Living Post-Pandemic: Venturing Out

This crisis may have shifted our consciousness forever.

Posted Jun 03, 2020

I believe what Dr. Anthony Fauci said is correct—that we will have another wave of coronavirus in the late summer and fall. I also believe the emotional fallout from this first life-altering as well as life-threatening crisis has already shifted our consciousness permanently.

Unfortunately, even though many states are opening up, people are still scared or, more accurately, traumatized. This can’t be wished away: We are here and we have to deal with this plague, no matter what.

Maybe we will end up calling it Post-COVID Depression Syndrome, because it is going to be hard for many people, especially those over 60 or with compromised immune systems, to connect with their loved ones and just be around other people. Loneliness was already at epidemic levels before COVID-19, killing more people than heart disease and obesity.

Although we need companionship desperately, we are of the new mindset, “Why take the chance?” I don’t need to see the Eagles again, and movies at home are just fine (I’ll add another streaming service or two). I won’t go to a restaurant for a sit-down dinner because it just isn’t comfortable to be served by someone wearing latex gloves and an N95 face mask, or worse, only a cloth mask.

I’m also not enticed by the idea of anyone else preparing my food right now, and I’m not alone. As much as I support the local economy, there are some things that just won’t feel comfortable for quite a while, like going into the music store and playing 10 different guitars just for fun. Nope, I don’t want to have a half-experience, so instead, I will just pass and, again, I’m not alone.

The new normal, like the post 9/11 one, will change our lives forever. Some doctors who are on the leading edge are saying that it could be three years of illness until this virus is under control with treatment and vaccine.

Unfortunately, there are many people who will not abide by the new physical distancing rules and precautions. They are unmotivated because they believe this pandemic hasn’t touched them, but it truly has touched us all. Los Angeles County will remain semi-closed until July 31. New Hampshire is also going very slowly, and I think that this is the absolute right thing. We do know how to control this through physical distancing. People want to and should be allowed to work, but the way we work has got to change even more than it already has. I am totally willing to be wrong here, but better to be safe than sorry. You can’t rebuild if you aren’t here.

Adjusting to change starts with awareness and creativity. For example, a restaurant in Amsterdam has created individual glass rooms for those dining out. We have adjusted medically, using telehealth as the primary means of communication between doctors and patients, many people who have been working from home have the option to continue doing so, and there is always curbside pickup.

Although we have to change our lives for a while, some of the changes are for the best. Most people didn’t wash their hands enough and had less-than-adequate hygiene habits before this pandemic, and now that’s getting better. The new normal will evolve, and we will continue to adapt, because that is what we do. As the Marines like to say, “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome,” and I think we all just got drafted into the COVID esprit de corps.