With a future uncertain and COVID-19 still with us, normalcy is an illusion. Opening strategies will change from region to region. The post-lockdown demand will be high to “get going.”
Chances are that you are a major decision maker in your household. You are considered the rock. Others look up to you and value your decisions. They will look to you for guidance in this new, unprecedented era.
With this responsibility, we need to figure out how to arrange our lives depending on our individual case. not what the media has to say. As new opportunities to venture out open, we must balance risk with benefits, on a very local basis with our family and our own best interests in mind.
Amidst confusion and contradiction, you will be required to make swift changes. You have to decide who to trust and what to believe. It’s now all trial and error, no matter what anybody says. None of us has ever been here before.
The thing about decisions is – you are going to make mistakes. Some may just get you off track a bit. Others could cause tragedy. Don’t let early mistakes cripple future decisions. You are expected to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward. There’s no time to curl up and grieve.
Your adult children are going to make mistakes too, as they navigate through the bizarre future. Those errors will hurt; they affect precious grandchildren. But everyone is weaving their way through the weeds without a GPS. As a pivotal person in your family, continue to be a safe place to land.
In recent months, we have seen and felt fear, suffering and loss, vividly different in each family. If yours included inconvenience, meals at home every day and a shortage of TP, you’re one of the lucky ones. If you have a financial foothold that will see you through, you are truly blessed. So many do not.
During lockdowns, we’ve learned the value of time to pay attention to those we love. The luxury of that free time may well disappear as we get acclimated to the demands of living with COVID-19 and proceeding with life.
RELATIONSHIPS MAY CHANGE
Some of those valued relationships may drop under the weight of the new decisions to be made. Your mom may think the kids were let out too soon. The business owner spouse may think it’s not soon enough. Civil wars could erupt in families. Be ready to defuse the rhetoric.
Think in advance of what your role may be, in the new normal. Imagine a time checkered with mask-wearing, camera-toting and the scent of sanitizer or Clorox on a hand unwilling to shake yours.
CHILDREN AND TEENS
Children were kept busy and taught during lockdown. Parents figured out how to provide continuity during disruption. Now plan for next semester. Keep an eye out for different education tools newly available or pending.
Remember how teenagers needed comfort and accommodation when this all started and their long-anticipated graduations and proms crumbled to the ground. You assured them there would be a tomorrow with new opportunities.
In the months ahead, they will need a new kind of assurance. The ground Is swirling beneath them. Help them to identify their strengths and where they can fit in as an employee or a student or both, in the new future.
Expect emotion from anger, rejection and despair to utter joy, as unexpected happenings occur, including opportunities and delays. Be ready to sooth insecure thoughts and shore up courage.
ENDANGERED SPECIES – OVER 65
Those over 65 with extra weight, type 2 diabetes, and medical issues continue to be at high risk. How many seniors in your world does that include? Very possibly the majority. You help them survive by staying away.
The silver generation has little choice but to bunker down at home. Galas are a fond memory. Grandparents don’t thrive in a culture where generational hugs are forbidden.
However, seniors who remain safe at home actually have little change from normal life. Their maturity helps. They’ve seen a lot, have handled crises before, and have more resources and resilience than you may imagine.
Sheltering in place has the most consequences for retirement-aged employees. Consider your health robust and return to work? Or take the safe route and finally pull up a front porch rocker?
This new era is birthing a major new wave of software and social media that may leave seniors in the dust. Just when they conquered ZOOM, along comes TikTok and Messenger Room.
Staying at home, many people have had the time to consider new concepts of how to live their life. Some have developed ideas on how to improve the world. Others are using the pattern-interrupt caused by the pandemic to establish new behaviors, attitudes and habits to bring into the new future.
NEW WORK CULTURE
For the new work world, skills will be sharpened – or changed – depending on where you land on the career ladder. You will see new manufacturing, astounding new software, and new global competition. Not just USA, China and Russia. Watch for other regions to pop up. Success will come from the different status and approaches taken daringly during the pandemic.
People who never worked from home found that they preferred it. This is your chance to get more of it. Others who lost their position got up the courage to offer their talents in the new marketplace as an entrepreneur. People are dragging out and polishing up former skills and experience as they recognize new openings for employment or innovation, post-lockdown.
Take a hard look at the new work culture. What are the new needs? How quickly will those needs disappear? What is likely to replace those needs? People sewed masks, made videos, delivered meals. What else can we do? Jump out of the box to think unconventionally and from new perspectives.
OLD OR NEW?
The unbelievable happening of a global pandemic shook us into re-thinking the way we do so many things. As we start coming back, do we just put the pieces back together? Or do we create a new and more evolved world that includes the values we’ve recognized anew in recent months.
Lots of decisions to make in the months and years to come about how we recover from this crisis. Be open to change. Don’t be defined by what we lost to this virus but by how we responded to it and what we gained.
BUILDING THE FUTURE
We have been sheltering in place. That role is over. Now is the time to take our place in the new world unfolding before our eyes. We can be powerful role models. We are beautifully strong souls. Let’s pilot direction for our families. We may have to be courageous and take a leap in some areas. Let’s help find a silver lining in this mess.
Make your decisions with a new vision. Not a snapshot that shows only your world in tiny focus. Rather, take a panoramic view of the diversity of age, race, gender, spirit and interests around you.
Take your place with strength and confidence – even if that confidence is a bit shaky right now. Be ready to change on a dime as circumstances reverse, loses occur and needs go back and forth
Your life is a narrative still being written. Who you are, what you do and what you say matters today and impacts tomorrow. Let’s fulfill our part in building and occupying the new future.
Annette E. Petrick