When soldiers salute superiors, officers sometimes reply, “As you were.”, indicating authority to go back to what they were doing before that interruption.
We are living through an interruption like no other, ever. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go.
Not really. Everything, so different, disquieting – urge to return to how things were stunting my energy and productivity. I’m getting things done but not the most important, most exciting, or innovative.
Yes, attending to urgent matters, picking away at others without ‘action plan, clear objectives, and an execution strategy’ as I would usually employ.
Plenty of time for sleep, but I can’t sleep well. I’m putting in the hours, but not getting quality rest.
I’m neither quarantined nor ill (I’m not just back from a trip required to self-isolate) – my isolation, my solitary confinement, is voluntary. I can go out. I can go to my office-office as opposed to spending my day at home, at work, at couch, at tub, at bed, at dining room table ~ not normal or routine work in any way.
There will be a ‘resume button’ to press.
One day soon, or not.
The alternative is worth pondering for all of us.
We could wait for governments and corporations to tell us to resume. Or we could wait until infectious disease and ICU doctors allow us to resume. Clearly, those bodies of knowledge and power cannot agree right now.
So, what should we do?
While the best answers we could hope for will come from medical research laboratories, we shouldn’t be holding our breath, not resuming ‘the way we were’ too soon.
When the time comes, sooner or later, the pressure to control the COVID-19 spread will come; when it does, our roads and buildings will look the same, but the landscape of our lives will be different. Some will be little things – like the space we afford one another, our hand-washing frequency, and or concerns about many little things we do, which will stay changed. Many things will return to normal, retail spending will bump as pent-up demand for non-essentials, haircuts, socializing, and ‘doing business’ snaps back like a rubber band.
If this continues for a few weeks, that will be our experience. We’ll get over our numbness, we’ll all have a few stories to tell.
And if not, if a few weeks becomes a few months – our outcomes will be different. While I hope for a short term result as much as anyone, I don’t think we would be wise to consider only that alternative. This equation of ‘the pace of infection’ and the ‘supply of ventilators’ is neither quick nor straightforward. This is obvious to airlines, to governments, to everyone who manufactures products for health care, and for our lives.
Psychologists understand behavior modification; I don’t know enough about it to write with any authority, but I’m feeling my behavior is being modified – not intentionally by anyone particular, or by me, but by circumstance.
When we are done on this collective quest to return to the way things were, none of us will be able to return to ‘as you were.’