In the early days of the pandemic, elected leaders — including our now-embattled Gov. Andrew Cuomo — talked a lot about our “new normal.”
For him, the clouds of the coronavirus had a silver lining: We, as a society, somehow discovered we could do just about anything at home that we could do in an office, at school, or a store.
And yes, many of us found our daily commutes to be not much more than the path from the bedroom to the dining room table. There, a computer and a stable internet connection would provide everything we needed. Video meetings. Virtual classrooms. Restaurants and shops could come to us instead of the other way around.
Cuomo wanted to not just reopen after the pandemic, but open differently. He didn’t want to go back to what life was like before the pandemic, and he wasn’t alone.
The societal and economic shutdown gave us something different. These were new experiences that helped distract us from how much we worried about where our next meals would come from, or if our jobs would still be there in the morning.
But as the pandemic carried on, this desire for the rebirth of a new and improved society did follow along. In fact, with each passing day, many of us yearned for the days we could sit down and share food with friends at our favorite eatery. Where we could go to the movies, laughing and crying with a dark room full of strangers.
Even the more mundane aspects of life, like driving or taking the bus to a job. Saying good morning to coworkers. Getting that disapproving stare from your boss.
Sure, some of that might change, and maybe for the better. But we don’t want to lose the very soul of our existence, either. As nice as it would be to stay home all the time, we can’t explore our world, our country, our state, our community through a computer screen.
The best part about going to school, or heading into the office? It’s coming home. Where your family is. Where your favorite easy chair resides. Where your computer can be filled with social media and games, and not with work.
Where your dining room table is a dining room table.
We should never be scared of change, but there’s nothing wrong with yearning to restore what we once had.