By Jessica Dortch 

The year 2020 will always be remembered for the rise of COVID-19. Many people had big plans for the new year and decade, including myself, that all came to a screeching halt by mid-March. Events were postponed and later cancelled, concerts were rescheduled for next year, and for the first time ever, all educational institutions were restricted from admitting students on campus. 

When you think about the term “virtual reality,” you typically think about an advanced technology of some sort that allows you to explore the vast reaches of the deep without physically being present. Simply put, you think of the future. All things considered, I think it is safe to say that the onslaught of COVID-19 has single handedly catapulted our world into the future as we will come to know it.

Jessica Dortch is an author, a writer and AFRO’s production editor. (Twitter Photo)

This may be disappointing news for those who conceptualized the future as an episode of “The Jetsons” or “Futurama.” Every home doesn’t have a robot butler, every car isn’t a hovercraft and there are no buildings that float in the sky. 

What we do have is high speed internet and platforms like Zoom, BlueJeans, GoToMeeting and Google Hangout that allow us to connect with one person or multiple people in different locations at the same time. The age of COVID-19 has released a spur of innovation that rejuvenated the saying “anything is possible.” 

Virtual events are literally popping up everywhere: business meetings, book clubs, zumba classes, church services, clubs (Club Quarantine) and literally everything in between. In a lot of ways, we are living in a virtual reality right now. 

As I think back to mid-March, when the coronavirus initially shut us down, many people were distraught, uncertain and flat out afraid. It was deeper than being laid off work for a few weeks or having to finish school online at home. People were unsure of where we would go from here, and if our world would ever go back to normal. 

Let’s face it, I never thought I would see anything like this happen in my lifetime. Change is typically gradual, but the coronavirus came like a thief in the night and no one was prepared. It has taken some getting used to, but we are coping with this current crisis. People are finding new ways to gather, work, communicate, engage, learn and celebrate with each other without leaving home. This is our new normal. 

After speaking with a few family members and friends, I’ve concluded that quarantine life hasn’t been as bad as we thought it would be. Many of us are now taking vitamins and supplements regularly, exercising daily, staying informed, spending quality time with family and are either keeping in touch or getting back in touch with distant loved ones. In no way am I making light of this deadly disease that is terrorizing our world, but I am simply saying that we should count our blessings and embrace our new future.  

Jessica Dortch is an author, a writer and AFRO’s production editor. For story suggestions or other inquiries email [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @jesscreatively.

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO.
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