2020 …The Lost Year

Covid-19, which began in China and coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year in late January has become the lost year. How you are personally affected will determine to what extent you have lost this year.  People have already lost work, school, stocks, vacations and most importantly confidence.

Social distancing - lost year

Since I am residing in Florida in an over 55 community, my entire neighborhood is extremely worried. Many are staying home or wearing gloves or masks when they go out. The socializing that is so important for the senior population has been stifled, as we all practice social distancing. Each individual in our community is concerned about his or her health and safety. And we are all concerned about the safety of our neighbors.
We are all living the old story of an individual on a ship who starts drilling a hole in the floor of his cabin. When told to stop he responds, “It’s my cabin and I can do as a please”. Of course they explain to him that his drilling a hole will sink the boat and everyone in it. The entire world is in the same boat in 2020. We are not going to drill a hole in the boat. We are going to self-quarantine. We are not going to socialize in order to protect ourselves and our community.

The “lost year” has lost trillions of dollars in the stock market, destroyed the bull market, and stifled future economic growth. American workers have already lost employment in service industries and the other sectors will be losing employment opportunities soon. We have suspended Major League sports, March Madness has become March Sadness, Broadway shows have gone dark, Disney world is closed and so are our Florida beaches and even the 2020 Olympics may cancel. The economic impact is not like 9-11, it’s worse.

We have lost wedding receptions and neighborhood poker games, in fact, any event with 10 or more people. Schools are closed, churches and synagogues are closed. Cruise ships and airlines have a lost year on the horizon. Even Starbucks is drive-thru only.

lost year - self quarantine

This “lost year”, has reached the point of social distancing and self-quarantine and isolation. This isolation is not natural for us, since we are social animals. In the Bible, Adam was the first man and he was alone. The Bible story continues with the creation of Eve, explaining that it is not good for man to be alone. That a person needs another person to share life’s journey together ; their soul mate.  People don’t want to be alone. Yet, here we are at this point in time when we are told that it would be dangerous to socialize.

Physically, we need to practice social distancing. But we need to continue to socialize in non-physical ways. Grandchildren should not physically visit their grandparents but they should video chat and phone regularly.

We are living in a new uncharted world, where the old rules no longer apply. Hand sanitizers and face masks which last month were almost free are now a rare commodity and crude oil which sold for $100 a barrel now sells for under $40 a barrel. The most expensive commodity is isolation and distance. Can you stay far enough away from a cough and isolated enough from a contagious transmission?

Heightened Awareness

This new world has shown me that everyday is a blessing. Maybe we should not have taken for granted that the airlines will fly, that the local coffee shops will be brewing fresh coffee every morning or that we can always hug our grandchildren.

The bull stock market was never guaranteed, our job was never assured, and a farmer is more important to society than an athlete. We seniors are reflecting on our own mortality and the health of our families.  And now we all have a deeper understanding of what is really important. Nothing was ever a sure thing.

Let’s all get through this together. Let’s be aware, be safe and help each other to get through this reality check as we prepare for better times.

Jake Tewel

About the Author: Jake Tewel holds a Masters Degree from YU. He has been a wine seller, caterer, and a million miler for the past 15 years. Jake is a best friend, great neighbor, your go-to travel person, father, grandfather, and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart-healthy nutrition, exercise, and travel.