OK, so I realize I already quoted this Doors song in my first blog post in 2016. No,…I’m not a Doors fanatic. But I ask you, are there more apt words to describe the times we are currently living in than those from ‘Strange Days’?:
“Strange days have found us.
Strange days have tracked us down.
They’re going to destroy
Our casual joys.
We shall go on playing
Or find a new town.”
I mean, seriously, does that not succinctly sum up the past few months or what? But, despite the ongoing (and likely future) tumult in our daily lives, I have found unexpected moments of happiness and identified some benefits from the changes around us. All of which have got me thinking about ways we can view or create a new normal…no matter what is happening in the world around us.
- Changing the way we work and even the concept of ‘Going to work’—Twitter recently announced all employees will be able to work from home, permanently. I’m in no way suggesting the entire healthcare sector can, or should, shift to virtual work. But, there are many things I know I do at work that I could just as easily do from another location with virtual access. Think about meetings as an example. These past few months have shown me we over-utilize in-person meetings by at least an order of magnitude. How much more efficient could we be in terms of work and family responsibilities if we primarily utilized virtual meetings? Maybe the traditional concept of ‘going to work’ is a bit antiquated in our current world and should be revisited since working doesn’t necessarily have to equate to being physically at work
- Time with family—My wife would probably disagree and say our family has had more than enough ‘together time’ the past few months. But, in my opinion, this pandemic has made me slow down, pay more attention to my family, and I think as a result I’ve become infinitely more appreciative of the life I live and things and people I have around me.
- I miss doing what I love—I’ve missed the lack of regular operating the past couple of months, which tells me I’m in the right profession. Thank goodness all those years of surgical and fellowship training weren’t a waste…hooray!
- I’m a lot luckier than most—I feel so very grateful for my job, my partners, and my boss. This has been such a difficult time for so many, I know how lucky I am to have a steady, salaried job that affords me the opportunity to do what I enjoy.
- Giving the world a chance to breathe—One of the most amazing things to watch has been the way the world around us has responded to the lack of industrial commerce and travel. For any who are nay-sayers about our effect on global warming, just look around. Did you hear about that ozone hole over the North Pole that closed on its own during the pandemic? I’m just saying….
Given infectious disease experts’ predictions that this is likely not the last time we will hear from SARS-CoV-2, in addition to the fact that the current pandemic has brought with it the specter of other future transmissible maladies, we all need to find ways to adjust and adapt to any new normal that is thrown our way. Otherwise, we risk missing out on the ‘casual joys’ of our lives and we might not appreciate the opportunities we have to ‘go on playing’—even if that looks a little different than it used to.