Living through a Pandemic
Flash back to January of 2020.
There is excitement for the beginning of the year with several milestones lined up, vacations planned, goals set, and most importantly — feeling exuberant with hope. Hope for change, hope for progress, and hope for innumerable possibilities to make a difference in this world.
Then rolls in February, and if you were following the news — it was beginning to portent of strange times to come. Still, it didn’t hit. Schools were normal, kids were starting to wrap up their quarter and heading to the final quarter to finish their school year. Scheming for mischief during summer!
Early March, starting to look ominous, and dangerous, only for folks who were following what was happening around the world. Many of us were reading the news, but it wasn’t our neighborhood, or our city, or our schools — so life went on, business as usual.
Soon by late March, it was time to don masks, and then masks off, and then virtual work, virtual schools. Suddenly the world turned upside down! So suddenly, that it was hard to keep up with the pace of what was being expected of each of us — within the family, within the city, within the country and within the world!
As the world was reeling under the news of community spread across countries, cities, home subdivisions — here is a glimpse of what was happening inside a suburban household — a microcosm representation of the events unfolding in the macrocosm.
Adults were planning their adjustments to the new style of working — setting up new workplaces, making sure backgrounds look ok on the camera, making sense of what virtual hangouts and break rooms look like, learning to manage work timings, and what it means to not have an office printer! Of course, all this while also trying to ensure that their dedication to work is not much affected by all the household routines and happenings, such as caregiving for parents, or kids, or pets. Or learning to make sense of the sad stories of losing a colleague’s loved one, or your own family fighting the virus in an ICU or a friend losing a job. It was tough and hard to navigate through the uncertainties of what this virus was, what exactly was a pandemic, and how long it was going to last, and how to run a household without getting sick. Wondering if it was possible to keep regular appointments with orthodontists, and annual exams, getting used to virtual doc visits, all the while trying to stay safe. And then the big burden of managing mental and physical health of themselves while also of the family especially kids, and pets.
Now, kids were going through their own list of changes — including deciphering what friendships meant now that you could only meet virtually, what playing a sport or lack of meant, what new virtual learning meant, what graduation meant, what going to new schools meant. Too much to handle with too little help. Yes, adults lived in the same household, but did they really have the time to understand or even observe the nuances of what the kids were going through?
This is just a very small slice of the numerous challenges and solutions that came out of the pandemic. Yes, solutions. We met every challenge with a solution — and that is one of the best things that happened with this pandemic. We fought back, without really knowing we were fighting back. We collectively became creative. Thinking out of the box was not a nice to have anymore, it became a necessity. New business models sprouted. Businesses were reinventing themselves to support the call of the universe to fight back and support the pandemic stricken world.
Nearly a year and half later, here we are — with still no end to the pandemic, but with a lot of positives to report. Nature seems to be flourishing with less pollution. Employers — forced to be more understanding, businesses — forced to think out of the box, teachers — more considerate to students, families — more connected through virtual checkins, and the list goes on. Yes, we chose to fight back the virus and develop into a more innovative and understanding culture — to lean in and to lean on each other — everywhere from the microcosm of families to the macrocosm of countries.