Oh, how we miss the simple things; simple things like joining friends for a dinner out to celebrate a special occasion such as a birthday.

Times have changed. COVID-19’s omnipresence obliterated what we once knew as ‘normal’ and replaced it with the fear and threat of sickness, even death.

The absence of a plan to corral COVID-19 hasn’t helped. Moreover, the resistance of too many in our society — and around the world, for that matter — to take the simplest, most basic precautions to prevent the spread of the virus has exacerbated the problem.

So, when you complain that there might not be any football in the fall, ask yourself if you’re part of the problem. Have you been wearing your mask? Washing your hands? Social distancing? Or have you been traipsing into the big box retailer or hardware megastore like you’re invincible? (By the way, you aren’t, and neither are those around you.)

Yes, what you’re being asked to do to stop the spread feels stifling, quite literally. And yes, it feels a little more than chaotic. But ask yourself this: Do you want this to be your new normal?

Do you want to again hear the cheers and see the talent and passion of high school and college sports?

Do you want birthday parties where the honoree can blow out the candles and guests aren’t afraid to eat the cake?

Do you want family reunions where everyone brings a covered dish and hugs are plentiful?

Do you want to shake hands with old and new acquaintances?

Do you want to take public transportation without fear?

Do you want to go to work and have face-to-face meetings? (We’re tired of online meetings and know many of you are, too.)

Do you want to have a day of shopping where trying on clothes is not only allowed, but encouraged?

Do you want to be free to travel again and have a conversation with your seatmate?

Do you want to experience movies on the big screen again?

Do you want to see smiles again?

Do you want to visit your parents and grandparents to share those special moments and hear those old stories again?

Do you want to shop freely without the worry of “Am I too close?”

If you answered “Yes” to any or all of the above questions, we can experience those great joys only if everyone — EVERYONE — does his or her part to stop the spread.

We can have nice things again. But we can only have those nice things if you want them badly enough. Otherwise, this rotten, fearful state in which we now live will be our new normal for months — or longer — to come. That’s not what we want your future to be. We hope you agree.

#MaskUp