And so we enter a new world of social distancing, people stocking tissue paper, and limitations on how we can gather. Borders are closing, airports are shutting down, and in some countries, police and armed forces are getting prepared for handling this new situation. How are we going to handle this new normal?
- Nothing concentrates the mind more than an existential threat. At our core, we all want to survive. We will check we have the fundamentals in place and learn to live without the non-essentials we used to rely on.
- Social distancing is vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it also pushes against human beings’ fundamental need for connection with one another. Especially during difficult times, people feel an urge to commiserate, to comfort and be comforted by each other.
- We will see the best of human behavior. We will see extreme acts of kindness as our streets connect up and we look after the elderly. Volunteer networks will spring up across the country and across the world. We will witness the selflessness of our health workers who will continue to turn up, day after day, exhausted and exposed. We will owe them our lives.
- We will see the worst as well. Absolute greed as families hoard months supplies of tissue paper while others can’t find any. Price gouging. Thankfully, it will not stay that way for long.
- There will be misinformation and rumors, because these things thrive in a time of crisis. Social media aggravates this and gives oxygen to sensationalism/ quick cures. If you can, counteract the nonsense that is already spreading, and call-out the worst to get it shut down.
We have known times of adversity before. And just as we have come through those difficult times in the past, we will come through this one. It’s who we are and it’s what we do. But before we complain too much about this new normal, how about taking time to count our blessings. Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for at the end of the day. They can be simple things like when someone smiled at you.
This is the opportunity to be more thankful for what we have , to show courage and kindness and act with common sense. Our example matters.
If we do that, we will sustain, survive individually and collectively. This is the time to slow down everything, act with empathy, kindness and reflect. Not sure when we will get this again.