Coping with Change
Last month was quite a whirlwind for me, if you’ll pardon the expression. First there was a tornado that paid a visit on March 3, and now Covid19.
Like everyone else, my daily routine has been disrupted. I had a couple of classes right after the tornado, between that and the cleanup and rescue of some of my equipment it helped keep my mind off of the slow shutdown of everything around me. Of course training classes have now all been canceled, and now I am at home. Fortunately I have some things to work on, a PLC video that was in process for a customer, and remote programming work for another. But much of my planning for the next few months has been disrupted.
This week I will turn 60 years old. I am fairly set in the way I do things, and don’t react particularly well to sudden change (like the tornado) or even gradual change like I see going on in response to the pandemic. But one thing is certain, there is no escaping it. Neither of these events were avoidable, and we all have to deal with what is. In the case of the tornado, my immediate response was to go and salvage as much of my stuff as possible from my office and repair my house. These things were obvious at the time.
In the case of the pandemic and its slower effects, I have of course curtailed all of my travels and have learned how to “social distance” and carefully disinfect things. I limit my trips for groceries and repair materials to only those necessary and am careful not to get to close to others in my neighborhood. I am not particularly worried about direct exposure to the virus itself, I realize my personal chances of being exposed are pretty low, but like everyone else I am worried about the uncertainty that lies ahead. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, the market has plummeted, and the numbers get worse every day.
But like the tornado, everyone will have to respond. Life will go on after this, and people need to prepare for it. This kind of thing has not happened in our lifetimes, and it will have long term effects. Even for those who go to work every day like before, change is coming and everyone will have to manage it. For those who have to stay at home, this is a great time to learn new skills, exercise, or do all of those things you never had time to do before.
This is a view of my neighborhood from the top of a hill near my house. Where I am standing there were three large houses that were completely destroyed a month ago. You can see all of the tarps on the rooves and repairs going on down where I live, all of the people in these houses are having to deal with sudden change and gradual change at the same time. Fortunately no one in my neighborhood lost their life.
The effects of the tornado will be visible in my neighborhood for the next year or so, but the effects of Covid19 will last for the rest of our lives. The next month or so will certainly be tough, but the effects on the economy and society are long term. Many of the businesses that were open a month ago will never reopen, and society itself will almost certainly change. But this is also an opportunity for self-examination, and a chance for people to reevaluate their direction. Like after the tornado, we will rebuild and maybe even make things better.