When things take a turn for the unpleasant, it is only natural for us to become resistant to change. While we all hope for a swift and favorable resolution to the pandemic, it would be foolish for us to think that an end to social-distancing policies would be the start of “normal.” The world is changing before our eyes and although it is tempting to keep our lids firmly shut to this new reality, it is, of course, unwise. Survival, on all levels, depends on our ability to adapt to our surroundings.
When it comes to our health, “survival” is a life-or-death matter on a personal level, and a life-or-suffer-the-consequences matter on a societal level. Our ability to adapt on a societal level depends on crucial medical interventions, most ideally, a vaccine. Research and trials into a vaccine, while the golden ticket out of this sci-fi world, is not the quickest, easiest, nor most-promising solution. Scientists fear that the development of a vaccine is at least 12 to 18 months away. In that time, we may see a resurgence of the virus that is even deadlier than what we are dealing with (this was, in fact, the case for the 1918 flu pandemic). So, because we value our survival, we must in the meantime figure out how we can adapt to our reality.
Adapting for our survival could be the development of a treatment that lessens the severity of the virus. If the coronavirus felt like no more than the common cold would we be so afraid to leave our houses? I’d hope not! The development of a treatment for the coronavirus is, of course, not as good as a vaccine, but could save many, many lives. Unfortunately, developing a treatment such as this is easily said, yet, next-to-impossibly done. Other options proposed in an article in the Harvard Gazette mentioned strategically implemented social-distancing policies, as well as, effective contact tracing (i.e. informing those who were in contact with one infected with the virus). In the absence of a vaccine, our ability to seek out and develop alternatives is necessary for our survival as a society.
A lot of us are dealing with uncomfortable financial realities as a result of social-distancing policies. In March 2020, over 10 million Americans filed for unemployment. It really is a cruel twist of fate that so many have to worry about money during a national health crisis. Knowing that the economy is collapsing and recognizing that it will probably stay down for a while is an important realization that can help you thrive despite the chaos. I think the important point is to know how to adapt to the floundering economy.
I recently saw an online article that announced Apple’s new $399 iPhone. Apple is a luxury brand and for them to push a product that is hundreds of dollars less than what is expected is a big deal. In my opinion, this was a strategic move. We all want the economy to improve, but instead of engaging in wishful thinking, Apple looked at the hard reality and adapted by making a product that still has selling potential despite economic uncertainty. A key to a successful business is working creatively and strategically in your reality. Restaurants that are offering convenient takeout/ delivery options through apps and fast service are going to fair better in the downturn than restaurants that have a static website and only a phone number to order.
On a personal level, it is important to think about how you can adapt to this unpleasant reality and what you have to offer in this scary new world. I thought about this question myself and I actually went out and applied for an online English Teacher position. As a part-time worker, I feel that job security is something that only I can guarantee for myself. So, to weather my personal financial storm, I attempted to adapt to the current times and searched for work in an industry that I hope will make it despite the recession.
A global crisis is the worst time to abandon your social life. Even with social-distancing policies, it is important to support one another and find community in this trying period. Policies that forbid us from coming together could be in place for quite some time. Instead of trying to wait for things to “return to normal,” it is so important to figure out how to adapt to the new reality and find ways to connect and enjoy each other’s companies despite the policies.
I am connecting with friends through video calls. I have engaged with more people more frequently online than I had in the weeks before the lockdowns. Meaningful relationships are important to bolster our mental health. Whether it is seeking comfort in our own communities or finding new ones online, we will be much happier if we find connections than if we wait it out alone for things to pass.
At the end of the day, we are so lucky to be homo sapiens, creatures that think and do. It is so easy to become paralyzed by anxiety and sadness, however, our sapien qualities allow us to put our thoughts and emotions into perspective. With this perspective we can gain clarity. With this clarity we can see solutions to our current problems. Identifying chaos and taking calculated actions to bring stability is how we adapt and survive. It is in our human nature to recognize and overcome problems. Even during the crisis, creativity is not a scarce commodity. I hope you, Dear Reader, will continue to find ways to support your success and happiness during this troubling time.