What Will Be The New Normal?

As we experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all eager to be done with it. But when that happens — whenever that happens — what will normal life be like?

It can be difficult (some would say impossible) to predict the future. However, what are your guesses for what life will be like once the current restrictions are lifted?

There are many potential impacts, from the personal to the global. For example, here are some questions:

Once large gatherings are allowed again, will a significant number of people be hesitant to join in? That is, enough to see a decline in ticket sales to sporting events, rock concerts, and the like?

Will shaking hands or hugging be replaced with some sort of non-contact greeting?

The health care industry is being pushed to, and sometimes past, acceptable limits. Will they experience any lasting changes or effects?

What will this mean for preparedness for future epidemics or pandemics? What about other natural crises, like climate change? We have certainly seen that it is possible to make sweeping changes when the proper motivation exists.

Are our relationships, between family, friends, neighbors, and all the way up to countries, helped or harmed?

Will there be more political will for raising the minimum wage on “essential” workers? Teachers seem to have a newfound appreciation, but will that translate to better pay? Will policies like paid sick leave and universal child care see more traction? Will work from home become more common and accepted, resulting in less traffic on roads and shorter commute times?

Alternately, will things immediately (or eventually) go back to how they were before, with no real lasting changes to our society or way of life?

What will be the new normal?

Related questions: What is your five year prediction? Ten? COVID-19?

How Do You Plan For The Future?

With a world that is full of uncertainties, dealing with the present can be difficult, let alone planning for the future. And yet, as the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail.

Our present moment is one of unusual circumstances. Everyday life has been changed, nearly beyond recognition. On top of that, things are changing very quickly. In addition to that, we don’t know how long until we can return to some semblance of normal life.

With that in mind, how do you prepare for a future that may not come? Do you try to plan for multiple eventualities? Alternately, you could do nothing, and simply let the future unfold. After all, the future is ultimately unknowable.

It can be difficult to prepare for the future under ordinary circumstances. But in the midst of unprecedented events, what do you do? How do you plan for the future?

Related questions: What do we owe the future? What can you control? How do you set priorities? What is unknowable?

How Will The Economy Be Impacted By COVID-19?

There are many questions surrounding the global pandemic due to COVID-19. In addition to the questions regarding containment, vaccines, deaths, and the like, is a very complicated issue: the economy.

There are multiple ways this might impact the global, as well as local, economy.

Short-Term Issues

The most direct problem has to do with interrupted supply chains. When a global economy meets a global pandemic, goods that would typically travel halfway around the world don’t get made. Work forces are incapacitated, travel restrictions are enacted, and end users are sick or on lockdown. As a result, buying and selling of goods doesn’t happen as it normally would.

In addition to that, uncertainty causes stock markets around the world to crash. In turn, this causes wealth to vanish and retirement funds to shrink.

Also, stay-at-home orders means travel companies like airlines and trains have few customers. Large gatherings being outlawed effectively put sports, theater, and music concerts out of operation. Restaurants and bars are restricted to delivery and take-out business. Non-essential businesses are closed.

Long-Term Issues

Whenever the crisis has passed and life returns to relative normality, there may well be many companies, small and large, that go out of business, leading to wide-scale unemployment. A global recession is possible, and maybe even likely.

To try and prevent too much economic hardship, governments are introducing stimulus bills. These may or may not work, but either way, they will add a large burden to the national debt of countries.

On top of everything else is the issue of the effect of the disease. There will be a significant number of worldwide illnesses and deaths. So, how will the loss of these people impact the economy? What will happen to health care workers and systems that have been stretched to — and often past — their limits?

It’s impossible to know what the future holds. But it is possible to think about trends, and to attempt to learn from past experiences. What do you think will happen to the local, national, and global economies? How will the economy be impacted by COVID-19?

Related questions: What is your five year prediction? Ten? COVID-19? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? What are you optimistic about?

Would You Want To Live Forever?

Like most people, I have a pretty strong survival instinct. But while I don’t want to die, I’m not sure that I want to live forever.

The Case For

Sure, living forever seems pretty attractive at first glance. You won’t, you know, die. Dying is often painful, unexpected, or otherwise unpleasant. If it can be avoided, so much the better.

Moreover, grief is a powerful, and often, devastating emotion. We have all experienced loss, and if you could live forever, you could spare your family and friends going through the grief they would feel at your passing.

Then, you’d never miss out on anything. Whatever amazing discoveries, whatever triumphs, whatever joys that await in the future, you would get to experience. First humans on Mars? Curing cancer? Your great-great-great grandchild getting married? Check, check, check.

The Case Against

All that sounds great, but there are significant downsides.

If you were the only immortal, then you would see everyone you love grow old and die, again and again and again.

But if somehow you could live forever, maybe everyone could. Maybe it is a scientific breakthrough. But in that case, there would be a serious resource problem.

Our planet currently supports more than seven billion people. Even at that number, we are threatening the future of our species and the entire eco-sphere. If none of those seven billion plus died, and babies continued to be born, we’d quickly run out of resources to sustain ourselves.

But maybe we colonize galaxy. We spread out among the stars, and find other planets with other resources. We make better use of the plentiful solar energy throughout the galaxy and the universe. Are there any other drawbacks to immortality?

Things have value to us because of scarcity. The gold standard works because gold is rare. Rainy days make sunny days better. Grief gives added meaning to joy.

If you lived forever, it is possible that life, as we know it, would lose meaning. It is our transitory time on this earth that gives our time here value. Our life matters precisely because we don’t live forever.

Or is that just a justification, designed to make us feel better about our inevitable end?

Would you want to live forever? Or is acceptable that our lives come to an end eventually?

Related questions: Why are people afraid of death? What do you want to do before you die? Past, present, or future? How can we appreciate life more?