What lies ahead? We have been collectively engulfed in a major pandemic. Most of us around today have never seen or experienced anything even remotely close to this in our lifetimes. We have read about it, and watched Sci fi movies depicting what this life might be like. For now, we do what we do best. We take it one day at a time. The talking heads tell us each night what our life will be like, and what the near future holds. But do they really know? How long will be experiencing life without a “normal” economy? Will we ever resume life as we used to know it? Will many things permanently change? If they do, how will our lives be affected? We can look to our past for guidance. Why you say? The world is different; people are different; medicine is different; technology is different. In 1918, people did not have the same access to information and the same access to medical care. But how different are we really? Sure, we have cell phones, Fit bits, GPS golf trackers, video doctor visits, UBER, and robot vacuums. That’s nice. But we fundamentally remain creatures on a planet. What we really do is live, love, eat, interact, survive, and sometimes aid others who have difficulty navigating these posts. That doesn’t change. I wake up and want to know the weather, who I have to see today, who I want to see today, and what’s for dinner. Many of us are dealing with their own survival. Some of us didn’t have to a year ago, but now we do. Everything else is just playing with toys.
So what do we do now? Fact is, many things will change, and many of the new behaviors learned during this pandemic will be with us for a while, if not permanently.
How we greet each other is probably permanently altered. We used to regularly shake hands, or, freely give out hugs and even kisses if the situation called for it. I might, for example, run into an old friend that I haven’t seen in years. I would probably give him ro her a warm hug. That’s gone. Even basic handshakes will be out, or at least sparely used.
How we do business will evolve. We have already seen a massive movement out of office spaces and an increase in working from home. Guess what? Companies are discovering it’s not so bad. A lot of overhead can be eliminated. We used to kid ourselves that regular interaction around the water cooler was an essential part of our work lives. Odds are, companies will continue to do more work from home but may require occasional face time at a sparsely used office from time to time. Enough has been discussed everywhere about changes in how we work. But what about the rest of it? We are all waiting for the starting gun to go off signaling the resumption of our favorite cultural activities. We cant wait to go back to the opera, the movies, to Lollapalooza, to a NASCAR event, to the Kentucky Derby, the super Bowl, or just down to the city to hear some Jazz. But we need to develop a method of trust. By late 2020, I might be vaccinated, and ready to go to a concert, but what about everybody else? This is not the place for me to start rattling off ideas on how to handle large events; but there are bound to be changes that we haven’t even seen yet.
We will indeed survive. Many things will be different; in some ways for the better. Bt we have to be ready for change.