The pandemic has taken us to a different world that is so far from our ‘normal’. While we are tired of social distancing and the rules around what we can and cannot do, we try to do the right thing to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. The social cost of a lack of contact, altered or reduced access to services, reduced contact with our community, and a lack of availability of our usual locations for physical activity, has yet to be fully realized. What kind of normal will we return to?
Coming out of the First World War, an event that changed the world with new societal norms and changes in how people behaved. President Harding spoke of a return to ‘normalcy’. But the normal had changed in the 1920s. The post- war world was weary of war, the Spanish flu outbreak, the social unrest of the end of the decade and people wanted to move quickly and enjoy life.
The Second World War brought more change. In Great Britain there were 6 years where its citizens endured bombing raids, bomb shelters, shortages in food and other goods, along with rationing, and restricted movement. Of course this applied to all Europe and other countries a continent away from North America, and yet we did not escape the impact of world events.
The stress of war and its effect took its toll on people. One aspect of the war experiences was a focus on community and social interaction. Movie theatres were open, dances were common, and people got together as much as possible, to worry, complain, and support each other through tough times and shared tragedy.
War has its own terrifying effects on society and in the aftermath of the second Word War produced a changed world.
While the events of this pandemic have fortunately not reached the devastation of the years experienced through wars, nonetheless, this pandemic has taken a toll. And Zoom, or alternative technologies are not necessarily substitutes for real interaction with our families, friends and communities. There are no movie theatres, limited concerts are online only, and everywhere we go we keep well back from people.
How we cope and move forward from this latest pandemic is something that is not yet clear. Only the vaccine and time will tell.