• Eve Arnold

A Life Lesson Courtesy of Covid-19

Photo by Ravi Roshan at Unsplash

Perhaps in a years time, when this is all a thing of the past (I hope it is by then) there will be a new book written about the time we all went through and endured together. It might start something like this:

“It was all pretty normal. Life I mean, that was until the day we found out. It’s quite odd that something so invisible can have such an impact on one’s life. It kind of came out nowhere. I can remember it like it was yesterday in fact, and that’s where our story starts. Let me tell you about the virus.”

There is no question that we are living through history, of course by definition every day that passes is us living through history. But this time is something people will talk about in years to come. This is the sort of time that will make it into GSCE history in twenty years time. And when we’re old and grey, our grandchildren will sit on our knees and say

“can you tell me what it was like when the virus was here?”

We’ll smile and think back to now. Face masks were the norm, seeing your family is became a thing of face time — unless you were my next door neighbours, and weekends were spent in the house. We’ll talk about how we realised the value of our healthcare system. We understood what a privilege it is to live in a system where so many key workers make the world turn. We’ll talk about how we responded and what life meant for us through this odd time. Our grand children will listen with pricked ears as if they couldn’t ever imagine a time where McDonalds was closed or you had to queue outside to get food. We will talk, probably, about how this was the time we realised how ridiculous the commute to work is and how did we ever forget the fact that our families are the most important thing in the world.

What I’ll be saying to my grand children (providing I make it that far) would be something along the lines of:

“You know, we humans are good the making the world a little more complicated than it needs to be. I find that most joy comes from a nice warm cup of something and a long conversation with the people I love the most. It doesn’t matter how much of something you’ve got, it matters that you view what you’ve got as enough.”

In a word, Covid-19 has taught me that life, is very simple. We are creatures that need our basic needs met. Food, shelter, water, warmth. We need our human needs met, affection and love. And we need our personal needs met, growth, development, purpose.

When we spend more time doing the things that don’t meet our needs, like long commutes, tiring meetings, staying late. We find ourselves out of kilter and yearning for the balance to be readdressed.

When we don’t address the balance we find ourselves down and stressed.

That’s probably why we always feel better after a long walk. It gives us time to get out in nature, gets us on our feet and gives us the headspace to think about life in more simple terms.

Most things can be fixed with a good walk.

When I think about life and this time we are living in, I think it takes very little to make up a good life. A whole life, at least for me, is incredibly simple.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” Confucius

And I think this guy had a point. I think we are really good at making things complicated.

Thinking that material things will make us happy, saving up for them, only to realise they don’t and then getting confused about why we’re not happy. I find that most good things don’t cost a great deal. Not really.

A good film, a good book, a good coffee.

We save to buy huge houses, fancy cars, big TVs but our lives are spent trying to pay them off and stressing about making ends meet.

Does having a four-bedroom house make you happier than a three bed? Does having a newer car make you exponentially happier than keeping the one you have? No matter how many bedrooms you have, you only sleep in one bed. No matter how new your car is, you still need to get from A to B.

If things don’t give us more of the stuff we love and less of the stuff we hate, why do we indulge them at all.

We often neglect the things that give us the most joy in hopes that we’ll find something that gives us more immediate joy. We overlook the cuddle with the dog, the early morning sun, the book that captures our attention, the exercise that makes us feel alive. And we pine for higher status, bigger responsibilities and more money.

If more doesn’t actually give us more, why do we strive for it?

For me, it’s really simple. Knowing what makes a good day means that I can orchestrate my day to be that. And that doesn’t include more money, more clothes, more material things. It includes more cuddles from the dog, more long conversations about life, more writing and more thinking. All of which, cost very little.

There is beauty in simplicity.

Complication is ugly.

Originally published at https://www.careerhealth.info on May 1, 2020.

#Balance #Work #Life #Covid19 #SelfImprovement

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