Things are slowly, cautiously, hopefully starting to open up.

Maybe.

But as much as we want things to return normal, they won’t. We won’t.

In this locked-down world, we’ve had new, unrich, non-botoxed, real-people celebrities, those who make an important contribution to our lives and our community’s life.

While the politicians and medical experts have contradicted each other’s pronouncements and edicts, vying for admiration, funding and votes, most of us have gone about the business of taking sensible care of ourselves and those around us.

Terrible things have happened: deaths, quarantine madness, families torn apart, job losses, domestic violence, businesses closing … the way some went from “we’re all in this together” to judging and shaming each other for our way of handling things.

In deep and personal ways, we will not be the same.

If we were not in touch with ourselves before, being in lockdown — or having to go out to work during lockdown — has brought us face to face with how we function in stress.

We have seen what we are made of.

I’ve spoken with people who literally have not left their homes for months, due to them or a family member being physically vulnerable. Some are tense, irritable, on edge, cranky, afraid, unhappy, snappy. Trying to hang on. Overeating, drinking, watching endless TV.

Many among us are struggling with mental health.

Some have become self-proclaimed experts on all things COVID-19. These are the black-and-white, either/or folks who believe they’ve done the definitive research. They troll their social media contacts, quick to pounce on anything posted that may deviate from “the facts” (whichever version they may adhere to) and start fights.

This week, I spoke with a friend who’s been taking advantage of all the free time he has. He’s taking online courses, getting certified in skills that can further his career and getting licensed as a ham radio operator.

An actor I know in Los Angeles started an Instagram cooking show called Quarantine Classics. He lives alone, he’s funny and is filming it on his cell phone, so he has to sort of hunch down so you can see what he’s making and him at the same time. So, for instance, he’s made a cheddar jalapeno biscuit sandwich, a breakfast taco with frozen hash browns and avocado and a loaded double cheeseburger to die for.

My daughter owns a running store in Staunton. She started in March offering curbside pickup and making deliveries. Now she’s taking customers by appointment a few days per week. Beforehand, she has them enter their shoe size, running/walking habits, any issues and shoe history into an online form so that when they arrive, she has several pairs ready to try on. She asks them to wear masks and has a supply at the door, along with hand sanitizer. Her business is surviving.

Many people have put themselves in harm’s way by serving the public. Others are giving time, gifts and money to help local hospitals, healthcare facilities and homeless shelters.

One common thread among those who are thriving is resilience.

Resilience is the mental and emotional ability to cope with crisis. Resilience exists when the person has developed mental processes and behaviors that promote their personal assets and protect them from the potential negative effects of stressors.

Resilience is also known as adaptability, flexibility and the ability to bounce back from difficulties. While it’s generally developed in childhood, adults can build resilience too.

If this crisis has shown that you have resilience, blessed art thou. If not, then get some for the next time.

It’s never too late.

Luanne Austin lives in Mount Sidney.

Contact her at RuralPen@aol.com,

facebook.com/ruralpen or care of the DN-R.

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