No dining out at restaurants, no gatherings at bars and the movie theaters shuttered. With the new coronavirus closing businesses, limiting churches and canceling events, people are left sheltering at home.
For a society addicted to daily activities, it’s a startling change. Sports fans can’t occupy their time watching games on TV, with local, state and national sporting events suspended.
There are people still with us who grew up with only the radio for nightly programs. They remember a time when the options were limited. Television, a recent phenomenon, didn’t become common until after World War II. The internet, social media and video games are relatively new.
We still have access to our electronics during the pandemic, but many of our daily activities and entertainment are on hold.
It seems drastic, but there’s a silver lining to the situation.
While we are staying home there’s an opportunity to get reacquainted with our families. We may even have enough time to do more than watch TV and share online videos. There’s a chance to play board games, try a hand or two of cards and, believe it or not, chat.
We might want to discuss what lessons we are learning from the change in lifestyle. Have we been watching too many sports events? Have we morphed too often from fan to fanatic? How much have we saved by dining out less, and are we eating healthier?
The Tribune isn’t suggesting we’ve been going about our lives in the wrong way. It’s possible, though, that we have gotten caught up in routines and don’t know how to get out of them.
We may discover in the coming days, maybe months, that there are lifestyle changes that make sense. They don’t have to be as drastic as no sports or no nights at the movie theater. It may simply be finding more balance in life, less time watching TV or on the computer and more time outdoors.
Or we may realize what’s really important. Less time at church may tell us how much we miss those activities and how valuable they are to us. We might be surprised to learn we don’t need to watch as much sports.
The pandemic, by forcing us to shelter at home, offers us a chance to reflect on our lives. It’s an unusual opportunity we may never get again. Forced sacrifice can bring out the best in us.
During World War II, Americans had to deal with rationing, lower speed limits and the real possibility that loved ones could be killed. Today, the world faces a different kind of threat that’s also resulting in deaths.
In time, hopefully a short period, we will overcome the pandemic. If we do it right, we’ll come out of it as better people.