Current times are throwing up changes everywhere. I wonder (and personally would love to think it so) whether we’re entering a new phase where many are learning to appreciate and enjoy what we have, to recognise what’s really important, what really matters; to manage, and be happy, with less.
A new normal perhaps where we look for positives - rather than getting stuck, anxious, fretting about uncertainty - and for things that bring us joy: a simpler and perhaps more sustainable life such as reading those books we’d saved for that holiday, doing those things we’ve been ‘too busy’ to do or have always wanted to do or learn; being creative; actually keeping more in touch with others; interacting, engaging, speaking and talking with our family, children, friends, connecting on a visceral level not just the technological ‘ping-pong’ of social media.
There are other positives too, such as, learning new things. One of those is technology. It’s increasingly a lifeline now, bringing individuals closer, keeping many employed via working from home and business going, so many more people are now getting to grips with it.
Even before this pandemic, many were advocating a kinder world. Indeed, The World Kindness Movement was gathering momentum reflecting, perhaps, the increasing global sense of aggression, combative atmosphere, political uncertainty, and increased nastiness, meanness, inflammatory language on multi-media platforms, on a personal and global scale. Another positive perhaps is more kindness, compassion, empathy, care as people unite against this invisible, life-threatening enemy.
Then there’s human nature. Whilst people manage change, the unknown and uncertainty differently, humans are intrinsically adaptable, flexible, have the ability to familiarise, acclimatise, transition. New routines will evolve, be created or become familiar eliciting change, learning, growth and development, which aligns with mental health definitions around our resilience, problem-solving and decision-making ability, etc. However difficult these unprecedented times are, as human beings we do – somehow, sometimes - get through each day; time passes and there’s always future.
There are wider positive implications too. How we work, play and travel could be transformed. Technology might increasingly replace the need for business travel and enable many to transition to working effectively from home. We may realise we can manage with less - do we really need the material things we think we do, or couldn’t live without, such as that overseas holiday, that new or latest thing – and what matters most is the simple, simpler, things in life – family, friendship, kindness, love, community spirit, nature, the natural world, that we’re alive. There’s potential impact on our shopping habits, consumption and consumerism too. Our bank balances might even benefit.
On a deeper level, will we re-appreciate our freedom, choices, our lifestyle, open spaces, and maybe ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all”, [from a Lord Tennyson poem] if, sadly, loved ones are lost.
Rather than looking for positives, perhaps we should recognise, and appreciate more, what’s right in front of us. But, will we revert to normal when the pandemic’s over, or make some positive, and enduring changes? What will be yours?
Text by Sylvia Bruce
Preview Image by Photo by Tonik