Life would never be the same.
Banks weren’t too big to fail, and so nearly half of them had disappeared. “Bank runs” became the norm. Countries stopped trading. The market dropped 89%. One in every four households was without a breadwinner. Farmers abandoned their fields amid mass migration. Mulligan stew, complete with sawdust and lint, was often on the menu. Fresh off the excess of the Roaring 20’s, frugality infected an entire generation. For all these reasons, many thought the American Dream would forever be shattered. Life would never be the same. That was 1932.
It was the first “ television war”. Cold War tensions ran high as the six o’clock news posted death tolls as if they were baseball scores. It was devastating, and impossible to ignore. So, music got louder, and more purposeful. Hair flowed freely. So did the drugs. Mass protests were commonplace. Students were shot and killed. Defiance and nonconformity coursed through the veins of youth. Any pockets of innocence left over from the days of Ozzie and Harriet were snuffed out. Life would never be the same. That was 1970.
We were attacked. Here, in the city that symbolizes American greatness, at the buildings that symbolized the greatness of that city. Everything froze. Air travel ceased. Fear grew exponentially with the speed of a bullet. Soon, bullets would fly, as the War on Terror was born. Over three trillion dollars later, it continues. Any phone call or email was potentially surveilled. Deportations doubled. Hatred for an entire race grew in lockstep with the fear, while trust plummeted. Life would never be the same. That was 2001.
Eight weeks ago, this virus seemed to just be a story from a far-off land, soon to be forgotten. We went about our day. While we all have our challenges, some far more than others, life was collectively good. Now, this virus has taken a page from each of those events: a crippled economy, continued loss of life, fear of what’s to come.
Will life ever be the same? Probably not. How? No clue. But what the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 have taught us is that while the world may change, one thing never does: our ability to adapt. It’s our superpower. It’s why soon we will beat this thing to a pulp. It’s why life will not just merely go on, but go on with joy and exuberance, no matter what post-virus life looks like. Know this: The last time you hugged your children or your grandchildren will not be the last. The last birthday party, the last barbecue, the last great meal at your favorite restaurant will not be the last. The last baseball game, the last hockey game you watched will not be the last. And just think about how good the next time will be. The next hug, the next game, the next barbecue, the next time – believe it or not – you get to go to work. The pain we’ve all endured will drive a spike in appreciation for life, especially for the little things in life, that’s been missing for many of us for too long. We dare say that when this is all through, life will be better. And all of this will happen because we will adapt.
Never underestimate our superpower. It’s pulled us from the ashes before, and it stands to reason that it will do so again.
John, Bill, Mark & Melanie