America opened for business this past week, at least somewhat. But open businesses look different than they did four months ago: outside seating in some places encroach on sidewalks and streets; empty tables fill with dressed blow-up dolls or mannequins. Freaky.
I can’t help but wonder how long we will be relegated to dining with substitute humans in restaurants or if we will have them filling in at our own tables? Perhaps robots, immune to viruses of course, will accompany us to the theater and engage in a discourse of critique when the show is over. My money is on the robot to win any disagreement in symbology. Will we be wearing masks forever? Until a vaccine is developed and approved at least in a year or two or three? How different will our children be? Will high school proms and graduations ever be the same?
I have a granddaughter who was supposed to walk across a stage this week to receive her high school diploma. I also have a daughter who was supposed to walk across a stage to receive a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. They are both disappointed as am I, the rest of the family, and other families of graduates around the world. It’s not fair. The long-term effects of these disappointments are yet to be determined. Will the disappointments make a major impact on how they thrive in society? In how they use their education? Who they become? I personally doubt that there will be major impact, but the disappointment is real and only time will tell.
In the meantime, what can they do—what can each of us do—to lessen the hurt, the disappointment?
Of course, I’m a writer. My answer for almost everything is to write about the experience. Journal. Diary. Storyboards. Picture books. Whatever you choose, record your experiences. Have you had dreams throughout the quarantine? Record them. What has a day in your life looked like? Record it. What new fears have you experienced? What old fears have returned? What fears have you overcome? Record them all. In my opinion, these things are worth recording for the next generations who may experience a change in life because of a future pandemic—or some other major world calamity.
You might be thinking that you don’t want to expose your inner self, your fears, and vulnerabilities by writing them down for others to read. Let me guarantee you that we are all human, and we all have fears, concerns, vulnerabilities, and challenges. By releasing them to paper, you can free your mind for other more positive thoughts and feelings. Then you can share those with your family as well. I believe that they will appreciate knowing more of who you are and how you lived through this Covid 19.