2020 is BIG But Doesn’t Have to be All Bad

Whew! Anybody losing their minds yet due to the COVID-19 lockdown? I’m doing okay staying home as much as I can but I’m not so okay with the everpresent thought that I might catch my death any second of any day. That part gets old fast.

Life has been disrupted in pretty much every aspect. I go to the store once a week. My hours at work have been cut in half since elective surgeries have been postponed. I’ll have the thrill of signing up for unemployment benefits next week. The last time I signed up for unemployment was before the Internet was invented so, yeah, it’s going to be interesting.

Life in general has been put on hold. It’s like suspended animation.

I feel for all the small businesses that are closed. I don’t think the economy is going to bounce back quickly when this is over. There’s going to be a lot of people and businesses in debt for quite awhile after this.

Beyond the economics of it all, there’s the emotional toll. Last week I was at work when the first confirmed cases of coronavirus in Decatur were confirmed. My co-worker and I looked at each other and both felt chills go down our spines.

“Whew. It’s here.” Like, in this building here. The disease that has been creeping across the globe for months like a sinister fog had finally reached us, humble, lowly, us.

And we’re well aware of when there’s another possible case in the hospital because the double doors, usually closed only during fire drills, are shut to allow transport of such patients.

It reminds me of the movie, “The Ten Commandments” in which the final plague is unleashed on Egypt’s firstborn. I feel compelled to smear lamb’s blood on the door frame of our department in hopes the deadly mist will pass us by.

And Decatur. Most jobs in Decatur are essential positions. Most of us either work in a factory, in healthcare, a grocery store, or at one of the two hospitals. There’s not a whole lot of other choices here in employment. It puts this city at greater risk because working people can’t stay home.

Decatur also has a higher percentage of residents that are older compared to many other cities. Rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease are high here. This isn’t exactly the healthiest town around during good times, let alone now.

As of right now there are 6 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Decatur. There’s very likely more than that but testing has been limited.

I just read that the Decatur Celebration is cancelled for this year. The new waterpark is set to open this year and that probably won’t happen. That’s sad. It’s doubtful that concerts planned at the Devon Amphitheater will go on either – hopefully by this fall we can all get together and what a celebration that will be!

I’m much more grateful for so many things I didn’t think we’re all that special such as going to a store without considering the risks of bringing home a disease, going to a baseball game, my son’s soccer games, taking my son to school, babysitting my grandson, going to Springfield to visit family, and on and on.

I think a lot of us are reexamining our lives right now. Families are spending more time together. Our faith is being relied upon and people are praying more.

Kids are growing up during what will be a historic time period in American and global history. They will have stories to tell their grandchildren.

It’s not all bad. Most of us are going to be fine, like 98.5% of us probably. There will be lasting financial implications but this is Decatur and we’ve weathered a lot in those regards. We’re tough and resilient.

In January, I wrote that 2020 was going to be big and boy was I right. I did throw in the possibility that it could be big for a not so pleasant reason though.

But 2020 might end on a very good note for my family. I have a second grandchild due in November and I hope and pray things go well for both mom and baby.

Decatur, you are all in my prayers as well. We’ll get through this. If you are having severe anxiety or depression there is help out there. I definitely chose the wrong year to stop my anxiety meds! haha I’m doing good at handling things – about as well as everyone else I think.

Keep a sense of humor, do things you enjoy, stay busy, don’t watch the news constantly (it’s depressing), and have faith.

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