Our culture needs to adjust to a new reality
by Emily Gallagher
May 20, 2020 | 640 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the panic first started around coronavirus, I was in shock and maybe slight denial about what this would become.

The day before my self-imposed lockdown, which happened before the official “shelter in place” order, I tried to get a lot done. I was in a panic mode to be sure, but also it was my general way of being.

Every day of my adult life up until that point I had a before-work activity, work, sometimes two jobs, an evening class or meeting, and then at about 10 p.m. an attempt to see a friend for an hour before collapsing into bed.

The first few weeks of lockdown I mourned not having my normal life. My birthday was March 23 and I had intended to have a big party. In the end, I watched a movie and ate Thai food on the couch.

All of this was very strange and new to me.

But it’s not new any longer, and now I am used to a slower pace. I don’t know how I fit as much into my day as I used to, though surely I could adjust again if I needed.

Instead, I almost never leaving the house. I’ve adjusted to movements through the rooms of my house replacing hour-long commutes from island to island.

On Monday night, I was watching a Gary Cooper movie. He was coming to New York City for the first time, and said “this is a strange place where people spend so much time building castles to live in that they forget how to live.”

I think reality is different. Without enough adequate pay to cover the cost of living, let alone living well, we’ve accepted working ourselves to death.

It’s not that I was wrong in how I lived; I wasn’t frivolous. The economy has been set up so most regular people can’t keep up.

Even though it feels like sitting on a melting iceberg right now, I know we have to work towards a cultural shift where one job is enough, and everyone has the healthcare, housing and support they need to live decently.
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