Back(?!) to the Future
Recently I have been hearing so much about getting back to normal. Now that many people are fully vaxxed, some small public and private events are starting up again. Along with this somewhat cautious re-opening, there is a palpable sense of urgency to move on from the pandemic. Specifically, to get back to a state of being that supposedly existed before the pandemic. But I don't actually want to go back to life before lockdown.
The pandemic wasn't just a break from life where everything went on pause. I did not go into stasis. And I can't hit un-pause now and simply step back into my former self and walk back into my former life. And neither can anyone else. Covid turned everyone's life upside-down, suddenly and drastically. This last year and a half was part of regular life. It was our life. That kind of happening cannot be unexperienced.
I am a completely different person and we're all living in a completely different world. And not just because of Covid. 2020 hosted many significant changes. The massive protests against police brutalizing black and brown bodies after George Floyd's death changed me significantly, and so far seems to have left at least some lasting impact on greater society. Just this week, the Senate approved a bill to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
In my local region we had some of the worst wildfires in years, so I acquired gas-masks for everyone in my household. We finally began compiling our earthquake emergency kit. Along with many other households, we're looking at solar panels. I grew a garden. I packed a go-bag.
There was isolation, new hobbies, holidays over zoom, break-ups, reconnecting with old friends, making new friends, job loses, births, deaths, falling in love, and new businesses starting. It's a mistake not to acknowledge how far we've travelled personally, professionally, and as a society. I want to go forward into this unfixed future as my new self.
I would like to do some of the activities I did before pandemic, like social dancing, potlucks, and traveling to visit humans I love. But I can do those things without the world rewinding. In fact, I think they will be more enjoyable now. Especially if we infuse some intentionality into how we relate as we expand the ways we come together post-Covid.
There were so many problematic things about how we lived our lives before Covid shut the world down. Let’s be clear and honest about what we would be going back to before we rush through a door into the past. A pre expansion of the Movement for Black Lives world. A pre Juneteenth is finally a national holiday world. A pre working from home is normal world. A pre wearing a mask in public to protect others world. A world before all the new skills and new priorities and new perspective gained from having to live life differently.
The myth of the Sparkling Before Time is not only a lie, it's dangerous. Millions of people believed we could make America great again by electing a bigoted rich guy who was completely untethered from reality. It will take decades (or longer) to undo some of the damage his reign of terror caused. It will not do any good to dwell on getting back to some golden age of prosperity that never existed.
Just this week I opened a letter from the Democratic National Committee written by President Joe Biden. It talked about getting the country back on track. About repairing, restoring, healing, and building. We can't go back to a place we've never been. We need to leave the past behind and create a future. I want to go forward to a place of peace and prosperity for everyone like we’ve never had before. I want all of us to go forward into the new world that is forming every second of every hour of every day we continue to exist on this planet.
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Jaydra is a human in-process, working to make the world a better place. Sharing thoughts, feelings, and observations about the human experience.