And now it’s personal . . .

Before the current Coronavirus pandemic ends, we will all be affected in ways we could not have imagined as little as a week ago. That has been brought home to me in a dozen different ways over just the past few days.

In many ways, for many of us, technology has become a lifeline. I find myself spending more time on social media than I would ever have thought possible. It helps me keep in touch with friends when I don’t really feel like talking. But it can also be a source of misinformation, false claims and skewed perceptions. Be wary.

We all cope in our own ways.

Whether your style is hibernation or virtual partying or dressing up in your Sunday best90403242_10219393911072811_7856556990493884416_o for an early-morning Walmart shopping trip, if it makes you feel better and restores your spirit, it’s okay. If such behavior prompts smiles from complete strangers, it’s even better.

Some, the braver souls among us, continue to work, out of necessity or by choice. Those who must work surely have their own fears,  but they push through them out of a sense of duty. I offer them my thanks, and pray that they remain safe and healthy.

Many are learning new ways of working from home, telecommuting, and reinventing their businesses. Others fervently hope that they’ll be in business when current restrictions are lifted.

Some of us write as a way of venting our emotions, and to record the realities of these times for those who might be interested a decade or two from now.

Saturday morning, my husband and I received word that a friend from our community lost his battle with COVID-19. He and his wife, sadly, had been quarantined in California after disembarking from a cruise aboard Grand Princess. She was ill, but recovered. I did not know him well, but somehow that made the loss even more poignant. I could not help feeling that I should have made time to get to know him (them) better. I cannot shake the feeling that they both should have been able to return home to Texas after what was, reportedly, a wonderful vacation.

But this virus does not play fair.

It is another dramatic example that health and life are fleeting, that nothing is promised to us, and that we really ought to live in a way that celebrates every moment, every experience and every relationship.

It’s harder now than it was last week, much harder than it was last month. It may not become easier for a long time. Is anyone else wishing for a more tangible lifeline? I feel as if we’ve all been set adrift on a stormy sea, with only a shaky handrail to hold on to.

Coping strategies vary greatly, from balcony concerts in Italian cities to a virtual — and unforgettable — performance by members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In Germany, a similar concert took place. Beethoven’s Ode to Joy has become a theme. It is amazing.

Just listen.

And watch and listen to this.

Learning to live again.

I refuse to believe that this is the new normal, and I hope the time will come sooner, rather than later, when we can greet family and friends with hugs, when we once again celebrate life and good times in large groups and in public places.

Some resist the directives of local governments and thumb their noses, figuratively and literally, at the authorities. Some retreat silently to their homes, while others follow the recommendations under protest. Some complain bitterly; others demand greater restrictions. There are the planners, the hoarders, the blamers, the fearful and the hopeful — we are a great mix of personalities, a patchwork quilt of individuals. For now, we must all just persevere, keep calm and carry on in our own way.

There are no easy answers, and lives will never be quite the same — not for any of us.

But, still, life goes on.

About Adrienne Cohen

For more than a decade, Adrienne has been a freelance writer specializing in travel, food and drink, small business, urban agriculture, entrepreneurship, home design and decor, construction and real estate topics. Her bylined work has been featured in numerous print and online publications in this country and internationally. Read and follow her at goodfoodandfarawayplaces.com, or follow her here to get her thoughts on current events, modern life and the complexities of living in a fast-changing world.
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