With vaccinations on the rise, cases declining and restrictions lifting it's not hard to feel the optimism as things start to move towards a new 'normal' after more than a year in this pandemic. It's also important to realize that although we are the fortunate ones in Western civilization to be moving ahead, the rest of the world is still far behind in tackling COVID-19.
With that said, it's easy to get excited to get back to all the things that we missed in the past year. Social interactions, dinner parties, work meetings and connecting with others. And as always the case for humans, we're focused on the future and what's next. Our brain is wired to think of our future state. With all that we've learned in the past 18 months, my hope is that we don't forget. We don't forget all the valuable lessons that we learned, lessons that could only be taught through global pandemic.
Less is more
Remember when we had all that time to ourselves, what did we do? We learned what our true passions were in life. We learned what was really important in our lives, what we said yes to and more importantly what we said no to. We learned new skills, hobbies, recipes, songs and ways of connecting. We learned more about our partners, friends and families. We also did more with less. We realized with all this time, we don't need a lot to 'survive'. We were able to do more, more deeply and feel happier than ever before.
Busy is not a good thing
Social and work interactions are a great way of connecting with others. When time slowed down, we learned that there was a difference between spending quality time with someone and social obligations. Birthday parties, celebrations, weekend rituals. Some felt it was too much, bouncing from one event to another 'just because' while feeling drained and depleted. We don't 'have to go' anywhere. It's the quality of the social connection that matters, not the quantity. Remember to check in with yourself. If you're not 100% and it doesn't serve you, don't go, stay home and recharge.
When the world stopped, we had nothing but our thoughts and what was in front of us. Some didn't like what we saw, some saw things in a new light and some realized what a true gift life was. That's all we have in this world, the present moment in front of us. That's all that we had during the pandemic and that's still true for what's in front of us now. 18 months ago we didn't know when this would end. But we took it day by day, moment by moment. This approach doesn't change now that better times are ahead of us.
Hard things will come again
In 'The Obstacle is the Way' by Ryan Holiday, he talks about how the struggles and challenges that come before us is part of the path or journey we're on. Life is not about avoiding these obstacles in life, it's about what we do and how we react when they arrive. And hard things will come again. There will be another (fill in the blank___) that will result in a challenging moment, fear, anxiety and doubt. But as the Stoics would say, it's not the (fill in the blank____) that harms us, it's our perception and the meaning that we give it that does. With that being said we dictate the story that comes into our lives. We have the control and freedom. Why not write a story that serves us and on our terms?
While we move towards a new way of living, let's make sure we pack the things we learned along the journey as reminders of a better way forward. What a wasted opportunity that would be if we didn't. Let's not forget.