One year ago, I wrote a blog post titled “what if you fly.” I started it with a quote, “the problem is you think you have time,” and how is it that we tend to postpone so many decisions in our lives, waiting for that right moment, which does not exist. Still, we wait anyway so we don’t rock the boat of our current rhythm and confront our dreams because what if we pursue them and fail? So we tell ourselves, once things slow down or if I take a few days off or I finish this important project or hit this target, once that happens, I will do this assessment of my life, while deep inside ourselves, we know that we will never make the time. Well, not until now, that is.
Today, with life as we know it on hold, most of us got off our fast-pace-lifestyle-train and started to rediscover our surroundings, probably for the first time. As if we were learning about some of our life aspects for the first time. , Our families and loved ones, our homes, kids, personal lives and stories, cooking abilities, old hobbies, or just sitting home and relaxing with not much to do, without feeling guilty that we need to be elsewhere. We also realized that the earth did not stop spinning and that a slow pace is not that bad, and one might argue that it is a good thing to just “stop and smell the roses,” as Mac Davis’ old 70s song goes. Most of us realize that we have time to attend many work-related conference calls and enjoy the company of our families, have meals with the family, watch tv, read a book, practice any hobby we like or even work out, all in one day. Dare I say it, a better work-life balance?
So what changed? We were simply forced into a mental corner, and our natural instincts kicked in, and we felt we had to prove to ourselves that we could still have a somewhat normal life, despite the lockdown. Moreover, on average, we spend two hours per day commuting from one place to the other in our cars or public transportation, which made us realize we have extra hours in our days that we are not using. In short, most of us found a balance in all this craziness. Don’t get me wrong, one way or another, we are all tired of being stuck at home and unable to go out and meet the world again. We are all missing life’s simple pleasures that we took for granted, like meeting friends over dinners or coffee, just a drink or any form of social gathering, or just going to our offices and meeting our coworkers. Not to mention the financial impact on many businesses and job cuts, but its policymakers, economists, and experts are already talking about it day and night.
Life as we know it might be long gone, at least for several months to come, and we will face new social norms. We need to get used to enforced social distancing, limited physical and social interactions, more video conferencing for virtual family gatherings, and more family-oriented small gatherings vs. big social superficial activities. Many of us discovered the value of quality time in genuine relationships with families and loved ones vs. digital friends we never met. We might also find out that hand shaking will be a thing of the past moving forward, and greetings will only be verbal.
When Princess Isabella visits William Wallace, played by Mel Gibson, in his prison cell, trying to convince him to plea for his life in front of the king of England in the famous “Braveheart” blockbuster, she says, “you will die, it will be awful,” and William replies “every man dies, not every man really lives.” which is that subtle difference between being alive and really living. I recall an interesting comment from a board member a few weeks ago at a meeting, commenting on the current crisis. He said, “we should not waste a good crisis,” quoting Sir Winston Churchill, of course, which indicates that there is always a good side, an opportunity, in every situation. The truth is, we don’t know what will happen in the coming period, but until life comes back to life, let’s try to spend more quality time with our families and loved ones. Let us try to learn new skills or sharpen old ones, revive dead hobbies, take care of our bodies and health, or take a breath and relax and catch up on readings or TV/movies. There are no right or wrong DO’s and DON’T here, it is your life and your time, so you have the right to do whatever you like with it. Just keep in mind this situation that we are in right now, where the world is on hold, might never come back again, so if you ever felt that you don’t have time, well, you now have all the time in the world. Whatever you decide on doing, just be aware that this is the real deal, no reruns, no extra lives, no rehearsals, and most of all, game over can come at any time.