As everyone starts moving on from the pandemic, I’ve recently wondered what that means exactly.
It’s been two years since we’ve consistently been able to function in a normal way. Large gatherings beyond family have been rare as many people worked from home. Reduced interactions, health mandates and divisions regarding the balance for both have become the new normal since 2020.
Now we’re looking at what lies on the other side of that mountain.
Although it’s great, what exactly does that entail? Some things temporarily changed during the pandemic while others are more likely to become permanent. Jobs allowing people to work from home are becoming more common. Post-secondary education has gone online and several colleges or universities are now looking into making this more widely available. What about accessibility? Will these tools that have levelled the playing field for those with disabilities continue? With the acceleration of so many trends in different sectors, a lot is up in the air
And then there’s the personal.
Many people’s beliefs have come out of the woodwork. Not being able to interact freely has left everyone tired and frustrated, resulting in many opinions coming to light on social media or otherwise. Friends we thought we knew have said things we never thought we’d hear in a million years. Yet, here we are: The pandemic giving everyone opinions seemingly pumped up on steroids. Along with that comes a rage I’ve never seen and the belief that we all need to share it with everyone. In short, it’s become increasingly difficult for people to find common ground on many issues. (For the record, opinions are fine… not when you become disrespectful though.)
So what happens now that we all have to coexist in person again? Do we just forget the awful things we read or that were said to us? Do we pretend like we never took the stance we did in an attempt to get along again? Are the cuts too deep to come back from? I mean, it’s really easy to stick by something when you know you don’t have to interact with the other person anytime soon. As we slowly get over this hump though, soon is getting closer and closer.
Do we remember how to be social… or civil? Are we okay with biting our tongues now that we’ve gotten used to speaking up from a distance? Have we lost the ability to share opposing viewpoints or can we respect different perspectives even when we disagree? Is it always going to be so volatile or does that aggression fade away as the pandemic transitions to endemic? As things head online and become more automated, what does that do to our humanity and ability to interact?
It’s a lot to ask and I obviously don’t have the answers. I do know that I’m starting to have social anxiety though. I’m positive that I’m not alone either, so maybe it’s time to take some inventory. What kind of world do we want to create for ourselves to come back to? Who is in our social circles and how do they make us feel? Are we looking forward to being around them again and if not, do we really need to be? What do you stand for and where does it leave you in this world you want to create for yourself? What are you willing to put up with and why?
With restrictions being lifted here on March 31, it’s probably a good idea to think of these things now. Finding the light at the end of the tunnel is one thing, but knowing what you want to see upon arrival is just as important. Control what you can before worrying about the rest.
and if that makes you anxious? You’re not alone… no one ever is. Remember that.