No surprise here…I have NO idea what the future holds for any of us.
The optimist in me says “Hang in there. Things WILL get better.” The world has been through other, at the time equally daunting, challenges and somehow has always come out bruised a bit but wiser for the experience.
My internal pessimist, on the other hand, keeps muttering “The world is going to hell in a hand-basket, and no one anywhere has any idea how to deal with the situation.”
I’m old enough to know that there’s not a whole heck of a lot I can do other than “do the right things.” Not crazy about the disruption of my routine and daily feeling of uncertainty about what lies ahead. But certain previous life experiences have taught me that somehow, someway, I’ll get through it.
But others, in particular my amazing students from my previous Curry College and now my University of Tampa days, don’t have this personal “been there” reference point. They’re just starting out on their life’s adventures, and this pandemic pestilence is totally gumming up the works.
I can’t fix things, as much as I wish I could. All I can do is be “be there” for them and encourage them to talk to me when they’re feeling overwhelmed or at a loss for next steps in their lives.
Yeah, it really sucks. Companies, as much as they would dearly love to get back to “life as usual,” are just as much playing it by ear as my student friends. They’re slowly and carefully easing back into previously “normal” work/office routines, but they’re reluctant, for all kinds of good reasons, to make a definitive “we’re back” declaration.
So what do we/you/I do in the meantime?
First of all…Do. NOT. Give. Up! You got where you are because you put your heart and soul into everything you did. Believe in yourself, and believe even moreso in your ability to overcome the challenges that you will encounter.
Second…talk to others…friends…professors (current and past)…parents. Sometimes just the simple act of talking helps put things in perspective and you see more clearly what you need to be doing.
Third…go kick a squirrel. Just kidding, folks. It’s not the squirrel’s fault that things are this way. He (or she) is having enough trouble finding extra acorns to stash away for the winter!
I truly believe that things will eventually return to a modified form of “normal.” I recalled the other day a conversation I had with a student back in the early 70s when I was teaching English to the military in Vietnam. We were chatting about the current state of affairs (our school was on yet another “high alert” status due to reports that we might be attacked by enemy forces).
I asked the student if, at his age…mid-20s, he could remember a time of peace in the country. His answer, very simply, was “No.”
Wow! Talk about “normal.” For him, being on constant alert for possible danger was “normal.”
So welcome to our “new normal.” We will resume doing so many things that we have grown so accustomed to doing…only slightly differently. But we will resume doing them. And we’ll get used to the new way of doing them.
Or as Admiral David Farragut famously said to his fleet during the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.”