Curiosity about the new normal ahead

Ann Fox, Age 70

Hello Jane & Ellen,

First let me say I hope you’re both doing fine wherever you may be hunkered down.  I’m in central Ohio and am doing fine . . . this is just a long time to go without spending much time with real people . . . 

On to my curiosity.  I read ’70 Candles’ a couple of years ago now as preparation for becoming 70 last fall.  I was very intrigued by the last section of the book, the story of Nina and her life in the future.  I’m wondering just how far into the future your vision of Nina’s life takes us.  (I haven’t read Michio’s book yet.)  I can’t help but think if we were moving ahead faster with the robot/android technology, the load for front line workers during this virus pandemic might have been lessoned.  

I’m really looking forward to what changes in life will stick with us after we’ve been distanced for so long and will likely be distanced from strangers for a while longer.   Now that we’ve learned to “like” the way we look on camera courtesy of Zoom and Skype and now even Facebook has a new conferencing capability, will we not feel the urge to go out as much?  Will we get dressed even less often – i.e. want to be able to stay at home in our comfy pants rather than even put on jeans to go out?  Will we bring the restaurant to our house and have friends over for take-out nights?   Here in Ohio the restaurants can deliver mixed drinks with your order.  

Anyway, I was just wondering if in your mind the story of Nina was a 2030 vision or a 2040 vision?

Make it a great day!

Ann Fox

Longevity Coach, Explorer & Guide

Aging is Living

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13 Responses to Curiosity about the new normal ahead

  1. Blog Mavens says:

    By AMY BRYANT, Age 80

    I decorated my home as a sanctuary containing all that is meaningful to me. The likenesses of four generations of family grace the walls. Religious artifacts are strategically placed for worship and protection. The computer, tv, and phone assure my connectedness with the outside world. Cards decorate a tall cabinet, symbols of loving relationships shared with friends. And books, of course the books, carrying me to places I have visited in reality and in my imagination. The woodland view from my lanai is as important as my interior décor.

    Coronavirus has erupted labeling me at-risk. The safe-at-home order is issued. I step outside my door There are no guards with rifles to shoot me if I venture far, but I dare not wander off. The spray of Covid-19 can kill as surely as bullets. I step back inside. How does one draw the line between fear-based mentality and rational precaution? My home, once a sanctuary, has become a prison with invisible bars.

    Finally, some restrictions are lifted. There is a quickening in my body. The energy field is tingling. Blood is flowing, no speeding, through my veins. Anticipation. For the first time in eight weeks, I leave my complex, and the tires of my car glide onto and embrace Bayshore Boulevard. I park beside the marina, exist my vehicle, cross the parking lot, then step onto the expanse of grass.

    It’s early evening and Waterfront Park hosts fifteen people at most, a reversal of the old saying “safety in numbers.” In this case, the fewer the numbers, the greater the safety. Two friends approach, and as I smile I extend my arm in a strong outward motion. They respect the symbolic stop sign. Our human energy fields cross the six-foot boundary and unite in shared friendship and wished-for hugs. Lavender blue clouds outlined with the gold of the western sun, enfold us like a protective dome.

    I return to my car and head home, renewed. My world of safety has expanded. My freedom of choice has increased. As I approach my door, the invisible bars dissolve. No longer a prison, my home is once again a sanctuary.

    Amy Bryant, Safety Harbor Resident Blogger
    Author of “You Can Go Home Again“

    • mary hirsch says:

      I am so happy for you, Amy. Not only were you were able to create a beautiful world for you inside your home, surrounded by all that you love and brings you comfort – but that you finally exited your Queendom after eight weeks and see your friends! Ah, the “little” things in life…

      I stayed in for six weeks in Boston, ordering meds and food in, avoiding my Petri-dish, senior building’s laundry, washing by hand, just like camping days with son, the Boy Scout. I avoided the elevator and walked up/down 7 floors to get my mail bi-weekly; nothing was that important. It never is.

      And, since I’m an exercise freak and can’t hit the daily gym, I took out all my Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates DVDs, dumb bells, roller and even dance with Richard Simmons. What a wonderful world! And so much time for meditation and prayer… reading (such a delicious habit!), writing and brushing up on French. So much to do; my days are full! And then there’s Zoom, texting, e-mails! World in/world out…

      Since Boston’s restrictions have lifted somewhat (seniors still hunkering in except for absolute outing to market or CVS) I hit Whole Foods and CVS on Sunday mornings at the crack of dawn for Senior Hour. Last week I was the only one! And “dessert” for me is taking a daily, long walk along the Charles River, all gloved/masked/hatted like a good girl.

      Life is good. Precious. A gift. I feel so blessed; so very, very blessed.

      And I am very happy for you. You’re a terrific, descriptive writer and I wish you well. Stay safe, my dear!


  2. mary hirsch says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of checking in to see how my sisters throughout our beautiful country are doing and just want to take a minute to wish you all well, lots of blessings, good health and safety. We’ll make it!

    I read, with great interest (even though I haven’t been much of a sci-fi person) the fascinating and timely postings on robots, technology and the new exciting world our world is turning out to be, for we must be open minded and accepting of our new world of technology whether we like it or not. With a new mindset and even more open-mindedness toward technology, I rather like it and look forward to learning, more and more, every day about it. Needless to say, I am incredibly impressed by the knowledge our sisters have exhibited in sharing their thoughts and information on technology and robotics. You go, Girls!!

    So how will all these technological advances at our (literally) fingertips affect our future lives in the “new normal”? We’ll see. A retired PR/media person for over 40 years, I was burnt out and “peopled” out so I have, for the last 10 years, stayed as much below the grid to recuperate and have chosen my technological toys carefully – not having them dictate my life, much less make me a slave to them. Instead, I have chosen to kick up several notches my lifetime passions: exercise, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, reading, writing and sending cards the old-fashioned way to people just for the heck of it. I spend a lot of time on self care – both my soul as well as my Body Temple which I honor and respect tremendously and for which I am very, very grateful.

    The pandemic has done me a huge favor and exposed me to Zoom and Skype; more apps. for my cell phone; more time to explore my PC. And, a lot of time to think…always choosing the Silver lining on anything that impacts my life.

    A very healthy, active woman who burned out in the corporate world years ago with a stress heart attack (super achiever, type A++, ran marathons to “chill out”) I’m doing great and remain incredibly physically (and otherwise) active, always staying positive and challenging myself – but in a very different way. Having been a “perfectionist” (joke, right?) I’ve had to, through the years, chill and learn. I’m getting there. But, girls, I have to say that not until this Covid-19 came around (I’m in Boston) and threatened my life, did I stop dead in my tracks and truly began to think about my vulnerability. It wasn’t easy (and at times still not) but I feel that I’ve “grown” a lot and truly, humbly feel that I have become a better person for it; I’ve worked a lot on myself these last few months.

    An independent-to-a-fault, loner and by choice rather reclusive (burnt out, remember?) I’ve re-discovered people and my need for that human connection. Who knew? I’ve also become more patient, less judgmental, critical – and even more compassionate. I’ve always tried to be a decent, thoughtful person but rather inflexible, I think. I truly believe I have become a nicer person; I feel it. Not just because I’m afraid to get Covid and die; it’s more than that.

    For me, personally and because I always – but always – look for the Silver lining in everything, I choose to think that if this horrible virus had not come around and pounced on us, I probably would have just continued on my merry way.

    My heart aches for the loss of lives; for the pain; for the grieving. For our healthcare workers; our people are the front to protect us and provide for us. In my own small way, I’ve contributed (anonymously) most of my stimulus because I can’t imagine people in this country going hungry. I’ve always tried to be generous but this virus has really touched us all and brought us together: it’s taken many of us from us but brought the rest of us much closer.

    It is my heartfelt prayer that we, as humans, will become better because of this horrible experience. I hope we are kinder; more loving, more protective of each other and the ones less fortunate. I hope our country comes back stronger and more beautiful than ever. May we never forget that we are all connected and depend on each other to survive.

    It is my hope that we all seek the Silver lining in every opportunity; every challenge. That is my wish for the human race. That is my wish for all my sisters. Stay strong – and safe!


  3. Blog Mavens says:

    Home is where the work is. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey emailed employees yesterday to let them know they can stay full-time remote even after lockdowns lift and offices reopen. It’s a change a lot of companies are expected to make — and could see employees leaving big cities to maximize home office space when their jobs are no longer tied to one location. That could decimate the tax bases of places like New York City, which are accustomed to a huge number of wealthy residents lured by the city’s opportunities. 5-13-20

  4. Blog Mavens says:


    Fabric builds heavily automated micro-fulfillment centers that aim to make grocers competitive with the same-day delivery capabilities of Amazon. Operations at its flagship center in Israel increased 200 percent between March and April, and it is now in the process of building its first U.S. center in Brooklyn, New York.

    Before the pandemic, online groceries accounted for less than 5 percent of America’s $682 billion grocery market, according to IbisWorld. That share is now expected to exceed 10 percent this year.

    “What grocers have seen in the last four weeks is what they had expected to see in the next four years,” said Elram Goren, chief executive of Fabric.

    Grocers have been slow to adapt to e-groceries because the prospect places them in a Catch-22: Offer online orders and lose money on each sale, or refuse to offer the service and see a chunk of your business fall away to online rivals.

    But by bringing inventory much closer to customers, and using robots to pick and pack items, Goren argued he can change the equation and make a lasting change to how consumers buy groceries even after the pandemic ends.

    “I believe a lot of it will stick,” he said. “COVID will shift this industry — or at least accelerate it a few years ahead.”
    Ozy online news feed 5-25-20

  5. Blog Mavens says:


    San Jose-based Fetch Robotics builds warehouse robots that ferry goods around facilities. The robots, already operational in 22 countries for more than 100 customers, come in three sizes that can carry payloads between 100 kilograms and 1,500 kilograms.

    Chief executive Melonee Wise said in the past two months Fetch had shifted its focus to essential providers, helping businesses adhere to social-distancing guidelines. She added that there has been a surge in demand for disinfection robots, so the company is now equipping its machines with tools such as ultraviolet light to kill germs.

    “What makes us very unique is that our robots are deployed on a cloud system,” she said. “So we can monitor all of [them] in real time, globally, which makes it a lot easier to support and deploy. … If you want to buy a robot today, you can have it set up and running in less than eight hours.”
    Ozy online news feed 5-25-20

  6. Blog Mavens says:


    Roxo, the “SameDay Bot” from FedEx, is a last-mile courier that can climb stairs and drop off packages at your home. Current prototypes have some kinks — such as getting confused by shadows — but by the end of this year it is expected to be running deliveries for FedEx Office outlets.

    In the past few months, FedEx has expanded the list of partners seeking to use its service, which now includes McDonald’s, Walmart, CVS, AutoZone and Target. Collectively, its clients have about 80,000 locations in the U.S., potentially giving FedEx huge economies of scale to make robotic deliveries mainstream in the next 18 to 36 months.

    “We can get the economics to a point where it makes sense to have a fleet of bots lined up outside the retailer or the restaurant, at the ready, to fulfill demand,” said Brian Philips, chief executive of FedEx Office.
    Ozy online news feed 5-25-20

  7. Blog Mavens says:

    On farms, demand has surged for automated crop-management solutions. In California, venture capital-backed FarmWise has seen “an order of magnitude” more appetite for its products since the COVID-19 outbreak, said chief executive Sébastien Boyer.

    FarmWise’s “agribot” Titan is a giant orange robot equipped with artificial intelligence that enables it to identify weeds for removal, helping growers increase their efficiency and extract more yield from their land.

    FarmWise, a team of 50 people, has seven robots up and running at present. According to Boyer, 20 percent of all field labor in Southern California comes from temporary workers based in Mexico. With the border effectively shut amid the coronavirus lockdowns, farmers are looking for alternative labor solutions.
    Ozy online news feed 5-25-20

  8. Blog Mavens says:

    Here, and to follow, are examples of the acceleration of technological changes ahead, from the Ozy online news feed of 5-25-20:

    As COVID-19 threatens to buckle the U.S. food supply chain, businesses are wrestling with the task of how to feed millions under lockdown via understaffed supply chains.

    As a result, demand for robotics companies whose machines can harvest, handle and deliver food is surging — rapidly accelerating a trend toward automation that was already underway.

    “Everybody’s been talking about the automation wave, the AI wave, and this fourth industrial revolution, but these trends were just creeping along,” said Scott Snyder, a consultant and partner at Heidrick and Struggles. “Now suddenly the business case that might have been marginal before — deploying a pick and pack robot in your backroom — is much more attractive.”

    At supermarkets including Walmart and Kroger, autonomous floor-scrubbing machines are zooming up and down the aisles every night, ensuring the premises are spick-and-span.
    SoftBank-backed Brain Corp has equipped thousand of robots with its sensors and software since 2016, and now they are collectively performing 8,000 hours of work each day, said chief executive Eugene Izhikevich. Last month the company raised $36 million in response to a new spike in demand triggered by supermarket labor shortages.
    “Every day, we give back 8,000 hours to essential workers to do other stuff, for example … to precision clean, [disinfect] handles, restocking or just taking a break they need,” Izhikevich said. “So the robots aren’t doing all the cleaning, they are the doing the most monotonous work.”

  9. Fran says:

    I came here today to post about something very positive, about old age, that I heard on the radio this morning (when I went for my 2x a week long drive). However, reading the posts above, it seems like I’ve entered La La Land again. And maybe others feel the same way, because there are only these two posts over the past 9 days?

    First of all, we have no real idea what “the new normal” will be. It’s going to take quite some to evolve.

    Even if we do have vaccines, it’s going to be a while before we know that they are safe (because the vaccine testing is not going to go through the normal, long-time regular testing — there isn’t time to do that).

    The stock market has lost all its gains from the past 10 years. All my friends and neighbors who have stock are very concerned.

    I have been very nicely ‘warned’ by my pension provider that we pension recipients “probably” don’t have to worry about our pension until summer of 2021. But that isn’t set in stone. Not when pension plans have lost well over $1 TRILLION just since February 1.

    It looks like there is going to be at least a mild food shortage and that just about everything is going to cost more (except maybe car gasoline).

    MANY small businesses — and some large ones — have closed and will never re-open again. ALL the people the businesses employed — they’ll be out of work.

    Unemployment is supposed to reach at least 20% and probably closer to 25%.

    Our already bad US medical care is getting worse. I know people who haven’t been able to get their cancer treatments over the past few months. I can’t make an appointment with my pulmonologist. I’ve been told to go to The ER if I need medical care.

    So you can talk about drones and robots and even Zoom — but there are so many more important things to talk about and be concerned about — I just can’t believe what I’ve read in those two posts. Exactly what planet do you all live on?

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Please do share the very positive news you heard on the radio about old age.
      No doubt an uplifting message would do us all some good.
      Be well,
      Jane and Ellen

  10. Blog Mavens says:

    Ann hello,
    I enjoyed receiving your note. It got me thinking about Nina’s chapter again and remembering my thoughts as I wrote it in 2014. Yes, I had imagined many of those elements in the narrative appearing far into the future. By the time the book was published in the summer of 2015, I was amazed to see autonomous vehicles and drones widely explored. Then there were demonstrations of 3-D printing of food. Little by little much of what I wrote about is coming to pass. I expected it would take a decade or two, but remarkable changes have emerged even in these last five years.

    I think this pandemic will speed the adoption of much more innovation. I just read an article about efforts to deliver meds by drone. Autonomous vehicles are in use in several cities. Robots are ubiquitous in manufacturing and fulfillment centers. Police use robots in dangerous captures of people and explosives Will they soon replace those helpful supermarket personnel who fulfill our online grocery orders?

    A company is right now using 3-D printing to produce all the many components of a ventilator so they can produce them domestically and in quantities in a converted GM plant.
    I wonder what lies ahead with the power of with 5G on the horizon?

    Now that so much has successfully transitioned to remote contact, we’ll realize how efficient that can be…tele-medicine, tele-therapy, online learning, etc. There are so many elements of our lives that might well change dramatically.

    I look forward to an interesting discussion here.
    Thanks for writing.
    Be well,

    Enjoy our book
    70Candles! Women Thriving in Their 8th Decade
    Taos Institute Publications
    and at

    • Blog Mavens says:

      I am a bit encouraged on the technology front by two new “gadgets” I’ve run across. The first, Grandpad, is a Ipad like device designed for those 75 and older . . . it has an elder tested user interface along with a platform that’s very secure and yet can offer calling, video calling and other features. The second is a personal robot of sorts called Temi.

      If they would put the brains of the Grandpad into a Temi and add some arms so it could do dishes, cooking and housecleaning chores, it would resemble the robot from the 2012 movie, “Robot & Frank.” The robot in that movie has been my idea of the perfect home health aide to take care of all the things friends and family shouldn’t have to. I’d really like my friends and family to be able to focus on spending time with me, especially when I start to notice I’m old – maybe in my nineties.

      I’d love to hear what the 70 Candles readers have to say about a new normal. Their thoughts on remote communications/contact and whether they are likely to keep up the frequency of remote contacts with family and friends once they think the danger has passed. Will we go back to our old ways of not really staying in touch with “everyone?”

      Make it a great day!

      Longevity Coach, Explorer & Guide
      Aging is Living

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