Much has happened since the pandemic began. Gradually we have seen our day to day affected by the economic recession and the social anguish that comes with it.
It was mid-December when rumors of something happening in faraway China started. Now in retrospect, it looks like a cliché end-of-the-world movie: the hearing about something wrong in an unfamiliar place, then little by little starts to grow an uncomfortable feeling that something is wrong. Those of us who watch the news regularly or follow online world commentators started to see the pattern but our heavy reliance on habit and everlasting skepticism prevented us from really believing this was going to be more than just another outbreak (SARS, MERS, H1N1 influenza comes to mind) but then, boom! The pandemic was here like never in more than a century and we were not even close to ready!
Like a game of falling dominoes, every aspect of our lives started to crumble, and just as the famous stages of grief we have been in a constant struggle with ourselves over these past 6 months.
At first, a strong denial of the situation prevailed (Bah! This is nothing. This will pass in a couple of weeks. It will never reach us.) Then, we moved on to anger; anger with where this all came from (“It’s no surprise that it came from China” “it’s China’s strange culture customs to blame!” And more unfounded things like that) Then anger moved towards government (The government is not doing enough! They should impose fines to those who don’t comply with the sanitary measures! They didn’t act on time!) and things of the sort.
After 2 or 3 months of reclusion and paranoia and when much of the economy was affected, we then started to bargain to try to get some aspects of our lives back, maybe to feel a little normal, like before the pandemic: “what’s wrong with going out for a walk, with all the precautions, nothing should happen” or “C’mon we cannot be locked down forever, it’s just wrong”. Then, the “essential” businesses returned to operations (This was somewhat necessary since our society relies on market exchange and with no means of money mobility, if the pandemic did not kill us, recession and scarcity would.) But with bargaining came the realization that maybe this would last more than we ever anticipated and depression came along with it.
So, should we just accept the new normality? Will we learn not to take for granted family, friends, work?
Acceptance is not something we are comfortable with. One of the main strengths of the human race (and the one that has allowed us to survive through history) is our ability to adapt and, like so many other times throughout history, we will emerge from these terrible times sooner or later. But let’s remember that, while it is true that adaptability is one of our greatest strengths, the other side of the coin is our historical struggle to learn from mistakes, but hey, let’s not let that put us down.
It’s reassuring to think this time will be different and that eventually, we will come to realize that this pandemic was one hell of a teacher for all mankind.