Adjusting to the Pandemic

Apple blossoms on trees planted in 2020.

In an effort to move on to what’s next, here’s another post about the coronavirus pandemic.

Please bear with me. There is a “what’s next” although it will be different from what we would have expected a few months ago.

The threat of COVID-19 spreading into our household had me retire from the home, farm and auto supply store. It was inevitable I would do so soon. The pandemic flipped the switch. Now I’m done with outside-the-home work except for what I do in the local food system a few hours each week.

As I pointed out Thursday, we are in the pandemic for a couple of years or at least until a cure is in place. I believe there will be a cure in the form of a vaccine simply because there are so many bright minds and dollars being invested in this work. No one knows for certain how long it will take to develop and implement a cure, so if we’re smart, we will adopt a long-term perspective in order to keep our sanity.

For our household, with two retirees, resolution of the pandemic is to retire from society until there is a cure and life returns to some sense of “normal,” if that’s possible. While phone calls, social media, video conferences and the like will be an important means of communicating, it’s no substitute for every day activities to which we are accustomed. We yearn to return to those things and validate the Joni Mitchell lyrics from my college years, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Returning to what was is not possible because the coronavirus is only the next in a series of pandemics expected as humans continue to exploit the natural environment and live in an increasingly connected society. To be resilient, our choices now have to prepare us for what I believe is that eventuality.

I don’t know what I would do if I were in my prime earning years like our daughter currently is. Our assumptions about what we are doing have to change. A simple truth is the life I wanted and thought I would have when I entered the post-college workforce was gone by the time I got there. What we’ve made for ourselves relies heavily on federal government programs of Medicare and Social Security. We are vulnerable to a major change in these programs, but so are a lot of people and I expect there will be sufficient political will to resist changes to the core programs of the pension and providing health care for the elderly.

For now, I’m working on projects: writing and gardening mostly. This in addition to checking in with key family and friends is a mainstay, one that will help me survive through the end of the coronavirus pandemic. If the future is uncertain, I am resolved to make it through. I appreciate readers sticking with me as I write to understand who I am and how we can adapt to the new world made for us in 2020.

Thanks for reading.