I was reminded today of my last blog post “To lead or not to lead” which I wrote just 3 months ago.
Little did I know that a global pandemic was about to take hold and change everything.
People often say how they started living when their worlds were turned upside down by an event – a diagnosis, an accident, a loss…a single event that triggered a re-evaluation as to what was important to them. I have experienced such an event, a life-changing sentence delivered that became a line in the sand not to take anything for granted. I am not alone in this, my learnings were not unique, my family were the most important thing, to ask for help, to know when to say yes, when to say no, to enjoy the little things, find balance but more importantly to find acceptance. It isn’t easy to accept that sometimes shit things happen to good people for no reason and there is nothing you can do about it. For me the best analogy is that fighting can be like getting stuck in a rip, you can try and try to fight it but the best way to survive is to float with it until it is safe to swim your way out.
But when it happened to my world, everything around me continued as normal, there were people I could lean on.
So what happens when society has the life-changing event in unison, when there is no normality, no-one unaffected that you can turn to for support? I don’t know the answer.
However the light in these dark times is that everything doesn’t have to be status quo, change is possible, fast change is possible. Common sense solutions that have been in the too hard basket for decades are suddenly achieved, we can deliver health services via telehealth, we can provide specialist education digitally. But also environmentally and socially - we can fly less, drive less, work more flexibly, spend more time with our families, buy less material items.
We can value teachers, nurses, cleaners, truck drivers and recognise that what they do is essential and our society doesn’t function with them.
We can value science and listen to experts.
We don’t need to do things tomorrow the way they were done yesterday, just because “that’s how it’s done”.
So tomorrow as I mark 11 weeks of working in isolation, as our life slowly returns to the new normal, I am filled with hope that we will not be driven solely by economics and that we will remember this time as when society stopped and took stock of what was important.