I told my partner that I may need therapy when this is all over. I think many of us will. I’ve had to confront some thoughts—some corners of my mind—that I didn’t know were there. I’ve faced some thinking patterns I didn’t know I was capable of. Having the entire economy shut down and not being able to see my friends for what will eventually be months and worrying about my income and fearing death…has really shined a light on some of my psychological weaknesses. It’s turned out that I wasn’t as brave as I thought. I wasn’t as resilient as I thought. I wasn’t as chill as I thought. I feel like I’ve now seen things I can’t un-see and know things I can’t un-know about myself, and about life.
“This will be a very interesting lesson for your generation,” my mom said. “I think you’ve felt very safe—invincible—but my generation knows things can get ugly and nothing is ever really stable.” It’s a lesson I’m not necessarily happy to learn, but have learned nonetheless. We really were all just running around, having fun, having our ambitions, doing what we wanted, never really thinking about the fact that something as simple as a non-conventional type of meat sold at a market thousands of miles away could mean that half of the country lost its jobs and the hospitals would be overrun and undersupplied in a matter of weeks.
I know we struggled to believe it because we wouldn’t believe it until it was too late. The world couldn’t really grasp that life had to come to a screeching halt. We get it now, but the damage has been severe since we took so long. I think we’ll be forever changed by the coronavirus in many ways.
Cruise ship terror
Will you be booking a cruise ship trip any time soon? Even if every medical professional promises us that the world is completely free of this virus, would a cruise ship be your first choice for recreation? Or even in the top five choices? We’ve now seen how when one person gets a contagious illness on a ship, everyone can get it rapidly and that ship can be condemned to stay at sea…for months.
I now look at airplanes as airtight virus-carrying vessels, just shipping deadly pathogens across the planet at an alarming rate. The thought of being inside one, and then learning that someone inside that vessel that I cannot escape is sick…gives me nightmares.
Never trusting a cough
If I have plans with a friend who so much as coughs on the phone while driving to my place, I’m going to tell her to turn around. If my partner and I are having a couple over and there is even mention that one person was vaguely not feeling well a few days ago…double date cancelled.
Moving our business online
We’re probably all scrambling to find new ways to make money online if and when we can’t do so in-person or at physical locations. We’re probably all trying to expand our usual business and see how it can translate into the cyber space, since that may have to be just what we do every year for a few months.
Developing a backup skill
Some of us may be developing a backup skill, if our usual jobs just must be done in person or at a physical space. It’s not like, for example, grocery store cashiers can do that online. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of individuals are learning other skills right now like accounting or PhotoShop.
Those who didn’t have much of a nest egg have probably developed some fear at this time. They’ve probably learned how important it is to save, because you never know when a global pandemic will mean you just can’t make an income for several months. In addition to other surprises expenses life throws our way, now there’s the coronavirus.
I was pretty worried to discover how few non-perishable foods my partner and I had when this all started. If the supply chain had fallen apart a few weeks ago, we would have found ourselves with nothing more than three cans of chili and two tins of tuna fish. Yikes. I’m never letting that happen again.
Fear of international travel
We’ll probably all be doing some in-depth research on contagious diseases in any place we want to travel to, moving forward. I’m generally afraid of international travel now, and would want to follows the local news closely for a while of any place I wanted to visit, before booking my travel.
This whole situation has put me off from culinary curiosity. I don’t want to try any sorts of meats or seafoods that aren’t widely eaten and haven’t been widely eaten by humans for a long time. I used to be pretty adventurous when it came to foods, but now, I want to keep it pretty vanilla.
Living bigger in the summer
I’m personally afraid that this will be a yearly thing—that we will have COVID-19 season. And during that time, we’ll all bunker down again, hiding away in our homes, watching life once again come to a halt. Perhaps we’ll all live even bigger now during the summer, when we feel it’s safe to do so—going out more, going to more concerts, and doing all the things we want to do while it’s still safe.
Chasing goals hard in the summer
I also feel a big fire lit under my butt now when it comes to my career. Once the economy reopens, I feel like I need to chase my goals at full speed ahead—quadruple the speed of before—for fear that I’ll have to pause again next coronavirus season.
Getting our vaccines more
Something tells me that those who slacked off on getting their regular vaccines in the past will be on top of it now. Now we know so much. We know that if just one person picks up something contagious, the entire world can come falling to its knees. And nobody wants to experience the coronavirus. Hopefully a vaccine is on its way (though apparently it may take 18 months), and we’ll all be encouraged to get all our necessary vaccines.
We’ll be germophobes
I know I will be. I may continue to wear gloves to the grocery store, long after this is over. I may never shake another stranger’s hand. I may avoid public transportation at all costs and not touch handrails on stairways and escalators. I may disinfect every surface of my home every day for a long time.
Monitoring the news closely
I never used to monitor the news the way I do now. Maybe that’s a sign of my generation. My parents and their parents always watch the news—they watched it daily long before the COVID-19 outbreak. But now, I watch it several times a day. I feel compelled to watch it forever now, in case of any more reports of any more new viruses.
Fear of crowded places
I don’t know when I’ll feel safe again going to a movie theater. Or a concert. Or a music festival. Or a house party. Or a carnival. Or a sports game. Or a popular museum. It seems like walking into a crowded place is just asking for trouble. I used to see it as exciting, because I’m social, but now I see it as a risk.