We’ve had to make a lot of adaptations to our lives the past couple of months with COVID on the rise. Who knows when this will all be over or what the new “normal” will look like. While it’s brought a lot of stress and uncertainty, I think it has also brought with it some opportunities for change. And today, I wanted to reflect on that a little bit as we move forward into another new and uncertain chapter.
As you probably know I am very much a believer in “things happen for a reason”. While 2020 has been a pretty unsettling year in a lot of ways, it doesn’t feel like the worst year of my life. There have been (and will continue to be) challenges, but it feels like this whole thing may bring some good out of it.
For one, when we come out of this pandemic, I truly hope that people are changed. That we remember how much we valued and missed human contact, how much we appreciate local businesses to keep our economy running, that we remember to support those that stood up and supported our communities even when they were already struggling as well. I hope that the things we have been able to do to connect people “virtually” and appreciate work life balance a little more. Make accessing health services more accessible (via phone consults, video conferencing, etc.) I hope we realize how important our public health units are to integrating care, and that our health system CANNOT afford any more cuts. Our system was already over capacity and if anything like this happened again, we know we weren’t prepared for it.
Another thing I hope comes from all of this, is people start to treat each other better as human beings. I hope it teaches us to be more patient of the Tim Hortons employee who got our order wrong, to understand that there are wait times in emergency departments because so many people abuse the system, and appreciate the small moments in life that we too often forget in our busy lifestyles.
I see things going one of two ways: either we will be so starved for attention and will desperately need human interaction and attention that our virtual worlds will become secondary to real life, OR people will be less physically connected and more virtually connected than ever. Hopefully we will be less isolated from one another, and readjust our priorities. There’s nothing like a crisis to reorient you to the things that really matter in your life- or in this case for almost everyone, people.
How we go about abiding by the rules after lockdown is done will say a lot about us and our humanity. If we care about hour our actions (and their ripple effects) affect others, or if our own selfish needs come paramount to that.
Looking back even a couple months ago, some parts of this whole thing have been blessings in disguise- it has given me some more time to focus on finishing some things in my life that I’ve wanted to, and also caused me to re-think what really “matters”. While I enjoy being busy and doing lots of things, it has helped me reset what is on my plate and what I’m committed to. And with that, thinking about what really makes me happy and fufills me. I hope in the future I can remember how good it felt some days to just come home after work and not worry about finishing some task off my to do list, and how nice it was not to be running from one thing to the next! I hope I can remember in the moment that taking time for myself is okay and will actually make me feel better and more energized to do the things I love to do.
I hope people are kinder, more thoughtful and purposeful in their words and actions, and we can admit that some of the things we were doing before all of this were not working. I hope we can admit our faults. And move forward. I hope we can learn from this.
To finish off, I thought this photo was pretty fitting (I know what a surprise another Hollis quote). But I’ll leave you with this food for thought.