It’s been a year since COVID-19 intruded on every citizen’s life. Some lost their job, their business, their celebrations, or their personal connections with family and friends.
Some lost their life.
We’ll never be the same, but in some ways we can be better.
Searching for something positive to come out of this—anything positive, whether big or small—brought these top five:
#5 There’s better seating at restaurants. Remember pre-pandemic days when some restaurants would seat you right next to a cluster of other occupied tables, even though a good portion of the establishment was empty? It was more efficient for the wait staff but provided little quiet and privacy for the customer. After the initial lockdown, restaurants were prohibited from seating others too closely. It took a pandemic to give customers what they want. Restaurants, please remember this moment. Your patrons will.
#4 If you’re sick, stay home. Previously, our work ethic dictated that we continue to show up and get our jobs done, even if we weren’t feeling the best. Same for social commitments. We didn’t want to let friends and family down by missing an event. COVID-19 changed all that. And it’s for the better. The world will keep turning when we stay home and keep our germs to ourselves.
#3 Parents are in charge when it comes to educating their children. There are pros and cons to school choice issues, and they’ve been debated for decades. COVID-19 escalated the argument. Teachers, administrators, school boards and unions were, maybe, a little shocked that parents would fire school districts for not offering in-classroom instruction. Across the country, many private schools found a way to stay open. It became an attractive option for some working families—families that had never before considered a private school. The global pandemic did more to advance school choice issues than any other means.
#2 We’re a stronger nation when we recognize that experts may not know everything. There were plenty of missteps throughout this pandemic. The issue of mask-wearing is one. Some of the things that experts advised were to not wear a mask because it wouldn’t help, to definitely wear a mask to protect yourself and others, to wear two or three masks because one mask isn’t enough, and to wear a mask under certain conditions, even if you’ve been vaccinated.
The worst part was being treated like children. Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted that the general public was told that masks weren’t needed, when the pandemic first broke a year ago, in order to prevent a mask shortage for health care workers. At the time, our front-line workers did have the greatest need for masks. But the citizens of this country, at all times, deserve the truth.
It’s astonishing to witness an entire country behave in a child-like way and obediently accept every change in masking and other pandemic mandates, without doing any critical thinking. Don’t ignore mandates, but do ask questions. And evaluate. It will be better for everyone—and better for our country—if we have good thinkers instead of great followers.
#1 Our “inner circle” has revealed itself as something to be deeply appreciated. It may be nice to have 500 friends on Facebook or 50 more personal relationships in our outer circle. But the ones who have sustained us during the pandemic are the 5 (ish) in our inner circle—people we see or talk to frequently and rely on to get us through daily life. We’re now more aware of who and what’s important in life.
Nobody wanted the arrival of COVID-19. Nobody will want the next virus, either. But we learned a few things this past year.
And life will get better.