Capturing the Chaos of Coronavirus
I invited a long-time Heritage Makers consultant Brenda Kruse to share her thoughts on the blog this month. I love how she documented her experiences during the pandemic so I asked her to write it up for us.
– Candi May, Brand Champion for Heritage Makers
For the majority of us, this year started off “normal” with our hopeful resolutions and gym memberships. And then by mid-March, 2020 quickly turned into something we’ve never experienced before. The culprit? A pandemic, which is a word most of us hadn’t ever uttered before. A global health crisis of epic proportions.
That means it truly affects everyone on Earth. Typically, a newsworthy emergency is a geographically isolated weather situation like floods, wildfires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and so on. Or sadly, a mass shooting in a crowded public space. For the most part, only the people living in the specific area are personally impacted.
Well, Covid-19 changed all that.
In what seemed like an instant, everyone around the globe was concerned about the coronavirus. And we were tasked with trying to prevent widespread hospitalizations and death due to a health hazard we can’t even see.
Our lives were brought to an abrupt halt in many cases. Or at least significantly revised from formerly over-filled schedules. No more commute. No more working in an office with others. Kids and teachers aren’t going to school. No one is attending church. Or participating in sports, music, drama, and more. No more getting groceries on a whim. No more toilet paper!?
Those who earned the new title of “essential” kept on working, while the “non-essentials” hunkered down at home, trying to contribute by doing very little outside the safe bubble of our residences.
For many of us, we “sheltered in place.” At home. If we were lucky, we were surrounded by family and loved ones in our closest circle. We watched a lot of TV and Netflix. And live-streamed press conferences. Collectively, we scratched our heads at Tiger King. We danced like fools on TikTok. We laughed at memes making fun of our plight.
And eventually, our states/provinces began to re-open in phases. We were so happy with our newfound freedoms…until spiking cases put that in jeopardy. We’ve endured race riots and protests. And the never-ending to-mask-or-not-to-mask war. Along with plenty of political battles on every front. And as August looms closer, we are preparing for the “return to learn” phase that’s full of questions that no one can honestly answer, but everyone has an opinion about. I have yet to see a murder hornet, but hear they could be waiting for a more-opportune time to strike!
So what does this mean for us as Heritage Makers? I believe it’s more meaningful than ever to capture this unique time in history through our photos and stories. We need to capture the chaos of our current lives, whether in quarantine or just the modifications that our daily lives must now accept.
Future generations will want to know what it was like during this initial transition to our “new normal.” I don’t like that term either, but we’ve had to learn a lot of new lingo lately and I don’t think many of these terms will be going away. Instead, they will become part of the next generation’s vocabulary. For better or for worse, our memories of 2020 are now forever influenced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Many major events and activities have been canceled or postponed. High school and college graduations were virtual or hybrid at best. Sports are on hold from tee-ball to the pros, even the Olympics. County and state fairs skipped. Concerts shut down. Vacations and travel canceled or very limited. Family and class reunions restricted. Seniors in care facilities can’t have any visitors. Even funerals weren’t allowed to have family and friends gather to mourn their loved ones!
How can you document these feelings? Journal! Write letters to your future self a year from now. Or maybe just write down how you think life will be by Christmas. Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, writing out your emotions can help people of any age better cope with a challenging situation. Maybe start a gratitude journal to list a few things you’re grateful for every day. Think about reading the entries you’d have made back in February vs during the quarantine compared to what you’d list now.
February 16: A rare quiet weekend at home with nothing scheduled on the calendar for once.
April 25: What day is it? Does it really matter? Weekend schmekend! They all seem the same!
June 21: A summer weekend getaway spent fishing and swimming at the lake with family.
Perspectives sure have changed. And that deserves to be documented.
Of course, you should always be taking photos! But without those major milestone moments of graduation and vacations and sports seasons, are you wondering what you’ll shoot with your camera? Just document the daily details. The seemingly mundane existence of your lives will be of interest in the future, whether it’s getting groceries or getting take-out or getting together for family meals and game nights. Just because you’re having a staycation this summer doesn’t mean you can’t take photos of what you’re doing and where. It’s still important. Maybe even more so!
Many of us diehard Heritage Makers have undertaken a photo-a-day project for a full year or several. These are incredible opportunities to try to find something — every single day — to take a photo of and write a little caption about. Often these projects rely on daily prompts to encourage you with inspiration, but it never matters WHAT you shoot, just that you DO it!
Have you taken photos of your “new normal” yet? Maybe your teens have started pitching in to plan and cook meals? Do you have photos of them at work in the kitchen, as well as their (hopefully) delicious dishes? Or maybe the messes left behind? Anyone busy with a new hobby? Sewing masks? Gardening? What about those home improvement projects you tackled when you suddenly found yourself with more “free” time than you had ever expected? What about your hair grown out long while waiting for the first post-quarantine haircut?
And I’ll bet you first thought there wasn’t much worth documenting these past three months. One half of our year has already passed us by. This last quarter was a wild one. And no one has a clear crystal-ball view to see what’s coming for this next quarter or last half of the year.
But one thing is for sure, it will need to be documented. Not just on the national and international news media or on your favorite social media platforms. On YOUR cameras and mobile phones. In YOUR corner of the world. Tell YOUR story.
While we tend to focus on going away from our homes to find things of interest to photograph, you can often overlook the beauty and wonder all around you, whether it’s in your backyard or at a nearby park or sight-seeing within a few hours drive. From stunning sunrises and sunsets to blooming flowers in bright colors and all of Mother Nature’s bounty, these things are still here in the pandemic. And now you probably have a newfound appreciation for them because you have time to truly “see” them.
Give yourself and your children or grandchildren a glimpse into your life in 2020. Don’t ignore this chance to write your own pages in the history book. Your perspective matters.
Keep (or start) taking photos of your life.
Keep (or start) sharing your stories in words.
Keep (or start) publishing them in some way to save and share for the future.
Because even just three months from now, these moments will have faded a little more from our memories. No one knows what’s ahead, but looking back always helps us feel more grounded and connected. And that’s a prescription any doctor would write to cure the coronavirus chaos!