When people say they want things to return to normal, I think what they really mean is a return to the ‘familiar.’ Because there was nothing normal about life before COVID. Crushing stress, racism, hate, pollution, poverty, hunger…
We can do better.
For all the horrible things COVID has brought, it is the great interrupter. It has provided the opportunity for the world to stop, reflect, and determine a new path forward. This disruption has given us permission to examine our attitudes and behaviours, and acknowledge that not everything was ok.
Crisis and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. Our COVID attention has naturally been focused on the crisis side, but let’s take a look at the opportunities it has brought us:
- Seeing remarkable photos of the Taj Mahal after the air pollution cleared. Or the canals of Venice, where people saw fish and clear water for the first time in generations.
- Slowing down. (Maybe we aren’t meant to be gerbils on a wheel?)
- Working from home, although sought after by many as the ideal situation, has proved it really doesn’t work for everyone. Realizing that we’re social animals, meant to be around other people.
- Asking “how are you” – and really meaning it. Leading to a society that’s perhaps just a little more compassionate and caring.
- Pausing each day to think of those who died, honouring their lives and contributions, and supporting grieving family and friends.
- Encouraging entrepreneurs and being conscious that local businesses are run by your neighbours and friends. Supporting their endeavours and dreams, shopping thoughtfully and mindfully.
- Cherishing moments with friends and family – even if over Zoom. Not taking for granted the people who are part of our daily lives.
- Bringing mental health to the forefront and making real progress against the long-held stigma it has endured. Supporting those who struggle instead of tearing them down.
There is more work to be done. Without the COVID disruptor, however, I’m not sure we would have recognized many of the things we’ve otherwise assumed were normal. As a result, maybe we can all be a lot more grateful for our time on this planet, the people we love, and the simple joys that life brings us.
Here’s to better days ahead.