I am writing this column from my home office just north of Redwood Falls. This is not the first time I have worked from home.

However, this has become a new normal for me. Yet another sign of the times.

The world has changed, and I’m learning to change with it. Now that the stay-at-home order to combat the new coronavirus (COVID-19) has been lifted, I hope that we can all return to a somewhat normal life in the near future. I hope that we all get to see the other side of the pandemic.

For now, those are only hopes, and I have to confess that I do not believe they will come true by the time you read this column. Nevertheless, I am clinging to hope.

I am learning to balance my optimism with reality, one day at a time. I’ve done it before.

I always pride myself on adapting to change. I view change as being inevitable.

When one fights change, life is only that much more difficult.

When the Internet started to become widespread I embraced the concept and taught myself how to navigate the World Wide Web.

When smartphones became ever present in society, I finally ditched my flip-phone and embraced the concept of having a mini computer in the palm of my hands.

After 9/11, I adjusted to the presence of security and surveillance.

Now, with COVID-19 I am learning to adjust. I will admit, it has been more challenging – from wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, avoiding touching my face, as well as increasing hand washing.

COVID-19 has taken center stage in our lives, regardless of whether we like it or not. COVID-19 has changed how we live, work and access health care.

Given all this change it’s up to us individually and collectively as a whole to embrace changes to secure the health and safety of all of those around us. 

I now feel the divisions of politics within our nation will only be compounded by COVID-19. Some have resisted to the new practices put into place that are recommended to slow the pandemic as well as some even resisting the concept of the COVID-19 altogether.

Living through a pandemic once would be enough for anyone. Doing so again is not something any of us would want.

We all want to return to a sense of normalcy. However, the current situation of COVID-19 within communities needs us to act, change and adhere to practices that will contain the pandemic.

It's up to each of us to have that ever so difficult self conversation about what we can do individually to press forward.

To all readers – sacrifice, responsibility, looking out for others, and staying informed are our best lines of defense.

Stay well readers.