In December 2019, I attended a vision board party. I gathered magazines, pictures, a poster, scissors, glue and hope to create an exciting vision board for 2020. My plans included travel, spending time with family and friends, yoga and exercise, cooking and enjoying life. My 2020 vision board is still in my bedroom. I look at it occasionally reminiscing on what could have been. Surely, I am not the only person whose 2020 turned inside out. The unfortunate reality is the COVID-19 global pandemic altered everybody's plans. Sadly, people perished, illness abound, businesses closed for good and the tragedies continue. We are still in the middle of the storm even as people are inoculated with the new vaccine. For over nine months, I have been sequestered in my home. My limited social contact with people, outside of my household, is through Zoom meetings, phone calls and social media. Life continues, albeit with new constraints. Traditionally, in December, I review my previous year and ponder on my growth, lessons learned and change. This year is no different. Living during the COVID-19 global pandemic taught me new facts of life. Let's discuss…
Medical Professionals and Scientists are Heroes
Our medical professionals are on the front-line of this pandemic and are risking their lives to save lives. Many of them work around the clock. They are overwhelmed with seeing sick patients. Scientists work diligently to discover a vaccine. We all have jobs to do. Each one of us has a destiny based on our specific talents and abilities. We all are heroes and have unique gifts to share with the world. Medical professionals and scientists play a very important role during this global pandemic. Thank you.
Technology is Important
If the world ever doubted the power of technology, the global pandemic set them straight. Could we survive without the Internet, smart phones and social media? Perhaps, but highly unlikely. Traditional face-to-face interactions such as classroom teaching, business transactions, entertainment and psychology were replaced with the Internet. Before the global pandemic, I heard of the Zoom platform in passing. After the pandemic, almost all of my social and business meetings are via Zoom. Technology is not a luxury; it is a necessity.
The Digital Divide Impacts Our Lives
The digital divide is defined as the economic, social and educational inequalities between those who have computers and online access and those who do not. Those with access are educated, financially secure and live in urban and suburban areas. People with limited access are usually the elderly, physically challenged, financially limited, live in rural areas and have average educational opportunities.
The digital divide is detrimental to the quality of life for those without technological skills or resources. According to the article, The Digital Divide Among Students During COVID-19: Who Has Access? Who Doesn't? by Robin Lake and Alvin Makori, school districts in rural areas are less likely to expect teachers to provide instruction during the pandemic. What will happen to the students without access to instruction after the pandemic is over? They will not be on the same academic level as their counterparts.
Pain is Universal
The pain of COVID-19 spreads across geography, economics, ethnicities, education and religions. No one is immune. We all wear masks. We can all get sick. We all suffer. Ripped from the headlines we read about the results of war due to our differences. Pain is the big equalizer. Everyone is vulnerable. Grief is on everyone's mind. It is painful to watch funerals from Zoom because we are not able to comfort our friends and loved ones face-to-face. Graduations are being held with half-full auditoriums. The celebrations are not like the ones before. Photographs of people wearing masks will be pages in our history books across the world. When this is over, and I hope it will be soon, we will be forever changed. We can never get this time back. The dreams for 2020 will not be realized. The missing hugs, smiles and gatherings will always linger.
If possible, live below your means and save as much money as possible. The global pandemic disrupted the economic stability of many families, individuals and businesses. Industries continue to lose money. For an example, the movie industry estimate losses in the billions. Restaurants estimate losses to be in the hundred billions. Many people who want to work cannot find work. It is important to save money. Only buy what you cannot live without until you can afford to pay for it with limited debt. Plan your life so that money will not be an issue. Save when you can.
Real Friends Will Be With You, Even During a Pandemic
It is easy to be friends with people who you see on a regular basis. These are the people in your neighborhood, who you see at your places of worship, office, etc. However, during a pandemic your real friends will be evident. These are the people who call and ask how you are doing, send a quick email to catch up on your life, organize Zoom calls or family check-ins and stay connected. Now is the time to call or text your friends. Let them know you care.
Where There is a Will, There Really is a Way
Organizations who are thriving found interesting ways to provide goods and services to their communities and customers:
· Schools offered online and virtual learning: As I said previously, some people are not able to fully benefit due to economic hardships. However, some schools are open and teachers are teaching using Zoom and online services.
· Theatres offer online plays: I cannot wait to attend plays at an actual physical theatre. However, in the meantime, I recently attended several plays online.
· Supply and Demand: A pandemic changes our wants and needs. Entrepreneurs opened businesses and sold masks. When times are difficult our wants are less important and we focus on our needs.
· Park Attendance is high: Outdoor attractions such as botanical gardens, state parks and playgrounds, with social distancing rules enforced, are popular places to visit. Nature offers a peaceful rendezvous to recharge and refresh.
· We Can Come Together: Tragedy often brings people together. When we are all in the same boat, empathy is the norm. We understand the pain of others because we are experiencing the same. The pandemic has been a strain on most of us. Some companies downsized or closed for good. People lost jobs, were furloughed or had their salaries cut. At the same time, I hear of job sharing, neighbors giving masks as gifts, organizations provide free food and financial assistance. Relief comes after every difficulty. It is beautiful to see people coming together and supporting each other at this difficult time.Synchronicity
Is living during a global pandemic an unfortunate coincidence? Carl Jung described synchronicity as "meaningful coincidences" if they happen by chance but seem to be related. About Twenty-years ago the "Y2K" problem was on our minds. Twenty years later we are dealing with a global pandemic. A new challenge on the road of trials. Like then, and now, we find a way to survive. There is pain. Heartbreak. Tears. Struggle. Still, we find a way to find away.
The pandemic came at a time of rapid change in my life. I had a paradigm shift. A new way of thinking and being. Social distancing for the last couple of months gave me more time to think about my life and how I show up in the world. The world is connected. We all need each other. As Dr. Maya Angelou wrote in her poem, Alone , "Nobody can make it out here alone.”
Tree picture: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Struggle_for_life_lost_by_this_oak_at_Deelerwoud_-_panoramio.jpg
Carl Jung quote: https://quotefancy.com/quote/1714307/David-Richo-Synchronicity-is-a-term-used-by-Carl-Jung-to-describe-coincidences-that-are
Broken heart: https://pixabay.com/photos/broken-heart-heart-band-aid-2965890/
Internet penetration map: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:InternetPenetrationWorldMap.svg