Life Will Never Be the Same After COVID-19 and We Don’t Want it to Be
If you're struggling to digest that headline, you're not alone. I didn't want to accept it either, but something happened last week that changed my perception completely.
When things started shutting down due to coronavirus, I was one of the people who truly felt like we were blowing everything out of proportion. I went out to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a friend the weekend before Mayor McLean shut down all the bars in Downtown Boise. When I couldn't dine in at a restaurant in Boise anymore, I took a quick stroll into Garden City to enjoy a meal there. As a total extrovert, I really struggled with the idea of not being able to enjoy seeing my friends at the crowded spaces that have become such a big part of the way we connect with each other. I didn't want the way of life we've become so comfortable with to go away forever and the idea that it might sent my mental health into a downward spiral.
That "Life Will Never Be the Same" headline was a little easier to handle once someone compared coronavirus to 9/11. Prior to 9/11, you could walk into an airport, sit at a gate to watch planes take off and shop brick and mortar air malls without a boarding pass. In a post 9/11 world, you need a boarding pass and to go through a pretty thorough security check to get to those shops. It seems normal now. In a post coronavirus world, we may no longer use the handshake as a way of greeting someone. After a few years, that could feel normal too.
Last week something happened that made think about that headline even deeper. Half an hour into last Monday's show, I felt my watch go off. I looked down to see my little sister calling me at 6:30 in the morning. She's the one family member who's respectful of time zones and normally won't text or call me during my show. I knew something was wrong. Apparently our mom hadn't been feeling well for quite a while and went to the ER that morning. They admitted her, put her on oxygen and immediately started treating her for COVID-19. Her blood oxygen level was 80, scary below the normal 95-100 range. In that moment, the world just stopped.
I'll be the first to tell you that I'm horrible at checking in with my family, most of which lives in Ohio. I've blamed long workdays, the time difference and the fact that the phone works both ways if they really wanted to talk to me...but the truth is, I could be far better about making an effort to keep in touch. Last Monday, I just sat in my office staring at my cell phone. All I wanted to do was talk to my mom and I couldn't. She was too weak to do anything but send a quick, almost incoherent text message. On day two, she called in the middle of my show. I dropped what I was doing to answer. Day three, I gave her a Facetime tour of our studio remodel between the a contest and the next time I cracked the mic. Now we talk every day.
I don't want that to change on the other side of COVID-19. It sucks that it took a world wide pandemic to remind me how easy it is to walk away from work for just 10 minutes a day to say "hello" and check-in. In the long run I'm so grateful for that reality check, especially because she's anticipating being released from the hospital this week. I never want to go back to being "too busy" to take/make a phone call or respond to a text message from my family.
Life as we know it will never be the same after COVID-19 and quite frankly, we don't want it to be. It's taught us a lot about life and what really matters.