Before you “OK Boomer” me, I’m not talking about the cold war days of hiding under a desk during a nuclear Armageddon. I’m not even old enough to remember much of the ’80s.
However, I was just out of college and beginning to work in IT in 1998, when Y2K was front and center in everyone’s mind that was working with computers. We had an apparent problem and a hard deadline. For decades, programmers were saving space and time by only using the last two digits when storing a year. Expiry dates, medical, financial data, and even birthdates, were stored with “75”, “82”, or even “00” for those getting ready to turn 100.
For several years, the problem was known, and IT professionals commanded top dollar to dig into someone else’s legacy code and fix it. Like the days we live in right now, people were hoarding toilet paper and stocking up on canned beans. CNN and Fox News were reporting that planes could fall out of the sky. People were buying up old missile silos and prepping.
The clock turned from December 31, 1999, at 11:59 PM and hit midnight.
I had been watching TV to see what would go wrong. Australia made it through unscathed, Europe blew up their fireworks, and North America celebrated the turn of the millennium without a terrorist incident or banking disaster.
The current coronavirus scare reminds me a lot about the Y2K Bug scare. We knew enough about the issue to know that if we ignored it, we would have big problems. Today, we know that if we ignore COVID-19, hospitals will be overwhelmed, and many more will die.
The current coronavirus scare reminds me a lot of the Y2K Bug scare.
But there is a huge difference between the two situations. With the Y2K bug, unless you could fix a system you owned or were repairing someone else’s code, you couldn’t fix the problem. Stressing about it was normal for many. Anxiety grew, but the bug didn’t affect many, because people contained it.
Today, we’re trying to contain the COVID-19 bug. Many are affected, and I pray that a vaccine is in place quickly.
As well, many are struggling with extreme anxiety because of the situation.
Here are some tips to get through the fear.
- Self-isolate to prevent the spread and flatten the curve. Wash your hands and try not to touch your face. Do what you can do.
- Get enough groceries to last a week or two, but don’t take the last 10 of anything.
- Stop taking on the burden of things you can’t fix. You can’t prevent the virus from spreading. You can only do your best to keep yourself from spreading it.
- Go for walks outside, say hi to people, from a safe distance. Don’t kiss them on the cheek, even if they are your grandparents.
- Please recognize that the vast majority of people, even where it started, did not end up with the disease or didn’t notice they had it.
- For the small percentage of people that end up in the hospital, most will survive.
- If you haven’t yet, choose your eternal destination and be able to experience joy, peace and hope amid the panic and fear.
This article was written by: Sheldon KotykPhoto Credit: Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash