It’s really hard to plan these days (we make plans and God laughs?) – but plan we must, and stay flexible from day to day.
There is the known; the unknown; and the unknowable. While the post-Corona future is unknown, we do have glimpses into what it might look like (based on what we’ve lived through so far). Some immediate takeaways from our current limbo land –
1) We are appreciating technology as a way to stay socially engaged on a bigger scale than ever before -
What would we have done without Zoom? Facetime and video chats were just the beginning! Now birthdays and other special events are celebrated on social media, and Zoom rooms are keeping us all connected. Seeing the other person is so important to communication.
Future – more creative and efficient ways to interact with each other, appropriate to the activity at hand.
2) Ironically (see above) we are valuing human contact and relationship more than ever -
With limited external activity, we slow down and get a reality check on the hectic pace that has kept us distracted, enchanted, and always TOO busy. Superficial stimulation and busyness takes its toll on many levels. Staying in place we are spending a lot more time with a few people, deepening those ties and relationships that really matter.
Future – fewer, deeper relations – and tighter “bubbles” that work together to support each other in meaningful ways.
3) Less traveling – and more enjoyment of “home” -
Ah, rediscovering the comforts of domestic life; gardens, cooking and baking, the nature outside our door. The neighborhood is more lively with people walking dogs, strolling kids, exercising, and discovering what’s closer to home. The vacation of choice this year is travel to national parks or other stunning American landscapes. The great American road trip redux!
Future – simple pleasures reclaimed, and an appreciation of the how the natural world energizes and inspires us.
4) More work and school from home, with all its pros and cons -
With less commuting and a more flexible schedule, there are perks to working at home. You can throw in a load of laundry, take an exercise break, put something in the oven, attend to an emotional upset and still get the job done. With work and home life more intertwined, there is an acknowledgment that yes, we have pets, partners and kids in our lives – and on the scene. Our lives feel less compartmentalized, more cohesive.
When online education started, and companies experimented with WFH, it was found the ideal was a combo of online and in-person interaction. And it’s nice for everyone to spend time in an age-appropriate playgroup!
Future – a combination of working/schooling from home and going to another location; less business travel, and a more efficient use of resources – time, energy, and built space.
5) Essential workers, we can’t live without you!
Healthcare providers risk their lives every day for us. And then there are the people who work in warehouses, manufacturing, food processing plants, groceries and restaurants, transit, delivery drivers and caregivers who are often working for minimum wage and yet are required to put their and their families health at risk. Essential workers don’t have the option to work from home, but they allow us to safely “shelter-in-place”. We are beginning to understand how critical their contributions are to society.
Future - higher value and wages for those who keep it all going, because taking care of people is what’s fundamental to a good economy.
I’m just getting started, but there is one thing that will never change – the need to be together in groups, big ones. The massive, exponential power of the group energy field to feed our imagination, creativity and love is also essential to the human experience. It’s the thing we miss, and all long for right now; and someday, in the future, we will celebrate its return.