This pandemic is the worst – words I never thought I’d say. In a span of six months, we have locked down and sanitized every corner of our lives. Children have been pulled from schools, jobs have been lost, living rooms have been turned into co-working spaces, mass commutes are a thing of the past (I hope), warm embraces and touch have been replaced with awkward waves and elbow bumps, gone are the days of the pub, gone are the days of fast dating and fast travel, television and film productions have been put on hold, as well as live entertainment, beloved American sports may or may not return, the gym, flirting with strangers, sleepless nights in New York and big city dreams have all been cancelled or, at the least, have been put on PAUSE.
Yes, this pandemic has taken away so much from us and, clearly, some have paid a higher price than others, but, in my hopes of finding a silver lining or causality in all of this, perhaps, this crisis, in return, has given us other things?
While the inability to move around and live as we please is both uncomfortable and different, perhaps, this PAUSE is just what our fast world needed.
They say there is a paradigm shift (aka change in status quo) every twenty years or so, some big, some small. These shifts which can happen in any one area of expertise or industry or all (say, in science, technology, medicine, policy, law and, even, fashion), dictate our way of life. Remember when we went from believing the Earth was flat to believing it was round? Yep, that was a massive paradigm shift and, surely, a series of events led up to that change in thinking.
Now, right now, something is happening, our way of life pre-Corona was forced to a halt. We got so good at being fast, it literally made us sick. The wheels in the well-oiled machine have hit a snag and the machine is no longer working. We are now being forced to address issues of quality-control in what we eat, in our leaders, in our healthcare systems, in our workforce and, once again, in how we treat one another. We are in the ultimate “time out” and we can either clean up our act or lose more lives, we can either clean up our act or hurt our economies even further, we can either clean up our act or never comfortably leave the house again. We can either clean up our act or be shit people instead of decent people.
In the meantime, life is not over and, surely, we can revisit the simple life for a brief moment in history while we innovate.
Furthermore, while making money is good, so is being kind and so is treating animals with respect and so is caring for the planet and caring for each other (#blacklivesmatter) and caring for ourselves. We’ve been living unkindly for so long that assholery is normal and civility is odd. We’ve been living unkindly for so long that several would rather thousands die instead of wearing a mask.
I don’t know what the answers are, but I hope there is something to learn from this disruption. I hope we are able to extract some good from the bad. While well wishes and positivity will never bring back the lives that have been lost in this pandemic, I hope we hear the call to action and, collectively, make the choice to redesign our lives. I hope there is something to learn from this massive existential crisis. Until then, I hope we find ways to live with intention and reconnect with whatever quietly gives us meaning and purpose.