What are you calling it? Post-pandemic? In the future? When this damn mess is done? You know what I mean, that ephemeral, non-specific point in the future when we get back to normal. Or whatever normal will mean at that point. When we all peek out, tentatively, like shy forest creatures, from the nests we’ve created for ourselves, our warm, safe places, and shuffle through the dew-laced leaves to look up to the bright sky with optimism and hope.
Is it even wise to think this far ahead? Or just safer and more practical to think of the day-to-day, getting the outside things done and then scurrying back in to the safety of our own homes like the governments and health officials tell us to?
I’ve been thinking a lot about how things might be, when this is all over. On a personal note, these completely not concrete plans include concerts, events, and gatherings with friends. But the plan is only pencilled in, if it’s been made at all. Because who knows if that concert in October I’ve been looking forward to (for a decade!) will even happen. Will this all be over by then? Or will it take another year past that time, until there are treatments or vaccines?
On a larger scale, the images I have of that future time are radical and vaguely dystopian. It will be a time when we as a society abhor the rich and any outward signs of wealth because so many people were made poor(er) by the loss of jobs and income. We have realized that Greta was right and since we’re still afraid of getting sick, we travel much less, and the environment begins to repair itself. We stop buying new things, especially clothes, because we have had no place to wear them for so long. People keep working from home because they like it more and they’ve realized that all those meetings really can just be emails or conference calls instead. We’ve demanded that governments revise their policies to make priorities of reforms that help the poor, the homeless, and the sick. We’ve watched as underpaid and mistreated workforces leverage society’s reliance on their labour to demand better pay and conditions and the right to unionize (Hello, Amazon and WalMart!). We’ve put away our stupid phones because we’re just so excited to be outside, in the sun, with each other, standing closer together than 2 metres distance.
At least that’s what I’d like to see… when this is all over. No doubt I will be wrong, but I’m always a silver lining kind of gal.
When this is all over, will be we kinder? More giving? More forgiving? Less or more stressed? Will we learn lessons and make improvements or go back to the current status quo? Can there be a silver lining here? Will we come out of our nests, bright-eyed and eager, to welcome the future or will we only be able to limp along full of hurt and cynicism? Most of us never take the opportunities life throws at us. But, when this is all over, maybe we should.