We’ve had decades upon decades of growth. Even after the last economic crisis of 2008, things still improved. We are richer now than ever, we have more choices, we are more connected, healthier, can travel more, order literally anything to arrive on our door step.
We can have jobs without having to leave the house, find friends who think the same as us – without ever having met, and even before the restaurants are open, we can order almost any type of food that we might wish for.
But all this apparent ‘ease’ is depleting us of something else.
The ease of the world which we have created, is becoming our own dis-ease.
We are less grateful, more unhappy, relationships are shallower (because we are trying to keep up with 600 on Facebook, and God knows how many on LinkedIn). We are more confused, and more lonely.
Because the click-click of our former world isn’t real. It simplified life beyond reality, it made difficult things look easy, and inaccessible places accessible to everyone.
Without the lack of choice, without the barriers that we once had, it feels like everything is up to us. How do you know which path to take, when there are so many?
It feels like it’s up to us to build that career, have that family, build that business, buy that house, start that blog, create that clothing brand, start that movement, learn that language, or whatever it is that is nagging us right now.
The pressure is enormous. They all look possible. They all seem attainable. But they are not.
With all the places we can get to, what we really lack, is direction.
Too much choice is as paralysing as not having any at all. In fact, much more so.
And then came Coronavirus.
Suddenly, we stopped buying things. Paths on which we were going, closed. Literally. Physically. Everything went on hold. Pressure paused. There was a surreal moment on my crazy feed where there was almost no activity on LinkedIn for a whole day. Everyone went numb. We couldn’t leave the house anymore. We stopped moving.
At that moment when we stopped, what did we gain?
Time my friends, we gained time. That precious, finite resource that you can spend but never gain.
The thing we thought we were saving with every click or like, with every flight we were buying on our phone, or every app we were using to do our shopping. God how I missed doing my own shopping. Time.
Space. The space to think. With the entire world only reachable from a screen, the friends who we loved dearly were just as close as the ones down the road, and everyone was on Corona-time. What? We could call any evening. Any time.
In my business I finally managed to call clients who I had not spoken to in literally years, I emailed contacts and friends who I hadn’t emailed in months, some were pregnant, some were somewhere else now. I enjoyed those conversations so much!! Sometimes they called me, just out of the blue! Imagine.
One client even surprised me with a video call one day in a T-shirt. It hit me that I have never seen a client of mine in a T-shirt in 15 years.
And in years, I felt really connected. And no, I wasn’t building my business. Probably though, I was building myself. I was finding myself.
I was definitely happier than I have been in a long time. I saw my child more. I saw my partner more. I connected with my old, best friends. Everyone had time to talk. After lockdown my child started speaking English fluently.
I remember hearing that the most magical part about a bowl isn’t the bowl itself, but the space sat in the middle of it. I understand that now.
Time and space.
Last week 3 new clients came into the company, a lot of vacancies are coming back off hold now. Lockdowns seem to be easing. That’s a good thing. But let’s not rush away from what we’ve learned we needed.
Let’s not leave time and space, behind.