It is hard to wrap our heads around how quickly life has changed in the last three months, but for sure, there are several life lessons we have learned during the pandemic. For many, there is a renewed appreciation for timeless values.
Simple things that we took for granted, like going to our favorite restaurant, hanging out with dear friends, bargain hunting at the mall, or listening to audiobooks during our morning commute to work now seem like a faded memory. The world has never been so uncertain. Yet, despite such hard times, people are coming together to support one another. How can that be anything but a good thing?
Life before Covid-19
Before the onset of 2020, a difficult life lesson consisted of figuring out more ways to suit up and show up for the rat race and trying to cram everything in from a quick morning workout, putting in a 50-hour workweek, carting the kids around from club to club, running errands, doing the house chores, maintaining some semblance of family life and maybe, just maybe even social life. It’s exhausting to think about it, never mind live it.
On top of that, we’ve become so addicted to technology. From the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed, we fixate on our mobile screens, scanning emails, checking-in on social media, and utilizing seven different apps to function in daily life. Yesterday’s life lesson was all about knowing how to keep up with the latest platforms and stay relevant.
In the odd event families did sit together at the dinner table, hardly anyone spoke. Everyone would be busy on their phones, browsing on their social media, texting friends, or coworkers, or playing games with total strangers. Technology keeps us connected but at the same time, replaced face to face authentic human interaction.
If you’re under the age of thirty, this is just normal. For those who are older, this is akin to living out an 80’s science fiction become a reality.
…and here comes the “new normal”
And then BOOM! Then came this thing called the novel coronavirus. It isn’t like the annual cold & flu that goes around the office. It’s affecting every city in every state in virtually every country. We are confronted with a fatal virus that has spread all over the world.
In 20 years we will all look back at 2020 as the year that a “new normal” was born. We don’t even know what that new normal is quite yet. However, it will be the science fiction movie that became a reality for millennials.
Like a bad dream, governments across the globe ordered mandatory lockdowns. Businesses closed or at best had to recalibrate and offer curbside or online services. The economic projections are not optimistic, and the true impact is still unknown. Suddenly, we are all confronted with feelings of angst, fear, anger, frustration, isolation, and even the most introverted are left craving social interaction.
The irony of life is that it often takes a tragedy to bring people together.
What Life-Lessons did the Covid-19 pandemic teach us?
It seemed like the world stopped spinning, and everything was moving in slow motion. All of a sudden we found ourselves doing things that we forgot existed.
Families are spending more time together, having home-cooked meals instead of grab-and-go processed foods. Many are enjoying the art of cooking together instead of viewing it as a chore.
They are playing games together, doing puzzles, watching television with one another. Laughter and joy replace the stress and tensions left over from the grind.
Children spend more time being nurtured by their parents and less with caregivers who are not as bonded. Married couples, which hardly found time for one another before, suddenly felt closer.
We’ve upped our technology skills in a way that adds to family values instead of taking away from them. Grandma’s and grandpa’s who never heard of SKYPE or Zoom before are connecting with their loved ones face to face, a step up from over the phone.
Despite the shutdown, many people haven’t skipped a beat in their professional lives thanks to that same technology.
How are people spending their free time? They’re using it to better themselves, learning new things via online courses, YouTube, or old-fashioned books. Others have revisited old hobbies they were too busy for, like drawing or painting. Others cultivated new ones, like taking online yoga classes. These aren’t new life lessons brought about by the pandemic, but old traditional ones revisited.
Within a matter of weeks, the practice of human connection from a novel cliché to a heartfelt personal value. Millions across the globe began to reach out to distant family members that they’ve had spats or just lost touch. Others called old friends that they’ve just been too busy to make time for, picking up the conversation on the same sentence they left off at 10 years ago. They’re going out of their way to help their neighbors, those same neighbors they’ve only waved to in passing over the last 6 months.
Suddenly, a sense of gratitude for some of the little things in life has been inspired. Heck, when before 2020 were you ever grateful just to have toilet paper? How often did you stop and think about how precious your health is? We’re all getting enough rest and have come to appreciate the benefit of a nice nap.
In a world obsessed with images, vanity has taken the backseat as we’ve all learned to accept some pretty funky do-it-yourself haircuts.
Earth got a much-deserved break from us too. As the world closed down, it was only a matter of days before we had real evidence of environmental restoration. Grid-lock traffic came to a screeching halt, and we all watched viral videos of wildlife reclaiming what they believe to be theirs. The air we breathe is cleaner, and studies say it is possible to continue this trend.
Call me sentimental, but it seems like re-learning these treasured life-lessons based in good old-fashioned and traditional values like helping one another, appreciating family, making personal sacrifices for the greater good, and uniting has taken on a new life of their own.
As scary and as devastating as the virus is, there is a silver lining. You may have to adjust your vision to see it and it is likely a wake-up call to get us all to rethink the meaning of life and to reprioritize what truly matters.
Few can disagree that compassion, generosity, and goodwill have helped everyone get through these tough times. And, when the dust settles, many of us will remember this time, when life was simple easy, with fondness.