Back to Normal?
By Paul Morrone, CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA
With nearly 15 months of COVID life in the rear-view mirror, I think most people still have more questions than answers. The ‘new normal’ that we had longed for a year ago has yet to materialize – and means something very different depending upon your stage in life, career (or lack thereof), financial situation or even where you live. But there is hope, I think. If I’ve seen one common theme, it is that people are ITCHING to get out. Restaurants are packed, and reservations need to be booked well in advance. Weddings are back, bands are playing, and people are once again on the dance floor. There is even a rental car shortage. What a world we live in!
But with rapid change comes challenges. We are all going to have to learn how to play nice in the sandbox again. And, at times, it won’t be easy. What were once friendly handshakes, hugs and kisses will, at first, be awkward encounters as we (re)learn everyone’s level of comfort being near another human. The office environment will continue to be a quagmire for employers and employees alike. International travel will come with additional complexities, and cruises may never look the same. There will no longer be arrows on the floor in the grocery store, no more social distancing and, still to the chagrin of many, no more masks.
Despite all the negativity that we’ve lived through, there are things that came from all the COVID safety protocols that I hope have staying power long after this chapter has closed. Maybe it is partly the ‘COVID theater’ that’s been publicized recently, but I feel like things are generally cleaner now. Floors, restrooms, door handles, etc. have a little more shine in today’s world than they once did. Hand sanitizer is, literally, everywhere, which I appreciate. Airplanes, subways, and busses are getting cleaned regularly. Hotel rooms feel extra fresh. Said more simply, the world, and us as a society, seem to be (just a bit) less disgusting!
I’m generally an optimistic person, but I’m more excited about the future now than I ever have been before. After being stripped of the many luxuries that we once had, it is going to feel even better to indulge in the many things that we once took for granted. Wishing you all a summer filled with family, friends, and fun. Cheers!