“Being alone never felt right. Sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.” ― Charles Bukowski
To paraphrase what I’ve said in previous blogs, the only constant in life is change, but I don’t think anyone could have prepared themselves for the change we’re going through now.
It’s late April as I write this, and I’m in my fifth week in exile, relegated to my basement “office”, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in New York. If there’s any silver lining, it’s that I can dress even more casually (if that’s possible) than I usually do and that, as a software developer, I’m fortunate enough to be in an industry that lends itself to remote access and capability of working 100% from home. Still, in the informal polls I’ve taken of family and friends in the same situation, not one person likes being home all the time. Whether it’s a difference in the level of productivity, the inconvenience of virtual meetings, or just the everyday banter, most of us would like to get back to whatever “new normal” awaits us. Casual interaction between coworkers has been reduced to online chats about what we had for breakfast and what the new best thing is to watch on Netflix.
If there’s an upside to any of this, it’s that there are lessons to be learned from this experience, not the least of which is being able to give oneself a haircut with a beard trimmer.
Technology can now be appreciated at a whole new level. Communication has always been a key component in virtually any business, but never as much so as now. Especially in this time of isolation and need for human contact, we’re thankful for tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime, and countless others. Oh, and thanks to bloggers to tell us which ones we should like better.
What we can also learn (myself included) is that this work-from-home situation, inconvenient though it may be, puts things in perspective. It’s hard to justify complaining about being displaced for a few months while tens of millions may have no job to return to and food banks are being overrun.
“The last of the human freedoms: to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Victor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and Holocaust survivor
Above all else, we’ve learned about the new heroes among us. We’ve always known about the ones whose daily lives, by their own choice, are known to regularly put them in harm’s way – the firefighters, members of law enforcement and the military. However, health care workers, food service providers, postal workers, grocery store workers (the list goes on) did not sign up for this and need to be acknowledged and remembered, even when this nightmare has passed.