During the pandemic of 2020, I have spent many hours alone, sought to stay connected with family and friends, experienced the delightful doings of a new puppy, and, like many therapists, learned to work remotely. Now, as I think about what we can expect next, I find myself exploring not-so-far-off history.
Especially, I have discovered how little I knew about the pandemic of 1918. Also known as the Spanish Flu (then as now names could be misleading – there is no definitive proof that the illness emerged in Spain, rather that other countries conspired to suppress reports of its spread). The deadliest flu in history, this pandemic infected about 500 million people worldwide—about one-third of the planet’s population—and killed an estimated 20 to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans. As with the COVID-19 pandemic, the flu inflicted extensive psychological, economic, and social trauma, leaving the United States and the world primed for the excesses of the roaring 20s and the eventual crash of the stock market in 1929.
Survivors of the flu must have, like us, been asking themselves a number of important questions. I pose them to you.
How will you live your life after this pandemic?
Is there any insight or change in how you live that you will carry forward when the pandemic is tamed?
What do you want to bring along with you in the ways you lived your life during this pandemic year?
What do you want to leave behind in 2020?
What do you want to welcome into your life in 2021?
What do you hope will be different in your life in 2021?
Here is what I can tell you. I have learned from 2020 that there is no point in worrying about things that may or may not happen. The world is far too creative and unpredictable. I can do my best to flow with what happens at work and at home, with my family and with my pup, but for the most part, what life delivers will always be outside of my control.
So let your busy mind be still and quiet, let your heart open to possibilities, and let your mind start dreaming again about security, excitement, adventure, stability, predictability, and hope.
- Laurie Morgan Silver, LCSW