MAY / JUNE Issue
Even with a mixed bag of headaches and
blessings that skews positive for some,
the uncertainty itself is a point of stress
for a lot of people, some of whom are far
more eager to return to normal than to
wax philosophical about changing what
“normal” ought to be.
But there’s some comfort to be found in
history: While things can certainly feel
frustrating in the moment – and in the
midst of disruption can seem to be going
on forever – no epidemic lasts forever.
They all end eventually, even the biggest
and the worst.
When it comes to the American economy,
the best metaphor I’ve come across is
that of a beach ball being held just below
the surface of the water in a swimming
pool: The harder you push it down, the
harder it will pop up out of the water the
moment you release it.
I truly believe that when this is over, those
who are talking about the pandemic like
it’s the end of days are going to find
themselves feeling very foolish. This is
not the kind of scenario that should send
people into basements and bunkers
to ride out their apocalypse with their
stockpiles of toilet paper.
This is not an apocalyptic disruption.
All the grocery stores are open, for
goodness sake. Historically speaking,
all things considered, it’s not even that
big of a disruption. What the response
should entail is patience, kindness, and
a willingness to help others – especially if
you’ve got more than plenty.
When the disruption ends – and it will,
even if it takes months – people you know
will look back on this time and remember
how you behaved.
Were you the guy who fought, Black
Friday style, over the last pack of Ramen
noodles, elbowing a little old lady and a
woman with a toddler out of your way?
Were you the guy who got online and
told all your social media friends that they
were stupid and not worth saving in the
coming societal meltdown? I sure hope
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The country and the economy will be
fine. But will you be fine in the eyes of
the people who will remember whether
you were kind or unkind in the throes of
pandemic-induced stress? I hope so.
As the Great Pause gives us all a chance
to think intentionally about our world, our
lives, and how we’d like them to be, let it
prompt you to consider what will resonate
in your life and the lives of others going
forward, after it ends.
No doubt we’re all eager to pursue our
regular activities. I’d love to go for a
walk on a public trail without having to
wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from
everyone. It would be great if I could plan
a trip with the confidence that the things
I schedule will actually happen. Mining
People is certainly looking forward to
getting back to business as usual.
But meanwhile, be sure to appreciate
the pause! That beach-ball moment
is coming, and when it does, you’re
probably going to be busy.