What will be the legacy of our enforced isolation?
The one thing that most of us have in abundance right now is the space and time to think and to reflect on what’s happened over the last few weeks, and especially the last fortnight.
I’ve found myself wondering what the world will look like when we finally come through this period of enforced separation from human contact outside our own homes. What will be different, and just how different will it be?
My sincere hope is that we will emerge from these dark days being kinder to one another, more tolerant about the shortcomings we see in others, and more aware of our own.
The scale and speed of the spread of coronavirus and the ongoing tragedy that’s unfolding in hospitals around the world have made me appreciate even more now the wonderful opportunities that life can bring; but it has also shown me how much we take for granted.
I’ve always tried to have a ‘glass half full’ attitude to life, but there’s no escaping the fact that this crisis has proved there’s also a huge risk to health and life. If anything, the presence of that threat has made me even more determined to make the most of the opportunities I have now and those that, I hope, are still to come when we find whatever is to be our new normal.
On social media this week, I asked what changes people might be thinking about making in their lives when this is ‘over’ that they might not have considered before this terrible illness took over our lives.
I believe those of us who are lucky enough to come through this without it having touched our health or the health of people we love should take what has happened and what is happening now as a trigger for change.
We should let this period serve as a platform for us all to become better versions of ourselves, and through all of the sadness and the worry, it’s been wonderful to see some amazing stories of kindness and care unfold in homes and streets across the world.
And although there is still evidence that shows the opposite end of that particular spectrum, my heart has been warmed by the reminders that, in essence, the human race can be a beautiful, inclusive and caring species in its darkest times.
I’m sure there are elders living near all of us who will be able to draw parallels between what is happening now and the events – and examples of human spirit and endeavour – that defined the war years.
Our forefathers emerged from that with a greater sense of perspective and self-awareness.
Terrible though this is and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, maybe if we can come through this time with the same determination and commitment to be better than we were, then at least the pain and anguish that many families are experiencing through the suffering or loss of loved ones won’t have been entirely for naught.
We must be kinder to each other; more understanding; less intolerant; more appreciative of others’ journeys in life and more supportive of them. If, at the end of this, we can stop and extend a hand in friendship where we might once have walked on, then we will have shown that from disharmony it is possible for unity to grow.
That won’t entirely replace the losses many of us will have endured, but it will at least be a positive part of whatever is to be this disease’s legacy.
Please stay safe and look after one another where you are able to. And in a world where you can be anything, be kind.
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