Who could’ve predicted that 2020 would have taken such a turn? I am still in disbelief that this situation could even be possible. It feels like we are in a science fiction movie that we can’t escape. The whole world, as we knew it, has been completely turned on its head.
Fear and panic dominates not only the headlines but also our hearts. Our emotions are being tormented daily, the fear gripping us while we try with grit and determination to reassure ourselves that it will be OK, that we will make it through and we will survive. Psychologically it is a minefield as we plough through into the unknown. The only way is forward, there is no turning back, but it will be different. What it will be, we don’t know, but it will be different.
The economic downturn will be and is, already significant, all we can hope for is that the spread of Covid-19 is caught early enough to cushion the blow. It is unknown territory. Yes, we’ve had the 2008 Global Financial Crisis but a pandemic is completely different, its personal, it’s our health, our lives and it is affecting a major part of what makes us human -the human connection.
Almost a week into isolation has made me realise this more than ever. Suddenly we are socializing via zoom, house party, messenger. We are so unbelievably lucky to have this to fall back on, but there is nothing like being in front of someone, being next to them, talking face to face, kissing someone on the cheek, giving friends, family and work colleagues a big hug. Human contact is essential for survival, I’ve realised that we are essentially social beings and human interaction is central to that.
It feels like a real wake up call to realise that the instant gratification of buying objects in the pursuit of happiness, is no longer enough. All of the objects of desire suddenly seem superfluous and insignificant.
We have been brought down to our knees, to the absolute basics of what makes us human. Staying home, having enforced family time, partner time or solitude, cooking together, doing things more simply, and having time to reflect.
Perhaps as a society we needed this slow down to help us remember what really is important to us. Maybe we were all trying to do too much, to produce more, to grow year on year, to push push push. Always available, always ‘on’, never being able to switch off from life. Demands thrown at you, left, right and centre. Having everything at the push of a button 24/7, able to travel at will l’aissez-faire, pushing the envelope at every junction.
By enforced hibernation, we are giving our environment a well needed rest. From afar we can see factories in China being shut down, pollution has diminished significantly, there are once again fish in the canals of Venice. Closer to home, who knows what positive impacts isolation will bring.
Creativity and creative thinking, resulting from being in isolation will bring some amazing new jobs, new hobbies, new talent and will push business in a new direction. It will be interesting to see new career opportunities in the wake of this.
Looking forward, our lives are going to be different. Our freedom to move globally is going to be limited, jobs will be lost, businesses and families will be affected, there will be illness, and sadly, there will be deaths.
It is a period of reflection and re-evaluation, also of mourning and of forcing us to change, to move into a new phase, a new world, one that hopefully our ancestors would be proud of.