Coping with COVID in the second year leaves us to question “What will ‘normal’ look like once we have a system in place that protects us from this pandemic?” The adverse impacts of COVID on our social lives, economy, entertainment, and perception of trust in the system meant to protect us will, in my opinion, never be fully reversible. Nonetheless, we are able to see how this can be a learning experience to ameliorate functioning.

Socially, we may develop a new value and appreciation for seeing each other (electronically when we must but, more importantly, face-to-face when the opportunity presents itself safely). We may also be able to see how much we look out for each other — wearing masks ultimately protects those around you more than yourself, which is why, when I see others wearing them, I appreciate that they are looking out for my well-being.

Our economy has been devastated in some ways but appears to be thriving in others. We can all take the time to learn how the economy works, help local businesses and stores (if they are still around) and appreciate how we can support each other in micro economies in our close proximity.

Entertainment, like sporting events, concerts, and movies, may have been taken for granted in 2019. Maybe you skipped your favorite bands appearance because you thought you would see them “next year”. Maybe you had plans to watch the Olympics from home as you always could but now have a new respect for seeing something live. Regardless of how entertainment was before, we can now plan to value the crowded live events as they may take on a new/renewed cherished experience. Finally, we were faced with much uncertainty and conflicting information in regards to COVID-19. The trust that was diminished as a result of these circumstances will be hard fought to repair. Unfortunately, the distrust also contributed to divisiveness. We all have our own opinions and should be allowed to express them, but if your opinion is not my own that does not make you my enemy or adversary. Trusting our system will grow with time but only if we start to understand that science and history have taught us what we see as reality and fact can change — and that, nevertheless, making the best decisions based off available facts and science will result in the least amount of negative consequences. Checking sources has become more vital than the convenience of information. Unfortunately, we live in a system that provides information that has not been checked or vetted and we now have to take the time to do that ourselves. Again, if the information you get from sources you trust is contrary to that of someone else, that does not make them evil, it simply means that they are basing their decisions and opinions off differing information than your own. Giving each other the benefit of the doubt as long as we are not compromising our own or someone else’s rights, well-being, or “self-evident” truths will result in much better acceptance.

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