It will be over. We will feel as though we are waking up again. We will walk outside and breathe easily. We will visit each other without electronic intervention. We will know we have, once again, survived a life or death crisis, not the first for most of us who have reached seniority, but surely a singularly significant one.
The noise of traffic will fill the streets. Children will be back in school. We will resume visits to the dentist and the optometrist. We will consider attending a concert, perhaps, or an in-person meeting held in a restaurant.
And we will take stock because we realize we have been changed in some ways:
- We learned to handle and value solitude, and affirm that we know the difference between solitude and loneliness.
- We found out how much and how many things and services we thought were so important that we really did not need.
- We realized how important the people we take for granted are: the pharmacy and grocery clerks, the mailman, the trash collectors, the caring neighbors.
- We marveled at the strength and courage of health care providers who literally risked their lives for all of us.
- As exquisitely planned and anticipated events celebrating weddings, baptisms, bar mitzvahs and all kinds of ceremonies were cancelled, we learned how little the celebrations mattered and how much the actual ceremony meant.
- We learned or sharpened skills we thought were the province of younger generations, such as using Zoom, Skype, and Google.
- We discovered effective ways to consciously recognize, monitor, and alleviate stress through exercise, meditation, listening to music, doing puzzles, rereading old favorite books, keeping a written or voice journal, or taking vicarious trips by means of our electronic devices.
The most important trip we took, however, was not vicarious at all. It was real. The journey was not to a new or a well-loved destination we always looked forward to visiting. It was the inward journey. Unplanned, unasked for, unbidden – it was a time of inner exploration, and from it we learned so much.
We learned that staying home was an active choice that mattered. It was an example of senior activism. When we did go out with mask and gloves, we were activists in the effort to save lives. Everything we did was a contribution to the public welfare.
This coronavirus-connected activism only strengthens our resolve to continue to improve the world through our own activism and supporting the efforts of others who labor to make the world better. The lockdown will turn out to have been a time of learning that leads to an even more fulfilling life. We are ready. Yet another opportunity!