At the moment of writing Australia and various European and Asian countries are walking the thin line between releasing the lockdown and extinguishing new outbreaks of Covid-19. At the same time other countries in the world are still fighting to even flatten the curve. The call to return to normal makes us act like if nothing happened, but can we ever return to normal?
When life changing events happen, we have various options to deal with it.
We ignore it, and numb our feelings and thoughts, consign the event to oblivion, and continue life as if nothing ever happened. At the other extreme, we might make our lives change even more, such as radically changing our life style, leaving a job, a relationship, or even a country, becoming a person we weren’t being before. Or we might choose anything in between from partly numbing and ignoring to partly changing and acting upon the new act in our lives.
When it comes to Covid-19, we have seen these reactions among leaders, scientists and people. Some ignored what was happening, numbing it in the vain belief that it would pass without causing too much damage.
But as an ignored and untreated wound, it didn’t heal properly, it just got worse. Like a dormant volcano it was ready to erupt as soon as pressure would be too high. And erupting, it did.
The mess that had to be cleaned up was far worse than it would have been if we would have act upon the first sign of the wound.
This behaviour doesn’t always arise from being evil. Sometimes it is ignorance. In case of Covid-19, we were dealing with an unknown virus, with unknown consequences. Sometimes it is helplessness. Being aware that a problem is too big to handle, we might rather ignore it.
The last thing we want to feel is helpless or powerless facing a huge threat.
In that case, ignoring it, gives us temporary relief of feelings of anxiety and stress. Nonetheless, unconsciously we still might be dealing with these feeling, it causes the undefinable nagging voices we hear only when we are not numbing ourselves.
Therefore, we work harder, we play harder, we drink more or drug ourselves, we do anything not to hear the inconvenient truth, which we deep down know but not want to act upon.
Sometimes this inaction is caused by disbelief. Thinking, believing or maybe even hoping that things cannot be as bad as they are told to be.
Often this disbelief only changes when the truth catches up with us.
It happened in a lot of countries which did not prepare for impact once the wave of Covid-19 started rolling and eventually ruling the world. It happens still with a lot of people who neglect the advice of governments and scientists and expose their selves to the virus. Believing it cannot be as bad.
This is at least what the 30-years old man said right before he died of Covid-19. When someone in their circle was infected with Covid-19, they did not quarantine as advised. They had the opposite reaction, they hold a party to expose themselves all to the virus, to challenge the virus, the medical advice, and their own immune systems. They thought their bodies would be strong enough to deal with it, they thought the virus wouldn’t get them. It did.
Dancing the Thin Line
Now our countries are dancing the thin line between releasing the lock-down and releasing new sources of Covid-19, again we are facing the choice to act upon the new truth. What will we do with it?
We can keep on ignoring what happened and the fact that the virus is still around, by continuing life as it was before. Not wearing masks, not practising basic hygiene such as washing our hands and using antibacterial gel, not touching our faces, and keeping distance. We can take the risk of being infected, and as such putting others at risk as well.
As seen in Victoria, in Beijing, in Spain, and in various other places at this moment in the world, we see that just returning to normal results in increased cases of Covid-19.
We might not see the virus, but it is still around.
If we just release the lockdowns, as all these places have done, but not make profound changes in our behaviour, we will call the lockdowns on ourselves again. And as in the case of the 30-years overconfident guy, we might eventually really feel to understand what covid-19 is about.
Facing the Truth
This isn’t a plea for fear. This is a plea for common sense and for dealing better with change. We cannot simply return to normal after such a world changing event happened. Especially not because it is still happening.
Returning to normal after this, would be like a chain smoker starting to smoke again after a long transplantation.
The lockdowns were there to prevent the virus from spreading, to give us time to catch up with the virus, to flatten the curve, so our health care workers could deal with it, and no lives had to be lost because we couldn’t provide them the care they needed.
Now we caught up with the virus, it doesn’t mean the virus is gone. It means the curves are flattened and in best case bending down. It means we can provide health care to all those in need. It means we can pick up other health care tasks, economic tasks and even social ones. It means we can look at our other needs as well. But all on one condition solely: that we face, accept and live with the new truth as good as we can.
If we won’t, we’ll return to the same old. The same old as at the beginning of Covid-19 with high peaks, high mortality, and low life quality.
The same old will never be the same as before Covid-19 again.
Not only because Covid-19 changed the world during a couple of months, and will continue to do that after. And after Covid-19 it will be another virus, or another global threat. The world is continuously changing. We are able to cope with crises, to overcome and survive, but the world as we knew it, will never return.
Not only because that world has changed now, but as well because we changed during these months. Our thoughts and expectations of life, our behaviour, our life style, our work. Unlocking the lockdown will not unlock these changes.
We are the sum of our experiences, and so is the world around us.
The same old will never be the same again. We can ignore it, be paralysed, act fast upon it, or slowly, but eventually the truth will catch up on us. As it always does. The sooner we realise, and the more we take control over our own lives, thoughts and behaviours, the stronger we will arise.
The sooner we surrender to this inevitable truth, we will not only survive, we will transcend ourselves, and reincarnate of our ashes, igniting the true fire we have in us.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- How this too shall pass
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breath taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- About how Music Connects
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- About turning obstacles into opportunities
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About coping with incertitude
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
- about when the poppy flowers
- about what’s in a number
- masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
- What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
- how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
- why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
- How Spring can happen in Autumn
- How to unlock the lockdown
- Why education matters
- How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
- The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
- the remarkable rewards of health
- The queeste for global health care
- Health Heroes
- Pains and Gains
- Solidarity 3.0
- Work-Life Balance
- Home sweet home
- Real Connections
- Leadership 3.0
- gratitude 3.0
- Respect 3.0
- Humanity 3.0
- Change Management
- Economic Catharsis
- To consume or not to consume?
- Travel the world, travel your heart
- Barrels of Life
- People, no Number Management
- Back to the Office?
- Those jobs …
- Economic Growth or Green Growth
- Global trade, global fate
- Act local, think global
- A changed climate for Climate Change
- Love is in the Air
- From Fatamorgana to Oasis
- From Covid-19 to Forest Fire
- 5 Shades of Fossil Fuels
- Water, divide and unite
- Almighty Ocean
- Plastic Free July
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark time.