Welcome To The New “Normal”—It’s Anything But

As we approach our third month into an international pandemic—coupled with an economic downturn, it now seems highly likely that many changes instituted to curb the COVID virus spread will probably be here to stay. These changes will affect the way we do business, worship, go to work, communicate, how we interact with our friends and neighbors and every facet and aspect of our former lives prior to 2020. Are we prepared?

The virus which, by all accounts originated in China, quickly circled the globe and in doing so erased our old portrait of living; we now have to start anew on a blank canvas with a fresh coat of paint and a radically different picture. Our survival depends on our creativity.

We in America are fortunate, throughout all our history, inherited, promoted and fostered a rare sense of resiliency and “can do” attitudes that most other nations cannot claim. It’s these traits, and our love of freedom, success and independence, that have guided us through these recent precipitous times: instead of fumbling hopelessly in the dark we Americans—and Mississippians—have drawn upon lessons learned from our past and the examples of our ancestors; these have served as inspirational lights for us moving forward.

And, it’s not been a Darwinian survival of the fittest, dog-eat-dog progression either as we have moved through these difficult times. To the contrary, it’s been neighbor helping neighbor and communities making the effort to come together and support their local businesses in their time of need.

So what will the future hold? My predictions are these: the noble American and Mississippi spirit will remain intact and grow even stronger. It will do so, however, in a strikingly different manner in ways we are just now accepting. 

For the next several months and years, we may now be separated by shields and plexiglass at our places of business. Our children could receive some of their education online. Our doctors may now hear our symptoms and give their diagnosis and opinion over a computer while more business meetings could be held through Zoom or through other  social media platforms. When our sporting events and concerts resume, there will no doubt be new rules for the spectators.

I’m not naive enough to make predictions about the endgame of a crisis we’ve never known or even imagined in our wildest dreams would befall us. However, I do believe that many of the precautions currently in place will last for an extended period of time and our choice in the matter is this: do we adapt, adjust, make the most of a different situation and put our energy into succeeding, helping others and, maybe in the process, returning to a more recognizable way of living? Or, do we give up in frustration at learning and respecting the new ways, become depressed and bitter pining for the “old days,” and do we put ourselves and others at risk by recklessly disregarding the warnings? 

I’m betting the majority commit to doing the former choices. I know I will be.