We are changed by every failure, set-back, disaster, or crisis we encounter. Covid is the most profound of events because it has affected each of us personally, and our communities and nations globally. No one has escaped. No one is immune.
As vaccines are distributed and the smoke begins to clear, we need to ask, “What is the gift?” Here’s 11 of ‘em…
~ 1 ~ Our Neighbors
I’ve met more of my neighbors in the past eight months than I have in the past eight years. People are home. They have time to chat. The want to chat…! Pre-Covid, I would be socializing with my co-workers at after-work happy hours, but that’s not going to happen when you’re on Zoom.
There’s little doubt we will see our social lives shift from work-centric to community centric. Maybe that’s why we’re all moving someplace else….
~ 2 ~ Our Technical Prowess
We’re using our laptops, pads, mobile and Bluetooth devices more effectively, and for things we never did before. This is important because technology doesn’t improve without user feedback.
User feedback allows technologists to improve software quickly and more meaningfully. Be prepared for a big leap forward in our quality of connectedness.
The great thing about technology is that the more people use it, the better it gets.
~ 3 ~ Our Cooking
Tearing up your own lettuce at .89 cents a bunch isn’t as burdensome as once thought. Kids are cooking real meals, planning menus, using fractions, and everyone is wondering why we weren’t doing this before.
Don’t get me wrong: I love eating in a restaurant and having people bring me stuff. But, I also realize that eating out used a lot of my disposable income that probably could have been spent on investment, not, literally, consumption.
~ 4 ~ Our Savings
Not eating out, not commuting, no coffee snacks, dry cleaning, happy hour(s), multiple vehicles, soccer fees, miscellaneous mall trips….Perhaps Wall Street is doing so well because there’s not much else to buy?
For those who have escaped lay-offs and can work virtually, the cost of going back and forth to an office is abundantly clear. And, after a year of gitn’ er done from home, it’s doubtful anyone is going to cough up a big chunk of his/her net income just to commute into an office again every day.
~ 5 ~ Our Employers
Employers now realize they actually need their employees! They’ve become obnoxiously pro-family – almost to the point of being anti-single — and many (sheepishly) admit that their 1950’s insistence that everyone be on-site every day was more about tradition (and control), not so much about collaboration and teamwork.
The more people work virtually, the better they will get at it.
Virtual work has its advantages (and challenges), and not everyone is going to survive (or thrive), in a cyber office. But, make no mistake, those without the self-discipline to meet deadlines and the responsibilities of a virtual team and managers who cannot manage virtual teams or projects will soon find themselves on the shelf (next to the thermal Fax machine).
~ 6 ~ Our Weight
At the beginning of this pandemic, I saw a big increase in people on the hiking trails and local jogging routes. Many were clearly new to exercise. A few months in, some potatoes have returned to their couches, but not all.
Exercise isn’t about motivation; it’s about habits. And bravo to those who have changed theirs to reflect a commitment to their health.
~ 7 ~ Our Compassion
Racial inequities, disconsolate healthcare workers, grieving families, food lines that stretch for miles. Pain has a unique way of stripping away all the bullshit and exposing the true essence of humanity.
Covid has been an accelerant of social change. With sickness and death all around, we’ve been forced to see parts of ourselves and our lives, and others, in a way we never did before. We’re all better for it.
~ 8 ~ Our Supply Chain
While military logistics plays a huge role in vaccination efforts, companies like Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, CVS – millions of restaurants, processors, growers and the myriad of private delivery services pivoted in a way that could never have been accomplished by a government bureaucracy.
Urban warehousing, drones, and delivery-o’-everything will improve to provide for our just-in-time toilet paper needs.
~ 9 ~ The News
At first, everyone was grappling with how to produce a show using just video. But, they figured it out, and it has a lot of advantages.
Because there’s no need for the guest to physically be there, we’re able to hear voices, insights, and opinions that probably would not have made it to the “lame” stream media. Audio and video quality that would have been unacceptable 12 months ago isn’t even questioned now.
More of us are actively seeking unfiltered information. We want to hear exactly what was said, not some politically spun version of alternative facts. That doesn’t mean anyone will change her/his mind, but it’s good to know that real information is out there, and lots of bona fide journalists are, too.
~ 10 ~ Our Homes
If you drive for a living, and you would need a different vehicle than you would for occasion use. The same is true for the home office. A small bedroom was fine for the random WFH day or to check email on Sunday. Eight-to-nine-hours-five-day-a-week-and-weekends. Now, you’re under house arrest.
The connected home, IoT, learning centers and the need for multiple home offices will force a change in residential architecture. The need for both functional and attractive family “business” centers has just begun.
~ 11 ~ Our Government Services
Yeah, I said it. Bravado and bluster are part of America’s global bad rep’ (We’re #1!), But, when people are sick, dying, afraid, and the economy is in shambles, you begin to recognize that integrity, hard work, and statesmanship is the social compact we really entered into. We pay taxes for leadership, macro- planning, infrastructure, and services that cannot be provided by the private sector. I’m happy that Amazon can deliver my socks. I think I still want the CDC or NIH to be in the public health business.
Finally, I think this pandemic has ended the, “Teachers don’t work very hard,” fantasy.
This has been a difficult year for everyone – no one has escaped loneliness, sadness, and at times, the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Perhaps a moment to reflect on the good that has come from this can help ease these pains. We will never return to where we were, but now that we can see where we’re going, it looks to be pretty okay….
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