I knew it would happen, but I wasn’t sure when.
It happened to me today.
This morning I got a text from my job, saying the owner decided to close for at least two weeks, and possibly longer. Of course, this throws me into the category of people who are panicking that they soon won’t be able to pay their bills. I’ll be okay for about a month or so, but after that? Well, all I can say is I hope things return to normal by then, even though that’s probably unlikely.
Nothing will ever be the same again. Not here, or anywhere else in the industrialized world. This pandemic is a worldwide crisis, and America’s seven or eight decades as leader of the free world is over. The proverbial chickens have come home to roost, the piper must be paid. Our entire monetary system looks to be in freefall. In fact, I’m pretty sure American style capitalism itself is collapsing, and I’m far from the only one who believes that. Unregulated capitalism was never a sustainable model as it always collapses into fascism and brutality. It happened to the Roman Empire and was followed by a thousand years of dark ages defined by widespread ignorance, short brutal lives of constant toil, and a feudal economy. It happened to Weimar Germany and every other regime where unfettered greed and inequality ran rampant. We are now standing on the precipice of a new dark age — or a rejuvenated society that works for everyone.
We were not even remotely prepared for this pandemic. We were already too weak internally to withstand it, a house of cards ready to be toppled over by the first gusty wind that came along.
We must change — or we perish.
Positive change and revolution has never happened without a lot of pain and suffering, and even death and bloodshed, occurring first. The immediate future looks like nothing we have ever experienced in this country since at least the Great Depression, but I think we will arise from it stronger, more self sufficient, more community minded, and more compassionate to our fellow human beings than we were before. Perhaps the United States of America as we knew it won’t return, but that may not be a bad thing, if we emerge from it better human beings ready to build new and better institutions out of the rubble left behind by an outmoded system that encouraged and rewarded only greed and exploitation of the most vulnerable.
So, back to my immediate situation. I know a lot of you must be experiencing layoffs and closings too. I know a lot of you too are wondering how you will pay your bills, your rent, your mortgage, and avoid becoming homeless. On top of that, we have to worry about staying healthy and not contracting this virus, or spreading it to others.
I see this as a time families and friends must come together. But since not everyone has family or a large circle of friends they can count on, I think we’re also going to see communities come together and figure out ways we can all help each other.
So, I’m going to be using my downtime from work to spend a lot more time blogging, just like I used to a few years ago. I used to write in this blog at least once a day, sometimes as much as four or five times a day. Some of you may remember that. Although I don’t blog for the money, this blog is monetized, so if I can boost my hits by writing more often, that also helps me make an income, small as it may be. It’s going to be the only job I’ll have for a few weeks, and possibly longer than that, depending how long we are locked down and businesses are closed.
I’m also thinking of getting involved in some sort of volunteer work in my community. I am sure it will become necessary. I want to feel useful, and give back to my community, and help others who may be even worse off than myself.
A lot is going to be demanded of us in the coming days, weeks, and months emotionally, physically, financially, and even spiritually.
So instead of feeling dread for this time away from work in which I probably won’t be getting paid, I’m actually feeling excited for the opportunity to get involved in things I always wished I had more time and energy for before.
It sure beats just sitting around worrying about things I have no control over, such as how bad this pandemic is going to get, or how dystopian life may soon become. These are times we are called to be the best we can be and find strength, empathy, and creativity within ourselves we never knew we had. These are the times we will be forced to slow down, abandon the rat race, and focus on the things that are really important in life.