On the East Coast of a western country with a globalized economy, slow is not the default setting of most New Englanders. But aside from the praiseworthy parents now having to work, homeschool and parent all at once, this pandemic has given most of us the opportunity to be still. This is a truth arguably most important for those of us who are millennials, and younger, to hear. In the core of our youth, in touch with — and in control of— pop culture and perhaps most flexible in the face of a global crisis, we are the ones who will carry the lessons of COVID-19 well into the future.
Of course, not everyone will appreciate this “opportunity” to be still as such, particularly while we grapple with the worst of the pandemic. The challenges of COVID-19 and its associated consequences loom heavy above our heads, and this is important to acknowledge. Nevertheless, we can all agree that for the most part, this pandemic has forced us to change how we live our lives. Whether we welcome these conditions or not, the ways in which we react to our new reality have and will continue to shape our ideas about who we are as individuals, nations and a human race. As these ideas inevitably shift, so too will our culture(s). Watching this take place; cluing into what the new American and global landscape will look like; and taking part in its transformation is not inevitable, but it is simple: pay attention.