IT'S OUR TURN: Journeying through life A.C. (After COVID)


Recently I have been seeing the phrase “life B.C.” meaning life before COVID-19. We have made it through five months that included a stay-at-home order that left many businesses closed for weeks. Over and over again, the phrase “during these challenging times” is used to describe life A.C. (After COVID).

Young children live in the moment. My nephew Finn is 4 and knows there are germs that could make him and his family sick, so he has to wash his hands more, but that’s about it. The rest of the time, he is enjoying being at home for the first time since he was a baby. With his preschool closed since and his parents working from home, he has been able to sleep in, play in his backyard and learn to ride a big-boy bike.

Looking back on this time, his memories will be happy ones of the time everyone was home together. That’s one of the gifts of being a child. If you are lucky, you live in the magic of the present, cocooned from all the bad things that are happening or might happen.

The same is true for children who will soon be going off to kindergarten. Their back-to-school supplies will include masks and hand sanitizer, but it will still be a time of excitement for them because it is all new and they are ready to be big kids, whatever that means.

Adjusting to life A.C. is more of a challenge for older students and adults, because we know more about the dangers of COVID and have constant reminders this isn’t life the way it used to be. For months we have been living with uncertainty, leaving many people feeling overwhelmed. Football games and volleyball matches won’t be held this fall, and group gatherings will be limited. School is no longer defined as everyone gathered in a building. Depending on how cases of COVID19 develop throughout the year, school might be in a building, a combination of school and online, or back to distance learning.


People and organizations that will succeed in this “new normal” are those willing to be creative and adapt to change. In Italy, residents have turned masks into fashion statements. Boutiques carry masks for every occasion, from work to evening wear.

Some businesses have created online shopping experiences that have actually grown their market. Restaurants and grocery stores have expanded curbside delivery services. Schools have created innovative learning plans to keep students engaged, whether online or in the classroom.

Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich,” said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartbreak carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.” In difficult times, the challenge is to find ways to grow that seed in ourselves.

In life before COVID-19, it was easy to take many of the things we enjoy in life for granted – a hug from a friend, being able to travel freely, breathing fresh air without a mask, feeling safe.

It can start to feel like life will always be this way, missing the way things used to be.

Hopefully one day there will be a breakthrough, a vaccine that is safe and effective and lets us enjoy those moments again with even more appreciation, because of all we have been through.

Opinion by Lorie Skarpness
Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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