When I was in high school, the AIDS epidemic shook me to my core. There were rumors one could contract the disease by through kissing (if that were true it might have taken gallons upon gallons of spit). We were indoctrinated with fear. What limited information we were given about sex came with a caveat of the threat of death.
I wonder what young generations will make of our current pandemic. Will the fear of standing too close to people linger long after the virus is gone? Could being within the close proximity of others be equated with feeling dirty and the subsequent need to constantly sanitize? Moreover, will future generations be led to believe that when they touch someone, they are essentially touching every person that person touched and so on and so forth?
I’m not sure what will happen in the future, but for now, I see what isn’t happening. In recent months I haven’t read or heard anything about war. That doesn’t mean it isn’t taking place, but the urgency to pull triggers and broadcast about it has been largely overshadowed by the Coronavirus.
Additionally, my news-feed hasn’t been flooded with selfies but rather posts about kindness and generosity. Stories of good Samaritans from every corner of the world devoting their time, resources, and hearts to helping others. This is because of the Coronavirus.
Who knows how long this will last. But what it does, is exemplify the inherent good nature of people — especially in time of need. It also illustrates how even the most established habits — defaulting to fear, greed, selfishness — can be disrupted.
Perhaps most remarkably, it also suggests that as creatures, we’ve almost forgotten that our adaptability is one of our most defining traits. We never really know what the next day will bring, We can’t always predict how we’ll react. And yet, despite all of that, we carry on and keep moving forward.
It seems as though we are moving into a new era. And while the way is still unknown, we always have a choice in how we respond. We may fall back on fear, but we also know how to question that habit — to change and redirect it away from ourselves and use our ability to adapt to help others.