|Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail|
2020 will go down in the history books for many reasons, however, the resounding memory or lesson learned could be a deep and inspiring resiliency of mankind. It is everyone’s choice to take away what they will, everyday we can choose what our outlook on life will be. What started out as another year filled with promise, growth, and opportunities, abruptly changed in late February early March with the announcement of a world-wide pandemic named COVID-19. The world changed forever, and nothing was the same. What we took for granted soon changed, and what we thought was a firm footing in the world, quickly turned out to be shifting sands, leaving us unbalanced. We struggled to adjust to sheltering in place and social distancing as we watched the ever-mounting numbers of patients filling the hospitals. At times, we seemed to be at war with ourselves desperately trying to comprehend the constant grief that so many families had to endure being separated from their loved ones who lay sick alone and scared. It was difficult enough to comprehend the massive scale of this pandemic as we struggled to explain the mandatory restrictions to our children.
For parents with school aged children, learning how to help their child with distance learning became a challenge. Teachers had to master zoom teaching; employers had to rethink how to stay in business while their staff worked efficiently from home. Restaurants had an especially difficult time keeping their doors open and often had to reduce their staff or even close. Essential workers such as mail carriers, firefighters, law enforcement, emergency and hospital workers and the construction industries had to carry written documentation in case they were stopped while driving to work. It is foreign to come to a complete stop from who we are and tried to navigate a safe way to live our lives while isolated at home. Socializing was put-on long-term hold; we wore our masks to the grocery store to pick up supplies for our families and quickly rushed home to wash our hands and hope that we were not exposed to the virus.
The Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail abruptly put on the brakes from hosting any public events or fundraising activities due to the restrictions of the pandemic. We decided to shift gears and expand our social media presence and launched our weekly blog series. During this time, we are gearing up to launch our YouTube Channel all while working from home.
With extra time on our hands from either not commuting to work or for many, not working, the proximity of bike and hiking trails has proven to be an important escape from being isolated at home. Fortunately for residents in the Inland Empire, we have easy access to the 21-mile regional Pacific Electric Trail. While it provides a safe outdoor release of pent-up energies and tension through physical exercise, it also provides a welcome release for our frustration of our mental and emotional health. The Friends used this time to develop a “safe distancing” video highlighting some of the many amenities along the PE Trail.
The graduating class of 2020 had to miss their prom and graduation. Birthdays were celebrated via zoom or maybe friends and families would decorate their vehicles and drive by honking their horns. Retail businesses that were already on shaky ground, closed their doors for good and filed for bankruptcy. Families who lost a loved one could not even gather for a funeral. Our natural desire to express compassion for others had to be done remotely. Our familiar lives were literally suspended in time as we tried to comprehend over 330,000 lives lost world-wide.
We were all ill-prepared for the lasting effects of isolation and changes to our mental health. But for some, this pandemic thrust us into working from home and finding ways to stay productive and connected to the world. We found inspiration in our families and friends and realized how much we all need each other. With all fabric of our world in constant fluctuation, we need to take a moment and look inward for our firm ground. Finding balance, serenity, calm, and peace of mind is an “inside job” we need now more than ever. The deep resiliency of mankind continues to inspire me and hopefully next year, we will begin to emerge into a world where it is safe to socialize again.