May 4th 2020

Everyone will be different post COVID19. This is probably the most truthful statement that I can make today. History has shown this to be true. Post 9/11, Spanish Flu, WWII, etc... Major stressful events always usher in a new norm. What is the future going to look like? Is it a new normal of social distancing and physical awareness? Is it a return to old habits and business as usual? Are we going to be fearful forever? Are handshakes and hugs gone? Are we mentally, spiritually, financially richer or poorer?

I can tell you this. It will be person dependent and a mix of all of the above. Human nature will return to a new baseline with those that are fearful by nature remaining so but likely at a more heightened level. Those that are stoic will remain so as that philosophical reality is unchangeable, but the interactions with others will be different as they will still have to defer to the common denominator of what is ok for the other person, i.e. 6 foot social distance for some may be the norm.

For the foreseeable future, we will likely not shake hands, not have large gatherings or social events, not share food or drink or have buffet style eating. We will work remotely more often and have more time with family. We will zoom friends and colleagues to stay in touch. We will realize that these changes are not a big deal moving forward and some changes will be great for our psyche.

It will be very interesting to see how our children respond over time. They have for the first time in their lives been stuck at home for a prolonged period of time. I do worry that nature deprivation is worsening as many children are living on screens all day long or just stuck indoors in urban enclaves. To many, this apparently may be justified by the quarantine, but I see this only partially true for urban living where heading outside is next to impossible. This is a very negative response and a damaging trend for those with access to the outside and the ability to spend time with their children. Holding the line can thwart these negativities.

Our families experience has been a net positive. We are actively involved more intimately with each other as the obligatory game, school event or friend time sink has disappeared. The effect has been beautiful as we have found so much joy in the day to day interactions of sport, board games, conversation and more. We as a family (i.e. mom and dad) chose to keep the school week rules in place despite the online school reality being less than ideal. We are not allowing video games and non school related screen time during the week. We are still expecting chores, reading, instrument playing and all of the norms of pre COVID to continue. There is a huge surplus of free time now as the school day is typically littered with a lot of wasted time that vanished allowing for lots of family events to exist.

Family mealtime is routine now where it was once hit and miss based on schedules. That change in and of itself is so glorious because the meals are homemade, nutritious and filled with lighthearted conversation if that is possible with two teenagers.

This week, I have returned to work full time again and my children are less happy. That is a great reality for me to witness. At 14 and 16 years old, they still enjoy having mom and dad around. I feel very blessed to be alive and healthy where many have suffered. I pray for the families who have lost and will lose. You are in my thoughts wherever you are.

I am looking forward to a more peaceful future when it presents itself while holding on tightly to the ideals that matter.

Silver Linings!
Dr. M