As I write this from California, we are in the fifth week of social distancing orders and business shutdowns for this, the fifth largest economy in the world.
The news is filled with news of the pandemic of the virus and its devastating effects. Millions of people have had their lives turned upside down, and after weeks of isolation, are finding new ways to look at how they live, how they work, and what is truly important.
It wasn’t long ago that racing around and getting as much “stuff’ as possible was thought to be the way we “should” be living our lives. Being “busy” was considered to be honorable and right. If you didn’t say you were busy, people might think you were a bad or shiftless person, back in those days… which were only a month and a half ago. Now, from only a week weeks out, that world looks very far away indeed.
Remember? You went on a cruise, you flew to some other part of the world, because it was cool. Not paying attention to what was happening in the world and our mutual connection was allowed, even if it was frowned on. Now, that point of view has become obsolete. It is more than obvious that we are all connected. And being forced to slow down has led to some powerful changes in how we perceive our roles in the world.
We all knew that the planet was changing, that it was warming up, that somewhere someone else would pay the price for the choices, and acted like we didn’t know.
Now those are not options we can even consider, s we go through days of living in isolation, if we are able to do so, visiting stores only when needed, looking at those who are working in public places as newly recognized heroes.
What took so long for us to understand how our lives and our economies actually work? A lot of writing on this question is coming out, and people are talking of a sea change in business, in our values, in our way of life altogether.
People talk of how the skies are clear in places that have been devastated by human activity, of how heroes are popping up from everywhere, of how important it is to change our ways and use this opportunity to do what’s right, instead of what gives short-term enjoyment. We discuss how small changes add up, how we didn’t really need all that stuff anyway.
Our grandchildren are watching. Even if your haven’t been born, remember the future is in our hands. This is our chance. Let’s make the most of it.