In the midst of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, lives have been turned upside down and it SUCKS. There’s a lot of fear and anxiety in the country right now across all age populations. People are being told to work from home and avoid and/or minimize social interaction. Trips, conferences, concerts, large (and small) events, and weddings are being cancelled or postponed. Church services are being offered online rather than face to face. Not a single roll of toilet paper can be found in the stores. Bread aisles are empty. Eggs, meat, and milk are scarce in grocery stores. Restaurants are being forced to offer take-out or delivery only. Small businesses are being hit HARD. Schools are closed. Rush hour traffic isn’t even a thing anymore (I experienced it firsthand today). Public “curfews” are being set. Every single corner of our lives is being impacted.
I get it. This is a scary time. What’s most scary about all of this is we can’t see an end in sight. We have no idea how long students will be out of school for. We don’t know when (or if) restaurants will be able to open back up anytime soon. Nobody knows when social distancing recommendations will end. Families don’t even know when they’ll be allowed to visit their loved ones in assisted living communities. Nobody knows if high school or college graduation will happen in upcoming months. There is so much unknown and that’s frightening.
There’s no good timing for a public health problems. There’s no good time for events being cancelled. There’s no good time for business owners taking financial hits. Simply put, there is and never will be a good time for anything like this.
As I reflect on what this last week has been like for myself, my family, my peers, and my community it’s hard not to be fearful of what could happen in the next 24, 48, or 72 hours. So much has happened in a week that even the best of fortune tellers couldn’t predict what’s to come.
My semester – the final of my semesters in grad school – has been turned completely upside down. The remaining weeks of this semester will most likely be spent virtually. There’s only so much you can learn through a computer when your future career is entirely hands-on with clients. Fieldwork placements have been cancelled, halted, or postponed and that’s the one thing we all need to complete our degree. Will my cohort still remain the “class of 2020”? I’m honestly not sure. Would there ever be good timing for any of this? No.
My family…. I’ve spent time offering a helping hand to my grandmothers. Offering to go grocery shopping seems like the littlest thing I can do to help them out right now. Our family business has had to adapt to the changing regulations for human interaction. We are now operating on a 3-person limit in the store at a time with offers for curb-side and pick-up services. The topic of filing for unemployment has come up in conversation with my family and Josh because of the ever-changing rules. My cousins are missing out on sports seasons, senior year joys, and all the other fun (and responsible) stuff you do as high school and college students. My heart aches for the high school, NJCAA, and NCAA student-athletes who aren’t able to complete their seasons, especially for those seniors that have been working so hard to go out with a bang. Would there ever be good timing for any of this? No.
My peers…. let me start off by apologizing on behalf of all the young adults who didn’t take responsibility for warnings for social distancing this past weekend by going to bars, clubs, and other large social gatherings. These people may be the reason we now have curfews, that restaurants/bars are only permitted to offer take-out/delivery. You may not be in the age-bracket as a “vulnerable population” but you sure as h*** can carry it to someone that is. It is embarrassing that people didn’t take this seriously. Because of such irresponsibility, along with the developing guidelines by the CDC, our country has essentially been forced into a lockdown.
The community…. living in a South Jersey county in which everyone knows everyone somehow or another is a blessing in these trying times. Businesses are working hard to support each other. People are working hard to support businesses. Facebook groups have been established to enhance connections within the community. I have personally started working on getting large amounts of letters/cards to be delivered to the seniors in the community who now face significant social isolation. Community events have been postponed. Fundraisers and social gatherings have been stopped. I think if we find a way to band together, in which ever community you’re from, we can make it through. Would there ever be good timing for any of this? No.
So here’s to hoping that social distancing, “curfews”, and whatever else the world will throw at us in the coming days will help quicken the progress back towards normalcy. Here’s to hoping that high school and college graduations can still occur. Here’s to hoping that our family members, close friends, neighbors, and peers stay healthy. Here’s to hoping that the community can unite to ensure everyone is taken care of and that small businesses can serve the community for years and years to come.
Would there ever be good timing for any of this? No.
Is there a good time to start making any of this better? Yes. Go do it.