I was inspired by a recent article I found on LinkedIn written by Joseph McLaughlin called I’m not going back.
Before the pandemic, my life was pretty hectic. As parent with 2 teenagers who both play competitive soccer, my days we filled with constant activity. Between work, teaching, kids, school and being on the soccer field at least 5 days a week, there was seldom any downtime or time to reflect on life and how we were living it. Life was a constant blur and catching a breath was illusive and always seemed to be just out of reach. Caught on the hamster wheel of life, I was so busy trying to make ends meet that life was passing me by. And then in an instant, everything changed.
Rethinking our lives and our place in the universe is not something that usually fits conveniently into our busy schedules. About the only way this becomes a priority is after a traumatic life event or major loss we experience. We become so caught up in the immediate future that we can become completely blind to the bigger picture and lose sight of where we are, how we got there and where we actually want to go. If we are not consciously deciding our future, we risk becoming lost or worse yet, having our futures decided for us. I can tell you through experience it’s easy to unintentionally let your life slip into autopilot and with the pandemic, my life was abruptly thrust out of autopilot and into manual.
As we experience this global pause in our lives, I want to you think about your life and your world before things were turned upside down. If you had the power to create the world the way you wanted it to look, would this have been what you had in mind? I am reminded of a quote by Franklin Covey to “Begin with the End in Mind”. If the world were a clean slate, and you could deliberately and consciously choose its form, how would you change it for the better and why?
Here’s an idea of what things would look like though my eyes.
First, I have to say, I’m not missing commuting. I’d like to see a world in which flexible working arrangements exist and employers around the world maintain the opportunities for team members to work remotely when possible. I’d like a world where work and family can co-exist and thrive together. What would a world look like with 4-day work weeks? What if we actually took the time to place people into careers that they actually cared about and were actually a good fit for?
I see a world in which I have the time to connect with my kids and my wife every day. We take the time to prepare and share meals together and enjoy and taste the food, have real conversations where we actually put away all our devices and distractions and listen to each other.
I’ve been enjoying getting to know my neighbors and saying hello to all the people in my community I see on my walks. We are stronger together. I see a world where people have a lot more empathy and respect for each other and think more about what they can give the world and less about what they can take. Life has meaning through our connections with each other.
I’ve been loving my walks and hikes. I see a world in which we deeply appreciate and respect nature and take the time to connect with it on a regular basis. Just getting outside instantly improves my mood and makes me appreciate clean air and the beauty the exist all around me just steps from my door.
Without your health, what do you really have? This pandemic has shown us just how quickly this precious gift can be taken away. I definitely appreciate the importance of health a lot more now and have been taking the time to work on my own personal health while I am at home. I see a world in which quality healthcare is readily available to all who need it and where the doctors and health care providers that deliver it, are celebrated and treated with the respect they deserve. A world in which people are taking the time and care to monitor and maintain their health throughout their lives is a beautify thing!
Do you want to know what you really value? Just look at where your time and money are going to right now. I’m not worried about buying a fancy car, owning a big house, flying off to some exotic destination or wearing fancy clothes. I’m trying my best to make sure my family has food and a roof over their head, that we are making an effort to be kind to each other, that my son and daughter are learning how to learn and develop new skills, that they are thinking about their future and paying attention to what’s happening in the world. I have also been teaching myself new skills and sharpening my leadership abilities every chance I get. I see the situation right now as an opportunity to re-invent myself, my career and my family and maybe even my world.
Moving forward, what do you want your life to look like? What do you want our country to look like? What do you want our world to look like? The choice is ours. Do you really want to go back to the way things were?