“It’s a dangerous business, walking out one’s front door”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
If I could sum up in three words how I feel about the general state of our world right now, it’s the shift from ‘I don’t know’ to these words.
Very well, then.
To me, these are three words that speak volumes. They are used when we’ve established the facts of the matter, and it’s time to stop ruminating, to make a plan. Grieving for the people we are losing, and those that are hungry or in danger of losing their homes will go on, but now it’s time for us to lace up our boots and get to work figuring out our new normal. Grieving time for our past world is coming to an end, more or less, and it’s time for us to get on with things.
It doesn’t make what we’ve lost less sad, just that there’s only so much dwelling, in both senses of the word, that we can do.
Covid-19 is not going away. We are not going to hug or go to concerts or return to normal, mask-free life for a long time to come. A vaccine is wildly optimistic at 12-18 months, so it’s likely we’re looking at years. And while the curve is flattened in many cases, the virus has not agreed to negotiate, there’s no white flag raised. A resurgence is almost inevitable, once we all leave our bubbles.
Like those who have been subjected to a prolonged bombardment, we are emerging to both sunshine and rubble, but emerging knowing it isn’t safe to do so yet. Still, sunshine calls.
Very well then.
This is where we are. If we cannot go back, we must learn to live with it. And so now comes the endless decisions about what to do, and what not to do. And how to do it to balance our need to do things (work, school, care for family members and so on) and safety
I find myself changed. I miss restaurants and still have no desire to be at one. I miss working with my team, but I don’t see traveling to see them for months yet, maybe even not this year. Financially, we are battening down the hatches. We have hundreds of decisions to make, small and large ranging from whether to get a haircut – equal parts fear and oh please yes – to whether to postpone our long-planned house reno. I’ll probably bite and get a haircut at some point, and we will push out the reno a year. I will likely learn to cut the kids hair, at least for now. Will we go on vacation? Summer camps? Can the kids see their friends and be safe? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.
I’m watching, waiting and talking to the adults around me about the plan. As it formulates, I’ll share more. Until then, I’ll stay here with my family, and my garden. But always thinking about how and when to do what’s next.
Very well, then.