Will The End of COVID-19 Start A New Chapter In Your Life?

New chapters can be energizing, or they can be a walk into the unknown.

Photo © Sean Lemons

heard someone say the other day that COVID-19 was the beginning of a new chapter in her life. It made me reflect on all the new chapters that I’ve experienced in my 68-years.

It’s possible to have an infinite number of new chapters in your life. I’ve had many. Among them, surviving a disastrous too-young marriage. A second marriage and the birth of two children that forced me to grow up. The severe head-injury suffered by my youngest son was emotionally devastating to my whole family. It included years of loving rehab … and financial ruin. And then there were major household moves across the country — each one a new adventure. Each one a new chapter in our lives.

But COVID-19 as a new chapter is much different.

I can see how this pandemic might give birth to a fresh start for the country, and if it does, what will this look like for us individually?

Economically, it’s going to be a hardship for many. That’s a given and something that I’m not going to comment on here, except to say that however the economy is broken, we will fix it. We always do.

More important to me is how will this change the lives of the people in the hardest-hit countries, including my homeland, the United States? How will it change us collectively, and individually?

When the Coronavirus first hit it felt similar, in my mind, to the experience of going through a Florida hurricane. At first, there are warnings on the evening news. Then government officials step into the media expressing deep concern for our safety. They deliver advice on how to protect ourselves, and they talk at length about the work they are doing to keep us safe. City thoroughfares during a hurricane are practically devoid of cars, businesses shut down, empty store shelves stripped bare by the selfish, and empty sidewalks are all part of the devastation. And so it is with COVID-19.

But weeks into this pandemic, it no longer feels like a hurricane.

It’s much bigger and much scarier than the hurricanes I’ve run away from several times in my life. When you return home after a hurricane you can piece together your life, your home, and your neighborhood. It’s messy. It’s costly. It’s painful, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

How will we piece together our lives after this virus? What will the light at the end of the tunnel illuminate? What will our new chapter, our fresh start, look and feel like?

  • Will we be more patient with those around us?
  • Will we spend more time helping others in need?
  • Will we be more conscious of our cleanliness, health, and how it affects others?
  • Will we show greater respect for healthcare workers and teachers, as we should?
  • Will we be more tolerant of people who are not like us?
  • Will we ever again believe that our country’s greatness and true genius lies in its diversity?
  • Will there be less hate and violence?
  • Will there be less political partisanship?
  • Will there be less divisiveness and more transparency in government?

Or will we refuse to learn a damn thing?

I don’t know the answers, and not knowing is the scariest part. But what I’m seeing in these difficult times doesn’t bode well for the coming new chapter in our lives. At a time when we should be working toward a common goal, we are not.

I see people who still deny science by believing this virus is a hoax, including churches, politicians, and people you would expect to have more common sense.

I see hundreds of men and women around the country standing in long lines to buy guns? Will we all need to be armed as our new chapter begins?

I see drivers taking advantage of the empty freeways by racing recklessly at breakneck speeds like a clip from a Mad Max movie.

I see people still congregating in large groups at churches, beaches, and parks with no concern for the damage they are doing. The police send them away and they meet again in a new place.

I see young people who have little concern for the older ones among us — even adopting a new name for the virus: Boomer Remover.

Ignorant, careless people are a real threat to us all. They are a threat to our livelihoods, our safety, and our lives.

Rush hour, Jacksonville, FL — Photo © Lloyd Lemons

The end of the CoronaVirus will likely be a new chapter for all of us, but will it be a new, energizing chapter that will unify us and help us prosper? Will it be one that will make us better humans? More tolerant? More empathetic?

Every day we hear the mantra, “we’re all in this together”.

But are we really?

We’ll all go through the pains and inconveniences brought about by layoffs, sickness, and social distancing. Many of us will live through the devastating heartache and overwhelming grief of losing a loved one, but will we be in this together when we finally emerge from the virus and its ravages? Will we learn the valuable lessons from our healthcare workers, teachers, first-responders, and others who have given us so much of themselves already? Will we appreciate their virtue and try to emulate it in our new chapter?

I hope we will. But I’m not convinced we’ve evolved enough to learn the important lessons.

What do you think?

COVID-19 advice: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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Lloyd Lemons

I’ve been a writer of various descriptions for 40 years. Today, I write an eclectic mix of stories for curious people of a certain age.