A changed – but familiar – world

I was thinking today about how much the world has changed in such a short span of time. There haven’t been many generation defining events in this country – the death of President Kennedy, 9/11 – but this is one. This virus will be remembered. My children will likely remember it as the year they got an unexpected vacation and didn’t have to take standardized tests. I will remember it as much more than that.

This self-imposed isolation, for many of us, hearkens back to the Depression and the World War 2 sacrifices that those on the home front experienced. IN a very small way, we are being called on to band together (in our separate homes) and do what is right for hte good of the nation and the world. Now, like then, there are shortages of needed supplies – food, masks, and especially toilet paper (which is inexplicable because it’s a respiratory illness, not a gastric one) – and ordinary citizens are being asked to pitch in and help make masks and sacrifice some of their comfort for the sake of the most vulnerable among us.

I am a student of the WW II home front. Now, as then, we need to start using up, wearing out, making do, or doing without. We can’t go grocery shopping like we used to. Even if we could, grocery shelves are bare more often than not. People are hoarding and trying to profit from misfortune, and it has ever been thus. But those of us who are trying to do our best to be mindful of others are finding ourselves without normalcy. Without access to our usual brands, to our usual pastimes, to our usual routines. This can be difficult to navigate.

As an introvert, I have a mountain of books and craft supplies to keep me occupied as well as movies and family to talk to. There are many who are’t so lucky. There are those who still have to go to work to make the country function, putting their own health on the line for those of us at risk. Doctors, grocery store employees, nurses, restaurant staff. Many of these people get paid the least and don’t have the professional protection that the rest of us do to stay home when they are sick or to care for those who are. Let’s try to be a little kinder to them than normal because they are what stand between us and a true dystopia.

Now is the time to figure out a DIY skill. Now is the time to use the good craft supplies. Now is the time to reach into the back of the closet, dust off your sewing machine and learn to make things. Create. Learn a new skill or language or dish to cook. Use this time to improve yourself in some way that will last beyond the self-imposed quarantine. If you are someone who has to work during this uncertain time, know that we are pulling together to help you. To make things easier on you and yours as much as we can, and to protect the vulnerable so that this ends sooner rather than later and much worse.

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