The Changes That I Need

Thomas Slatin

With the societal changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, I have started to realize what is most important, but perhaps most importantly, I have made note of how this pandemic has changed me personally, and in almost concurrent fashion, I make the changes that I need.

It has been a difficult and trying time during the pandemic. I thought about keeping a daily journal simply to document the spread, though quickly abandoned the idea as there is an enormous amount of press coverage already, and outside of the daily news updates, every single day seems identical to the one before. These days are seemingly unprecedented, historic perhaps, and unlike anything my generation has ever experienced, and during my lifetime hopefully it will be something that I will not have to face again.

The quarantine, which resulted from a complete failure on the part of the current governmental administration has left many people unemployed, and desperate, and has hospitalized and killed countless more.

The Trump administration was a failure from the beginning, garnering much controversy and media attention, but now the pandemic has lead to dire levels and the ridiculousness of Donald Trump’s antics are no longer entertaining or humorous.

I have been staying home as much as possible, leaving only to take long walks in the forest, to purchase food, from the grocery store, or to take pictures which document the effects of the pandemic.

These unprecedented and critical times have given me a lot of time to think and to prioritize the things that truly matter, and these are my relationship with Angie, my work, my friends, and my family. I have come to realize just how much I have going for me, and how fortunate I am, and most importantly, how I should never, ever take any of this for granted.

This crisis, it seems, has made me realize that I have again wished for, and acquired things that I don’t need; another unsuspecting victim of the vicious capitalist regime that has most recently contributed to the downfall of modern society.

Arthur Covert and Harvey Slatin

As I have a keen eye to the future, in my mind’s eye, I must also be forever mindful of the past. Lately I have felt an overwhelming need to revisit the places I used to roam, if only for the emotional fulfillment of some sort of closure. Everyone has a story to tell, and my life and experiences are the foundation of the numerous stories I tell.

I remember being young, perhaps around the age of seven or eight, when my father and his best friend, Arthur Covert, took me to Riverfront Park in Schenectady, New York. Arthur, or Arturo as I knew him, brought along a mason jar and collected a sample of water from the Mohawk River. We brought it back to Arturo’s house and I was instructed to look at the protozoa swimming around in the water under a microscope.

My father explained that these tiny things that I was seeing were the building blocks of life, and one day a new disease might come from organisms such as these, and forever change society. And of course, being young and naive, I didn’t believe him.

Unfortunately, I realize now that my father was in fact, telling the truth. Society as we know it has all but come to a complete standstill, resulting partially in an unexpected opportunity to rediscover the things that I once enjoyed, such as listening to NPR and reading articles in The New York Times. Intellectual pursuits, as I refer to them, include reading news articles and well-crafted blogs on the Internet. I have been reading about all the things I used to think about and on numerous occasions, discuss with my father. Scientific theories on Quantum Physics and other things that were all hypothetical at best. I remember being around the age of 12 and getting scolded by the librarians at the Schenectady County Public Library for reading about Scientific theories such as Buridan’s Ass and Schrödinger’s Cat, instead of reading books in the juvenile section.

I find it strange how ones perception of time depends heavily on the specific moments in our lives, regardless of the order in which they happen. And yet we base our future plans of tomorrow upon the cusp of yesterday; the past often dictating my future unless I make the changes that I need.

The images used in this article came from my personal archives, and were taken at the home of Arthur Covert in Schenectady, New York in the 1980’s.

This Is The Generation Of Feeling Lost | A Typical Friday’s Child | Life Is Full Of Questions And It’s Tearing Me Apart | Keyframe | They Came And Wrote Things Down On Paper


  • Wilson Jake

    I am sure when you remember your old man said “these tiny things that I was seeing were the building blocks of life, and one day a new disease might come from organisms such as these”…you will just smile. The change I need and realised now is spending more time with my family because they are all I got

  • Oyeyipo Oladele

    Your just said it all Tom that the quarantine, which resulted from a complete failure on the part of the current governmental administration has left many people unemployed, and desperate, and has hospitalized and killed countless more. Change is what one can’t predict a times.

  • jolly555

    Well put together, a lot of times I have come to realize that whatever happens in our lives is a moment of reflection because we would learn a thing or two from it. People should learn from this pandemic period.

  • TJB22

    Its true, what we once thought was important is not anymore. Its a big change since the pandemic. Good read though.

  • brainedet

    This pandemic period made to know that life is just empty and we must live that way and mostly strive to help humanity. This period has taught me a lot

  • esgyll

    This pandemic really changed lives forever. I know that it won’t really be the same after this passes.

  • Janine Bocateja

    The time is past when humankind thought it could be selfishly draw on exhaustible resources. We know now the world is not a commodity.

  • Meldred Judith

    This pandemic taught me to always see tbe brighter side of everything. This pandemic made us stay at home and spend more time with family, it also heals the Earth.

  • Mark Janeo

    This pandemic has really taught us a lot of lessons. Lessons that we will carry for the rest of our lives.

  • Maury Cheskes

    I agree that the pandemic has been a huge source of reflection for everyone. I definitely try and minimize Trump news as he continues to outdo himself with painful stupidity. I think the story about your father is very interesting in that it was a foreshadow for today’s crisis. These unprecedented times definitely reminds us to appreciate what we have and gives us insight on the loneliness epidemic in society.

  • Danielle M

    Age makes people become very wise, I wish we old could hear our parents advice and trust in their llife experience.

  • Prince

    This has really open our eyes to see things I a different ways. I need to spend more time with my families because at the end, it leaves me and them glued together

  • Meg W

    Very well written Tom. I can relate to your experiences during these adverse times. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Patricia

    Much like you, the alone time this virus has accorded us has made me really appreciate all the things I have going for me. The hustle of everyday life sometimes makes us forget just how lucky we are.

  • Oliver

    It’s inspiring to read your views on the whole Covid-19 situation. I am impressed by how well you have dealt with things so far.

  • Daphne

    I couldn’t agree more with the fact that the situation we face as a society is unprecedented. It is nothing like our generation has experienced before.

  • Teddy

    I have been using the lockdown to do a bit of self reflection and self improvement. I have managed to pick up quite a few new skills.

  • Shantel

    I am very disappointed in how the Trump administration has handled this pandemic. A lot of lives have been and continue to be lost 🙁

  • Anderson

    A lot of people out there are bale to relate to your sentiments. People have become more thankful of what they have recently.

  • Storm

    It is worth noting that the lock-down has brought a lot of families together. It has been kind of a blessing in disguise.

  • Sylvia

    “The Trump administration was a failure from the beginning, garnering much controversy and media attention.” Very well said Thomas. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  • Luis_gonzalez

    I liked the story you wrote on this wall, they are stories that I have always liked since I was a child, and you are right, each person needs to make changes in their lives and this is the time to find ourselves.

  • Glad

    It is really ironoc, one minute we were free to move about and go where you want to go to the next minute we are locked in because of a disease. I just pray everything comes back to normal soon, so we can live our normal lives.

  • carla mackrell

    Today is a good day having found you through my friend B Parsons. We share the same passions. Tomorrow I’ll be seventy years old, wonder how that happened, and ask myself how did the country allow one man to cause such havoc before and during this crisis. I see people getting creative to fill the scary void and hopefully that will help all of us get through this mentally in tact.

  • Carlo Sanders

    I admire your ability for deep introspection. I think if it were not for it, you would not be able to come to the conclusion that there are changes that need to be made. Nurture that gift, as not everybody is able to think so deeply and make use of it to take charge of your own life. Would it so happen that perhaps that we may see COVID-19 as an opportunity for us to reflect on what truly matters? It’s unfortunate though that many lives that been lost due to it.

  • Renee

    How do you feel about the changes you made or if you’ve made them considering its 2021 now? By the way, I agree the Trump administration was a failure from the beginning. Not to get too political but it really was a mess for me, I don’t hate Reps or Dems for standing for what they believe in but Trump’s admin was definitely a circus with morals gone.

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