Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the last three weeks have been going on for at least a year. In that short time we have gone from “Penn State is going remote for the rest of the month” to “Penn State will stay remote through spring semester” to this weekend’s announcement that Centre County is under a “stay at home” order. Covid-19 has gone from something that is in far away places to something that Tom Hanks is recovering from to something that has claimed the lives of people that I have admired (Terrence McNally and Joe Diffie, with John Prine likely to be next). The progression is frightening to say the least..
Every day we wake up to more bad news and new challenges (for example: where am I going to store all of my recyclables until curbside pickup resumes someday?). During times of great challenge, one learned skill towers over all the rest as being important right now: adaptability. We are in an unprecedented time right now, as our new normal evolves daily. Online law school seemed impossible only a month ago. Now we are doing it. Virtual happy hour was never a consideration before. Now it is the social event of the week. That meeting that could have been replaced by an email? It has been. Unnecessary items are no longer being purchased. Unnecessary trips are not being taken. Gasoline is cheaper that it has been for a long time, and nobody is driving their cars. Within a few weeks life as we know it has shifted dramatically. And we are DOING it!!!
With “I’ve always done it this way” removed as an option, we must replace “I can’t” with “How can I?” Creative juices are flowing for everyone as we explore new ways to do just about everything that used to involve person-to-person contact. As I work from home, everything I used to do with paper is being shifted to electronic versions (and the trees will thank me!) Senior citizens are learning online bill pay and mobile check deposit. Elementary school kids are learning online education. Parents are learning how to balance working from home while taking care of their kids. Sit-down restaurants are learning how to offer take-out and delivery efficiently. The reality that this is not a short-term scenario, and that we really are living in what often feels like a scary movie, has kicked in. And we are adapting. We are DOING it!
Life will continue to throw you curve balls, long after Covid-19 is a thing of the past. And you will have the most important skill to deal with them: adaptability. Most of life’s curve balls will NOT be life-altering historic events like the current one. But the skills you are learning from this will carry you through quite well. We are DOING it! WE ARE!!