By Lisbeth Calandrino—It’s hard to imagine that anything positive has come out of the pandemic. Remember when you were frightened to go out of the house or to the grocery store? Or washing all your produce and everything else that you brought into the house?
People were also suspicious of friends and co-workers. Should they be allowed in your house? The man I dated for years was an essential worker, and it seemed crazy not to let him into my home, but he was dealing with hundreds of people daily. Four of my friends died from COVID-19; the thing I regret most is not spending more time with them and telling them how much they mattered.
Two years later, COVID-19 cases are diminishing, and the medical and scientific community has made strides in mitigating infections while developing better treatments for those who need to be hospitalized. While we are not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination, there are some positive take-aways we can glean from our experience with the pandemic.
Here are some thoughts:
People matter more than ever. During the height of the pandemic, the mailman, UPS driver, Fresh Direct delivery guy, etc., continued to perform their duties. Much like the first responders, many consider them as “essential workers.” The pandemic also taught us to appreciate the little things and not take anything (or anyone) for granted. In the neighborhood where I live, we decided 5 pm would be “wine” hour. We used to wave and yell to each other across the street; just seeing people made us feel better. We often talked about how important we were to each other.
Businesses changed their approach. Businesses found it important to trust their employees and become more creative with how they treated their customers. Personalization has become more important as customers sought ways to better communication with customers. Businesses also came to the realization that employees mattered more than ever.
Technology played a greater role. People who never thought they would “Zoom” learned to embrace it. Some have actually become quite efficient at it. Technology has made staying in touch with customers and friends a lot easier.
Life has slowed down, just a little. How many of us have worked around the clock and suddenly find we have a lot of time on our hands? The slowdown has given us time to think and evaluate our lives and what’s really important. Secondary communities have shown tremendous growth with people from major cities deciding that living in a rural community was desirable to their crowded city existence.
People learned to band together. Many consumer-facing business segments faltered during the pandemic, and many people lost their jobs. It was hard not to think about people who couldn’t pay their rent or buy essentials because they lost their primary source of income. The pandemic reminded me of growing up in the depression where we shared our food and clothing. In my neighborhood, everyone cooks and shares their food. This started during the pandemic and has continued.
Everything in life has a positive and negative side. The key is to focus on the positive things that will help us move forward. Now is a good time to think about what’s important and decide how we can make a difference in our ever-changing world.
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