Beyond The Pandemic – Changing Our Values
As we cautiously tiptoe our way into the first phase of easing restrictions, a sense of nervousness still exists surrounding the pandemic.
Across all social media channels, people project their own fears, worries, and some invest their time to rip the government and HSE policies to shreds.
And of course, some are burning down 5G masts.
For many of us, we just take it day by day, week by week.
We sit and ponder about how the future may look. How pubs might manage to stay afloat as we crave that pint with the lads, or that glass of gin with the girls.
Many sits and awaits the chance to take the kids to see granny and grandad.
Or to hug their parents who are cocooning.
None of us know what the future holds, how long it will last, or what the so called “new normal” will really look like.
As I sit here writing this, I’m in my 10th week of temporary closure, with a further 11 weeks expected according to the phased reopening plans.
It’s hard not to have the odd day where worry drifts in and you wonder if things will work out.
But for the most part, we must find a way to stay afloat, not just economically, but mentally.
As I spend my days with the privilege of having electricity, broadband, Netflix, smartphone, laptop, the beautiful countryside to wander on my walks, and many other luxuries to pass the time, I can’t be too badly off. It’s been easy to pass the time and stay busy.
But there are many who aren’t having the same fortune during this time.
And there may well be a change in values as we emerge from this pandemic.
The Loss During Pandemic
I for one started 2020 with high hopes, new ideas, and a lot of motivation.
There was something about the ring of year that gave people hope of a better time.
Then come February we all started to be gripped with the reality of the coronavirus pandemic.
Throughout it, we have all suffered a loss.
There are those unfortunate to have suffered the loss of a loved one and have to deal with the heartbreak it brings.
There are those who have lost jobs and financial income, which brings about stress, worry and threatens survival.
Some have lost out on their big wedding day, while others have lost relationships completely.
The one thing we have all lost, is time.
Time spent with those love ones in their final hours.
Time spent with friends, family, nephews, nieces, grandchildren.
More importantly to many, time being happy.
We’ve lost out on the time we should have spent having fun, going on adventures, drinking coffee with friends in a bustling little café as the sun shone, wandering through the green parks of our great little country, or at concerts and gigs having the time of our lives, and of course, having that airport pint with the excitement that you get to leave the stresses of life behind for a few days and unwind in a new place.
We’re all losing time that we could have spent in so many different ways, adding value to our own lives and others, and striving to improve and do good.
Instead, we find ourselves sitting in our houses, checking the updates every evening and wondering when it might all end.
But even though we’ve lost time, we may have gained perspective on values in life.
The value of laughter of friends or hugging your family or grandkids you’ve not seen in so long.
The value of freedom to hop in the car and go for a day out to the beach, hike a mountain, or go for a walk by the sea before enjoying food in a restaurant.
Or maybe you just value being able to go to supermarkets without paranoia.
As bad as things have been, there is potential for good to come from it.
Maybe we realise now the power of looking after our own communities, towns, villages and how much we miss the simple human interaction of each day.
The power of our own local economies, parks, attractions and of course, people.
The handshakes, the smiles, the clap on the back as they nudge a pint in front of you.
No matter what, it’s clear that we don’t need all the glamour of social media, fancy cars, or designer gear.
Because if I were to guess, the one thing you miss right now is… people.
I for one can’t wait to get back to having some craic and seeing people.
This time sitting around isn’t as tough as I sometimes allow it to be.
And it’s time that is reshaping values and perspectives of what matters most.
Those very things we will all treasure when we finally get the green light to enjoy them once again after this pandemic.
Keep the head up, keep going, and we’ll see each other soon.