It just struck me this morning that we are living through a pandemic renaissance. This is not an industrial revolution, yet it is reshaping the way we work, learn, receive medical treatment, play and love.
Schools and universities, medical centers and businesses are adopting new rules and technologies for online learning and client management. Families and friends are attending online hangouts, and even funerals. Birthday milestones are celebrated with drive-by car parades. The singles scene has shifted from bars and dinner dates to video chats and online dance parties with makeshift props and indoor beach scenes. Musicians and performers have cancelled their concert tours and have taken their acts online, accepting paypal and venmo in lieu of tip jars. Quarantine Karaoke has taken off globally. Bitmojis and memes are focusing on sanitary topics such as the proper way to wear a mask and wash hands.
I’ve outlined the changes my family and friends are experiencing, which gives me pause:
- Lifecycle Events
Death: My father passed away in April, and in lieu of driving 20 hours each way through states on lockdown, I attended his Florida funeral on zoom from my home in Massachusetts. It was surreal, and yet allowed me to communicate and participate in the moment when travel was deemed unsafe.
Birthdays: Drive by birthday parades are the rage, and it’s been so much fun to see posts pass by a caravan of balloons, streamers and signs accompanied by enthusiastic honking
My Airbnb guest suite has closed temporarily since mid March. Thank goodness for the CARE act.
A friend of mine owns hair salons, and has explained the process of reopening her shops over the upcoming weeks. She has purchased face shields for stylists and disposable capes for her clients, and may only admit several clients inside at once. There are a slew of regulations that her small business must adhere to for safety, adding expense and lowering income.
I just spoke with the owner of a physical therapy clinic and she has transitioned to offer telemedicine for online rehab with clients. They have implemented COVID-19 policies to prevent germ spread, such as keeping a 3 foot “no talk” quiet zone when working directly with patients.
The largest four year state college system in California just announced they are not going to risk 480,000 undergrads returning back to 23 campuses this fall. Virtual fall 2020 college classes are in the works.
My 17-year old son logs onto his classrooms and uploads his assignments. I receive a late login as a “tardy” hand slap via email from the dean of students. College tours were cancelled, so now we are being encouraged to take virtual tours instead. Companies are springing up to answer this call, such as YouVisit.com, offering an online 360 degree experience.
- Sports and Fitness
I joined Orange Theory in early March, and when it shut down mid-March, all of their members were left with online workouts.
A friend of mine runs a fitness gym in Vermont, and her business is shut down. She is conducting online personal training with clients instead. She’s also moving to a social distance one-on-one travel training model.
My son’s varsity baseball season was cancelled and school gym is closed, so he built a home gym to supplement his workouts.
- Love and Relationships
I’ve been practicing social distance hikes and firepit hangouts with a couple of friends, always wearing masks in public.
My friend told me she had plans to share a glass of wine and zoom with a new person she met on a dating app.
My dog loves hiking in the woods and park, yet he does not understand why strangers and friends are not giving him treats or petting him when he runs up to them. He is limited to our family household members for requisite snuggles and touch.
This is a brave, new, online world and we are making history.