Life changes in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?
As we put the finishing touches on this special edition of Signature Magazine, it’s nearing the end of May, and I have lost all track of time. My mind is stuck somewhere in March, which is when the COVID-19 pandemic first struck Forrest County. The past two months are just a blur.
When the first virus case was reported in Hattiesburg on March 13, it was the first case in the state, and we didn’t know the severity of the virus or what its ultimate impacts would be. Those impacts still aren’t totally clear, but I do know that we’ve lost friends and neighbors to the virus.
Our community is hurting, and many of our residents are without jobs. We all seem to be drifting aimlessly through the year, unsure of what’s to come. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s unfamiliar, and it just … to use some impolite language … it just sucks.
Indeed, it was just a blink of an eye, and the whole world changed. We became familiar with terms like “social distancing” and “coronavirus,” and we adjusted (well, some of us) to wearing masks when in public. We lost our ability to hug and shake hands and comfort each other through touch.
As I said, it just sucks, and there’s no magic words available to make things better. Life is difficult, and the pandemic has expounded on our difficulties by multitudes that are unspeakable at this time.
If you’re like me, you’ve felt lost throughout the pandemic. It seems like we blink, and another bad thing has happened … and I refuse to let that be the norm. I know things will return to normal some day, and it’ll be a new normal, but we’ll adjust. I feel something odd sprouting inside of me, and it’s called “hope.”
I’m a pessimist at heart, but for the past few years, I’ve been referring to myself as “The Recovering Pessimist.” It’s hard for me to have hope, but I see it on the fringes of this pandemic. I see it in stories of recovery from the virus, and I see it in my dreams at night. I see a brighter future, one where we’re all a little battle weary, a little beat up but alive and reinvigorated.
I hope this special edition, which we’ve called “The Pandemic Diaries,” gives you some of my sense of hope. Our creative community came together to assist us with this edition, and I think it’s a spectacular keepsake. After all, we must remember this time for its difficulties, but we must also document our triumphs and our resolve. I think we’ve done that in these pages.
Until next time, wear your masks, practice social distancing, shop local, and, most importantly, love on your neighbors, friends and family (from a safe distance). Keep blinking, friends, and before we know it, it’ll be a whole new world.
- Joshua Wilson
Joshua Wilson is the managing editor of Signature Magazine and The PineBelt NEWS. Write him at joshua@HubCitySPOKES.com.