A Writer’s Diary – After Lockdowns – What?

…for good or evil, we are a single people: the more we become conscious of this, the less difficult and long will be humanity’s progress toward justice and peace.

Primo Levi (July 31, 1919 – April 11, 1987)

My 72nd and 73rd birthdays were spent in lockdown which meant no celebrations with friends or family which was okay with me. As you know by now, I am very much a loner. I relish my solitude and quiet alone time, something I learned as a child. Although always a major segment of my life, in my aging solitude has become even more central to my core being and my survival. Living in a hotel and having few friends has worked well for me over the last eighteen months, six of which were spent in various forms and layers of lockdown. Weekends, evenings, entire months have been shared only with my isolation mates.

In March of this year one of my isolation mates married her partner of ten years. The wedding had been postponed for a year due to the co-vid 19 pandemic and travel restrictions as he lived in Quito and she here in Loja. Now as things return to some semblance of what was normal life before the deaths, lockdowns and vaccinations, he is torn between his job in Quito and his new life and wife in Loja. He had been working from home during the lockdowns but now his business wants him to return to the office. They are anxious to “get things running again as normal.”

Many of the larger tech companies in the US are also weighing the return “to normal” in office working conditions but their employees are fighting back. “How Ya Gonna Keep’em Down On The Farm After They’ve Seen Paree?” was a popular song after World War I and is apropos today. The employees have had a taste of freedom from the 60-70 hour work week, the long commutes, the rushed lunches and they are not anxious to return to that norm. There are those who miss the office environment and the fast pace but many have learned during these times to slow down, to cherish the solitude or time with their families. The old “normal” will not be the new “normal.”

This time is an opportunity for the nations of the world to re-examine their modus operandi and not return to the old norms which made corporations and an elite few richer financially yet greatly increased the number of poor and destitute, ever widening the gap between the two groups. There are world problem to be examined and resolved. Climate change, water and food shortages, pandemic solutions for all and not just the rich nations remain issues to be solved. Time is running out.

I hope life never returns to the way it  was. For that scenario to happen, the death of over two hundred million souls would have to be nullified by a miracle which is not going to happen. The pain and grief suffered by those who lost loved ones would have to be erased completely. That also is not going to happen. There is no going back to the way it was. The world can not be the same again. The planet has changed. It will and has to move in a direction different from its past. Whether or not we grow and transform as a human race will only be known in time. It is necessary for the nations of this world to put the well-being of their citizens and all of life before financial greed and profits. If we do not use this opportunity to grow, we will have learned nothing from the death of so many members of earth’s family.

Photo Credit: Vincent M A Janssen on Pexels