In just a few short months, life as we knew it changed. It’s still too early to tell if the change will turn out to be for the better or worse, but our lives as we knew them are over.
From now on, people will start their stories with “after the quarantine…” and the existence we knew will be the “before” picture.
Two months ago, I was gearing up to travel around my home, the Philippines. I wanted to take a deep-dive into my adopted country and check out places that the polished travel influencers of Instagram would ignore.
After that, I was looking at Hong Kong, Japan, and then my dream trip to Tallinn, Estonia. I’d love to walk the medieval streets of Old Town around Christmastime and stop at every bakery for fresh hot bread and strong coffee.
It’s not that I was ignoring what was going on in the world, I knew the virus was spreading from China, and I saw first-hand the measures taken in Singapore when I spent 24 hours in Changi airport.
I knew something was happening, but I never thought it would ever get this bad.
What Happens During the Lockdown?
At almost 52-years-old, I never thought my future would be in question. I had everything planned out for the coming years. Until the time came to pass where I could not work, or travel, or enjoy the things I was passionate about anymore, and I am left to type my memoirs with a cold bottle of beer and a plate of steaming Sisig, I would do the things I knew would make me happy.
When I got to an age when I couldn’t be as productive anymore, I was going to do my best not to be a burden to my family, and would sit somewhere quiet and listen to my kids living their best lives.
But, now, I don’t know what kind of future waits for me.
I’m not hopeful that international travel will be an option anytime soon. It may take some time for the powers that be to implement safety processes as they did with security after the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.
I’m not worried, but I am also not sure that the work I do will be enough to support my family in the coming years. What will happen to the internet as the world figures out that it was never a common utility, and start to move everything we took for granted in society online?
Will it be a boon or bust?
Work will change, as will entertainment, shopping, socializing, holidays, family gatherings, leisure travel, transportation, government, society, ideals, and capitalism. Everything we ever took for granted will change, and most of us aren’t ready for it.
The leaders of this world are coming from places big and small – ignored previously because the crass animal that is America made sure that everything was about them. But America is falling apart, and civil war is brewing. Recession will strip the gold away and leave the tainted metal that existed underneath the glitz all along.
Leaders from places like China, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, and Canada are taking control and making sure that the hard lessons aren’t ignored, and as much as the gun-toting white supremacists, and billionaire tech bros would like to believe that their entitlement will win the day, the workers see now that they are what drives everything.
The rich and powerful don’t make the money that ends up in the untaxed offshore accounts, the essential worker and the first-responders do, and they should never let anyone forget it.
The rich should worry about now.
What Happens After Lockdown and Quarantine?
What will the world be like when we all come out of our burrows and shield our eyes from the bright sunlight?
The first thing we will realize is that the earth has been healing without us, and it is clear that if we as a society really wanted to do something about climate change, we could.
The oceans are cleaner.
The air is cleaner.
We haven’t been forcing the earth to die because we couldn’t let go of toxic capitalism and slick marketing campaigns that convinced us all that we all need an SUV, iPhone, 62-inch flatscreen, and a house too big for our families and our bank accounts.
We all now realized that, as much as the CEOs and Republicans long to go back to their version of normal, we don’t want that anymore.
A revolution is beginning.
I can’t begin to fathom what the world will be like when the dust settles, and we have taken our power back. When the rich have been eaten, and the politicians have taken their turn at the gallows, we will have to figure out what we want the new normal to be, if normal is a thing to aspire to.
I hope with all the changes that somehow humankind’s need to see what is over the next hill will win the day, and people start visiting mountains, beaches, deserts, and islands far away again. I hope that my dream to see the world can happen in such a way that it won’t destroy the earth or the new society we have built.
What Are Your Plans? Here Are Mine:
When my earnings recover, and I can somehow start saving for the future again, I’d like to put aside resources so I can see my dream destinations.
Until we figure out the new normal, I am lucky enough to be living in the Philippines, and there are over 7000 islands for me to visit. It’s going to be some time before I feel safe enough for my family and me to venture out and put ourselves at risk.
There will have to be widespread testing and a vaccine. People will have to keep practicing social distancing, and we will have to prepare to lock down our cities should the virus surge again.
Travel will have to be much safer for me to put myself in a metal tube 30K feet in the air with sneezing and coughing people. People are going to have to keep washing their damn hands, so we don’t keep smearing coronavirus all over every surface that exists.
People must start looking out for each other and caring about their fellow man and woman. We must stop being selfish and thinking only of ourselves.
The good news is that most people are smart, empathetic, caring, and generous. Most people want the poor and oppressed among us to rise up and start living life without fear or regret.
I’m already making plans that can be easily changed. Plans give us something to look forward to when “living for today” has lost its shine, and we want to think of a better tomorrow.
The virus has been exceedingly bad, but it has also exposed the good in all of us and made us start realizing that we can create a better way of life. We no longer have to slog through our days, making someone else wealthy, and spending our credit on trinkets that try make us feel better about wasting our lives in the trenches.
It’s time we start earning for ourselves, living for ourselves, and doing what it takes to put a smile on our weary faces.
When I start traveling again, I want to see people living life, and not some simulation created by a corporation that holds health benefits above our heads like a carrot.
Lets all travel again. Let’s all start living again because the old normal isn’t working and we need a new way to fill the hours in our days.
We need to start doing what it takes to make everything worthwhile again.
And although the lockdown will be over, don’t be afraid to admit you are a frightened traveler, testing your courage and doing great things with your time and resources.
It’s all up to you now.