By Julie Kraus / Detroit
In recent weeks, I’ve come to recognize something important about my life during the Covid era. For most of the pandemic, I believed that I was just living through a pause, to make sure that I didn’t get Covid or give Covid to the people in my circle. But because of the unwillingness of so many people to get vaccinated, to wear masks or to socially distance, this may be the life we are living for a long time. I’m realizing that I can’t keep thinking that when we get through this long, dark tunnel, I will be able to resume my past much higher activity lifestyle. In fact, since I’m about to reach 70, this might be the course for the rest of my days. This virus may be with us much as the flu is with us, but with Covid’s continuing variants doing even more destructive damage.
I had been heading in this direction for the last several weeks as I contemplated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which began on September 6. I realized that it has now been two years since I joined religious services in the sanctuary of the Temple (although that was an option this year, I zoomed the service at home). In fact, it has been a long time since I have taught piano students, attended a concert or visited a mall. So it’s time for me to stop looking at when I can start up my life, but to start up my life differently today. That means changing my philosophy and recognizing that THIS IS MY LIFE. I don’t plan to alter my hermit-like behavior dramatically, just add a few safe activities to my schedule.
I was reading an email from my state’s Office of Retirement Services, which was responding in its newsletter to questions from its members. It ended one of the answers with the words “as we emerge from the pandemic.” I see this type of reference in print or hear it a lot. A friend just phoned and in the conversation said, “when this is over.” I’m suggesting that we stop thinking about emerging from this pandemic and hoping for it to be over. I’m expecting that we’ll be living with this viral environment for the future, or at least many more years, so adjusting our thinking will help in our psychological and mental state. I know it already has in mine.
I see things more positively and I know that I want to be more productive every day. My dark-cloud brooding that was a part of my daily demeanor has dissipated. It seems strange to think that acknowledging the fact that the pandemic is a long-term part of my life has resulted in a brighter outlook for me. It’s as if by accepting the negative forecast, the positive attitude has shown through. What irony! It only took me 18 months to reach this level of self-awareness.
Julie Kraus is a retired Detroit Public Schools teacher who has used this pandemic to catch up on lots of reading, corresponding and long phone conversations with friends and relatives. A classical pianist who performed this past summer at outdoor concerts with social distancing, of course, she plans to keep practicing daily throughout the colder months. She hopes that everyone stays healthy, and gets vaccinated and boostered.