Navigating the watershed - The Orca

Navigating the watershed

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Jody Vance: This pandemic is going to change society. It’s up to us to ensure those changes are for the better.

A watershed moment is a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation. It’s a moment of division, after which things will never be the same.

We are all deep in it, staring down another two weeks, a month, or more, of the new abnormal. Social, or physical as it’s now known, distancing and isolation has most British Columbians living an odd rendition of Groundhog Day.

Yes, this is our watershed moment.

Looking back in hindsight on our society pre-pandemic, we press pause on life like never before and question ourselves:

What was important a month ago that isn’t now? Are your priorities different?

It’s not yet been a month. On March 11, 2020, things got real. Watching the World Health Organization briefing and witnessing the pivot from Global Health Emergency to Pandemic. Since then, our lives have been turned upside down.

Let’s try to ponder the upside of this down. Some positives are already emerging from this humbling experience.

First, the down. The shockingly sudden shift in business, employees sent to work from home – or worse, laid off. Gathering places blocked, playgrounds closed, restaurants and bars shut, transit a fleet of empty buses and trains, hospitals filling.

In under 30 days we’ve become socially distanced every waking moment. It’s felt both like the blink of an eye and a lifetime since we rolled without a second thought to what we might have touched…or how long to wash hands.

At our collective watershed moment, it’s vital we let go of illusions of control and pay attention to where we can be better going forward.

Much of society was a game of tug-o-war. But look at us now! We are waiving at one another, and cheering together nightly at 7pm. Suddenly we are ONE team united. Looking for connection through new channels.

This pause has seen us ponder how we can help one another.

Many conversations being had are centred around what we don’t need, and what we have enough of.

This is a big COVID19 lesson.

Suddenly, we’re far more willing to sacrifice in the name of the greater good, to live more simply if we might find a way to return to some semblance of normalcy.

On the other side of this, we will see a new normal. With that in mind, take this food for thought: how about we commit to making a few things…stick?

There are a few no-brainers. Start with free parking at hospitals; let’s just stop the debate on that and make it so. For essential services employees, hand out car decals when giving access passes and let that decal allow for free parking everywhere, 24/7/365. It’s a big bump for their expenses, there’s a reason Free Parking is the most coveted spot on the Monopoly board. It would mean an instant raise for our frontliners.

What’s on your list? Making permanent the change for kids aging out of care? Something else? Give it some thought as we watershed together…from a distance.

**Stay home, wash hands, maintain physical distance, protect elders by keeping your circle as tight as possible. Stay home if sick, self isolate if returning from outside the country for 14 days. Check in on those who live alone, help elders. Stay connected in the virtual sense.

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.