In early 2020, the world suddenly stopped. It was a moment that will live in infamy. A moment that changed time.
Like an Emergency Stop on a treadmill, a button was pressed.
The belt froze in its tracks.
- Cruise ships became living nightmares.
- Self-isolation became a thing.
- Rush hour ceased to exist.
- Parents became teachers. Homes became schools.
- Nursing homes went into lockdown, cities followed, then states.
- Everyone wondered if they had “it”.
- Some of those that did, died.
We all know the horrors that ensued in those early weeks of Spring. The horrific deaths. The heroes on the front lines. The thousands of unemployed. The isolation. The financial ruin. The suffering.
All of those things were very real, very horrific, and in the front of the world’s mind since that button was pushed.
But all of those things are not what this post is about.
This post is different.
This post is about what happens next.
Perhaps I’m eternally optimistic, but I prefer to live my life that way. If you prefer to view things otherwise, I’m fine with that. You live your life, I’ll live mine. Let’s just agree to disagree, and leave the political and personal warfare back in the “pre-pandemic” world where it belongs.
Where so many things belong.
Things are different now.
Let’s try to take advantage of the change.
The Pre-Pandemic World
You still remember what it was like, don’t you?
Life in late 2019, before that giant “Stop” button in the sky was so dramatically pushed?
A life when you were…
- Striving for that promotion,
- Hurrying, hurrying, everywhere.
- Worried about things that really didn’t matter,
- Sitting in that traffic,
- Racing the kids to the next event,
- Living life in a blur.
Things happened fast back then. Our calendars dictated our lives.
We barely had time to breathe.
The Pandemic World
Do you remember the day when your world came to a screeching halt? That day they closed the school? That day they closed your office, your restaurant, your factory? The day the bear emerged on Wall Street?
That day news anchors began broadcasting from their bedrooms, their hair growing longer by the day?
It was all very strange at first. Apocalyptic, even.
Cities, empty. Houses, full.
Everyone locked in their fortress, with an unseen enemy prowling the streets. An “essential” trip to the grocery store, where the eyes of strangers said all you needed to know. 6 feet! 6 feet!
When a cough was no longer just a cough.
When we stopped shaking hands.
Don’t accept this new normal, the world will move on.
The larger question is what will life be like in the post-pandemic world?
The Post-Pandemic World
While we can all relate to what’s happened thus far, none of us know what The Post-Pandemic world will look like. Rest assured, that treadmill will start moving again. That battle over “health” vs. “economy” WILL be resolved, kids will return to school, and everything will slowly return to normal.
Except “normal” won’t be “normal” anymore.
The world will have changed. So will you.
Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, I suspect we may face the realization that The Pandemic had presented an opportunity unique in human history. A giant reset. An emergency stop that gave us all the rare chance…
- … to pause,
- … to be introspective, and
- … to think about what really mattered in life.
An opportunity to decide what to carry forward.
For the first time in history, we have the freedom to decide what to leave in that Pre-Pandemic box, and what to pack in our smaller suitcase for our journey forward. While we’re still in The Pandemic world, we have a decision to make that will shape our Post-Pandemic reality. We have a moment in time to decide what matters. To decide what we want in our lives when the world starts turning again. To decide what we don’t.
What will you pack in your bag? What will you leave behind? This opportunity won’t last long. Before we know it, that treadmill will be back up to speed and the opportunity will be lost. I encourage you to be intentional and use this rare opportunity of isolation to decide what’s important to you, and how you’ll change your life going forward.
When we look back on this Pandemic from the years ahead, will we have made the right decision?
Will we have brought along the things that matter?
Will we have left behind the things that don’t?
In the end, the ultimate positive of a pandemic may well be the decisions each of us makes in the coming days. The decisions we make before that belt starts to move again.
The things that we choose to carry forward, and the things we leave behind.
Your Turn: Do you see the pandemic as a chance to change your life for the better? What will you bring into the post-pandemic world? Perhaps more importantly, what will you leave behind? Let’s chat in the comments…