to imagine other possibilities, maybe to see what it feels like to be free.
All of us are discovering things about ourselves and about our world we didn’t realize: how quickly the environment can bounce back if we quit polluting; how good it is to spend time with our children without the time constrictions that were everywhere before; how much easier it is to engage with the outdoors if we don’t have to commute. Some of us may be discovering that the structure of our pre-Covid lives helped us keep our lives on track.
We’re also learning how reliant we are upon people we may not have paid much attention to before: clerks and stockers in stores; gas station attendants. High on the list are first responders, nurses, doctors and the folks who work in nursing homes keeping our elders safe.
All of the realizations each of us experience are going to have a profound impact on our post-Covid world. I can’t help speculating about how things will shake out.
Will the Powers That Be decide that universal basic income is a necessity rather than a pipe dream? Will working at home become the norm for office workers, with only an occasional trip to the office? Will the temporarily increased pay for clerks and fulfillment workers stay elevated (I hope so, I really hope so)?
What outcomes I can’t imagine will become reality?
Wars are still raging in some parts of the world. How will the combination of war and pandemic affect those areas?
How is this peculiar time affecting children? Will they rebel against returning to having every moment scheduled to death or will they eagerly re-embrace the old structures?
How will this time live in their consciousness as they mature? When they begin to step into adulthood, what changes will they feel called upon to make in the old order of society? How will they remake the world? I am eager to know!
Will they consider shutting down society because of a pandemic a worthwhile move … or not? Will they decide the changes Covid engendered was worth the disruption?
I realize there is a lot of fear in many hearts right now. Many, many people are suffering in various ways, but the kind of change we are experiencing normally comes about because of war. I am grateful there is no blood in the streets, no bombshells, no screams (except where wars were already going on, and some of them are experiencing cease-fire — but perhaps this time will help resolve those conflicts). I am sorry for the misery.
We are in the midst of the messy part of breaking down old structures. I don’t believe anything less than this could have accomplished that. We have an opportunity here to build a new world.
My curiosity engine is full open to see what is to come. How about you?