4 Things You Never Saw Coming
It’s remarkable how much things can change in just one year. If you took a person from, for example, July 2019 and brought them forward just one full year to July 2020, the world would look very different to them. Here are just a few areas where things have changed obviously and dramatically.
There are immediate, obvious differences from the moment you step outside. Public spaces changed radically in the course of a year. Whether it was dramatically reduced foot traffic, the sudden abundance of curbside pickup stations or even something as simple as the plastic sneeze guards that are now everywhere, our public spaces are undeniably different now.
The other obvious difference are the efforts people are making to keep themselves and their loved ones safe with personal protective equipment and safety habits. Even if you are in an area where masks are not the norm, you very likely see some evidence of people social distancing, or using hand sanitizer, or washing their hands more frequently and for longer periods.
Less immediately noticeable but possibly more broadly prevalent are the social changes. Many of the spaces were social activities happened are closed or only partially open. Some of the people who are most important to our social and family circles are self isolating or otherwise unable to risk visiting in person. School closures and workplaces going remote means that many people who wouldn’t see each other constantly are now trapped in the house. These transforming social dynamics may not be easy to spot from main street, but they are just as important as the more obvious changes.
Speaking of Main Street — and Wall Street too — the economic impact of everything that happened in the first half of 2020 has created ripples that will continue to impact the country for months and maybe years to come. Aside from the grim unemployment statistics and the number of businesses that won’t survive without assistance, the gears that move the economy have shifted completely. The social and personal patterns have changed, and the changing economic patterns reflect that.
There are a lot of ways to describe the current moment of history. Cataclysmic springs to mind, along with unending. From a broader, historical perspective, perhaps the best word for it is momentous. The changes have happened quickly, and the future is deeply uncertain. The world in July 2021 or 2022 could look just as different as the world of July 2019.