From Radio Days to Selfies and
Dealing with the Pandemic as Wise Women
Sweet Reader, in the 1930s a marvelous invention entered the homes of most Americans. Radio changed American life, bringing daily news coverage, sports, comedies, drama, and music into the homes of millions. It looked from the front like a strange takeoff on a clock, but from the back, it looked like a miracle from outer space. All sorts of glass tubes of different sizes filled the back of the radio, allowing it, once plugged into the socket to come alive with song, news, sports, and drama. One was usually enough for a household.
Gathering Around the Radio
After dinner, all might cluster around the radio for a scary drama or a western. During the day when dad was working mom might take a break and sit down to several soap operas that ran 15 minutes each and always involved complicated love affairs. Perhaps you remember Helen Trent and her efforts to find love, after 35? I certainly remember her as my mom would turn on the radio at noon, sit down, and I would sit next to her, fixated on all of Helen’s adventures. I could not imagine being so old, over 35! But I loved the magic of imagining her life in my mind’s eye and the comfort of being with my wonderful, loving mom.
Can you imagine that radio was taken so seriously in those days that radio announcers arrived to do their announcing in tuxedos?! Although no one could see the actors, all dressed appropriately for their characters. And, many actors became national idols, just as it still happens today.
Reaching the Public with Radio
Presidents attempted to adapt to this new way of reaching the public and each had his own style. FDR commented to the public that “Never before had so many Americans had so much time to do so little.” And Eisenhower had the first press conference. D-Day was announced on the radio as World War II ended.
Of course, television followed the radio and homes moved on to have a radio in the kitchen or a back bedroom. Today we live in homes that have perhaps 3 or more televisions, at least one computer, perhaps no radio as the computer can also turn into the radio and in fact the television. Ah, how times have changed. Press conferences happen but also social media platforms are used by presidents in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.
The World Has Changed Since the Radio
The world has changed at an amazing pace. But one thing has not and that is the consequences of a plague on the human body. Who even five months ago could have imagined we would be living in a worldwide pandemic? Unbelievable.
A dream? We only wish. This is real and we are in it. Our minds are in shock and so are our emotions. For those who are sick, bodies fail and life as we know it comes to a halt. How are we to wrap around what is going on in the world that we were so used to?
Thoughts on How to Stay Positive
As a positive psychologist and a woman of senior years, I have some suggestions that can be extremely helpful. For one thing, think of the concept of rebooting a computer. Or the concept of shifting gears. Both imply adapting and change with the result being a success story. If you review your own life you will see that it has been far from static.
First, you were a baby, then a child, then a teen, then an adult. Your body went from 7lbs. to over 150lbs. At least mine did! Your first teeth fell out. Second teeth grew. You developed hormones that helped drive you away from childhood pleasures and on to adult pleasures and drive to perhaps marry, have children, raise pets, etc. Then you probably moved away from your parents, perhaps across the country or world.
Basically, we all have adapted probably at least 60-times to a variety of new circumstances. And here we are again in a place where we need to adapt. The amazing thing is that when we adapt once again, we will find our stride. It is in human nature to be resilient and find solutions.
How to Adapt
We have at our fingertips some of what we need to adapt. Here is a shortlist:
Zoom and skype allow access to classes, meetings and staying in touch with friends, loved ones and of course children and grandchildren.
Cellphones that allow us to keep the visual and auditory diaries of our lives. That also allows us to make Facetime calls with loved ones, business partners, etc. Camera functions that allow us to make selfie films ready to go up on YouTube or Vimeo, etc. and be seen around the world.
Computers that make ordering groceries easy as well as buying what we need when stores are closed.
We can teleconference with our doctors if we cannot get out of the house.
An Invisible Enemy
Now, I realize we are all under terrible pressure. We are dealing with a disease that we do not fully understand. But we will know more and more every day. The world is full of brilliant scientists who are working day and night to help develop cures and vaccines for this virus. I just heard some good news on a vaccine that looks promising and I’m sure we will have more and more good news as the scientists continue their work.
Still, for many of us, this is a time where we have time on our hands, perhaps for some too much time and for many of us seniors loneliness. Oh, to hug a grandchild!
Think of the kids, for them so much has been canceled that they look forward to… graduations, sports, proms, award dinners, recitals, etc.
And again, for many of us grandparents there are lonely challenges, perhaps living alone and having to stay indoors, not seeing grandkids, worrying about health issues.
And for those raising kids it is the opposite. Being constantly exhausted, trying to teach and perhaps work from home.
And for others loss of a job, money worries, even hunger.
A Few More Ideas
I am not sugar coating this pandemic. But here are some more ideas:
- Use what you have available to you to your advantage, whether it be a TV, a computer, a cell phone, neighbors, helping others, etc.
- Remember what you are good at and keep some of your skills and good habits going.
- Stay connected to others that emotionally work for you.
- Imagine yourself five years from now doing great things and even write notes dated in the future to G-d or yourself, telling what you are doing and thinking and being thankful for.
- Keep a video diary on your phone of this time period. This pandemic will be talked about in 100 years just as the Spanish Flu of 1918 is still talked and written about.
- Remember that technology and medicine have changed over the last 100 years, a cure will happen.
- And lastly, remember that you have rebooted already dozens of times. You will reboot this time; the sun will come out tomorrow and you will be pleased with the person that you have been able to be during this hard time. No, you will not be the same but if you persist in developing your positive traits and talents during this time period you will be even better.
- I encourage making lemonade out of lemons. As some comedian said, “How can it hurt?
How are you doing during COVID-19? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this page. We are all in this together!
Sometimes friends and colleagues call me, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein: ‘The Enchanted Self.’ That’s because as a psychologist in private practice for over 35 years, I’ve developed a form of positive psychology called The Enchanted Self. I’m not enchanted, but I do have many ways and ideas to help all of us feel better through all stages of life. These methods help us to recognize our potential, regardless of our age, to grab on to our talents and find again and again the emotional energies needed to be creative, resourceful, resilient, and to live joyfully.
In two minutes share with the ‘girl’ from my books, The Truth, Diary of a gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen, and my films, the ‘girl’ who has no name, as she is all of us. Share with her as she goes from despair to elation as we most, not only in today’s pandemic but as we travel through life. Enjoy seeing the joy she finds loving and connecting once more and bring it home to your and your grand-kids. Watch the film at: https://vimeo.com/
If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe. Each daily story will be delivered straight to your inbox.