My daughter is getting married next year. Needless to say, there is a huge undercurrent of stress as we plan a wedding while COVID-19 continues to lurk in the background. The wedding is nearly a year away and will be held outdoors, yet there still are questions about guest-list size and if family and friends will be afraid to travel to attend.
But last week, we had a wonderful period of normalcy—we went to a showroom in New York’s Garment District in search of her wedding dress. Aside from the mandatory hand-sanitizing and mask-wearing, the experience was everything we could have wished for with my 88-year-old mother and my younger daughter (the maid of honor) in attendance. My older daughter felt like a beautiful fairy princess as she looked for her dream dress.
Afterward we walked through the streets of New York City and had lunch at the surprisingly busy Eataly. I was struck at how relatively “normal” life was feeling and that perhaps there is light at the end of this long tunnel. Yes, cases of COVID-19 are rising…but civilization is recalibrating.
It’s too early to know if there will be a baby boom triggered by the lockdown or a baby bust triggered by the pandemic’s layoffs and economic fallout. Thus far in 2020, births actually are up very slightly compared with a year ago. And, in spite of the job losses and economic fears, marriage engagements actually have risen…alot.
I hate the word hope…but this gives me hope.
Political rhetoric just gets more and more extreme. As I write this blog, half the country is celebrating the swearing in of an incredibly intelligent and accomplished woman and mother of seven as the newest Supreme Court justice…and half the country is planning a path to rebalance the court because they feel the nomination and approval process during an election year are unjust. Despite the whiplash of extreme views, I am comforted by the fact that America has faced national divides before and the world has overcome significant differences. In fact, I remind myself of this fact regularly when the news gets too frightful.
The Civil War nearly tore our country apart…but it didn’t. McCarthyism had neighbors tattling on neighbors…but then the Cold War ended and eventually the walls of communism came down.
Seventy years ago, no one would have thought that Japan and Germany would be close allies of the West…yet they have been for decades. Nor would anyone have imagined that the Sudan would join Bahrain and the UAE in recognizing the legitimacy of Israel and normalizing relations…but all of that has happened…and so much more.
Historically, the social pendulums swing back and forth moving from one extreme to another and generally settling toward the middle to accommodate diversity of views. This year has had nonstop extremes, yet I comfort myself with the certainty that the laws of nature lead to rebalancing, recalibration and regressing to the mean. In the end, the fires go out…the waters recede…and the sun comes up.
The fires out West are not out…hurricane season is not over…COVID-19 has not yet been overcome. And I highly doubt that the election results will be finalized the morning after Election Day.
Yet life goes on. And the resilience of both Earth and mankind will prevail. We don’t like to be trapped or out of control—rather, we move forward. As I wrote in my blog last week, our understanding of COVID is increasing. And with that comes lower hospitalization and mortality rates…better testing and treatments…and hopefully a vaccine in the near future.
We all returned to air travel after 9/11…and we will return to travel and parties and workspaces again. The laws of nature—including human nature—always prevail. That is a very comforting thought.
Sarah Hiner, president and CEO of Bottom Line Inc., is passionate about giving people the tools and knowledge they need to be in control of their lives in areas such as living a healthier life, the challenges of the health-care system, commonsense financial advice and creating great relationships. She appears often on national radio and hosts the Bottom Line Advocator Podcast, where she interviews leading experts to help people be their own best advocates in all areas of life.