Normalcy…most of us misses it, but clearly life is different and what we once were familiar with (normal ‘day to day’ living) doesn’t seem to be the ‘norm’ any longer. So if you’re thinking about what our future might look like, you’re not alone. Standing in a line yesterday I was approached by a total stranger who stood a short distance watching me; this person asked if I minded answering a few random questions, yearning for a stranger’s point of view…I obliged.

Everyone has a different point of view these days, so I found it intriguing when I was approached by a stranger. As they turned towards me the first question was a common one “Do you think we will ever get back to normal?” Immediately I responded “No” and then the look of sadness came with these words, “That’s what I was afraid of”. I went on to explain my reasons ‘why’, as we both stood waiting to be helped by a new employee who was being trained…hence the long time in line for us (others listened in). Customer service is an issue today no matter where you are; grocers, retailers, medical office, hospitals, government offices…it’s all the same, they lack employees and many are lacking the experience that comes with these positions. I went on to say that…what was   once a desirable position, is no longer wanted by the millennials or younger generations…and that many of these jobs require in-person to person contact; here lies one of the problems. They’re all working (remotely) on computers and or phones, so the ability to communicate in-person aren’t as skilled as those who were in the public eyes (prior to pandemic), so-to-speak. Also, those that did work customer jobs now have different interests since they’ve been at home; part of the reason ‘why’ certain jobs may not return; automation is the ‘new normal’… one example being, self-checkouts in stores and, or check-in kiosks at medical facilities. Not wanting to sound redundant on this subject, but the person (stranger) asking the questions is roughly 70ish, and then others chimed into the conversation. It is clear that the older generations (above 50 yrs. of age) do not like how they are feeling about the current changes, not-to-mention current news issues, like the crisis at Americas borders; everyone has something to say on the subject (I prefer to listen).

Everywhere I’ve gone this week it’s been a little different than in the past (maybe it’s the full moon), but a lot of elders want the conversation of ‘what’s going on in the world today.’ I believe that some are feeling ‘uneasy’ about their future, and I get it (I’m right there with them). There is no doubt that many cities across America are in trouble; not enough law enforcement, and not enough medical staff, including doctors and first responders. Example; I was told I needed a medical test, and the first opening was the end of November! I know they are short staffed, but that’s not the only issue…doctors, radiologists, and RN’s are in shortage; especially when it comes to specialties. Surely, this will affect the older generations, especially if trying to get a diagnosis and then treatment. New protocols from Medicare aren’t exactly for the better and likely will continue to change. My conversation with this stranger was enlightening and pleasant; sometimes you can’t help but wonder if ‘others’ feel a similar way; for those that don’t speak out in general. There’s no doubt that there’s plenty to be concerned about today…but we must embrace each other with a little bit of hope, understanding, and compassion. The future is going to be different and we can’t go back in time; however…we can try to be positive about it. As far as the past goes, we know life was simpler and people were friendlier; the stranger and I agreed. Graciously we said our goodbyes, leaving with this phrase… ‘To better days ahead’…that’s HOPE.

Make your week count.



One thought on “Questions from a Stranger

  1. Today, should we believe President Roosevelt’s statement:
    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself?

    Or has the over-arching reality been:
    The only thing we must fear are the uncountable causes of fear, humankind itself?

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