May you live in interesting times – says the old Chinese curse for our enemies. We definitely had to live in such times, because hardly anyone expected, that the COVID pandemic would change our daily lives so much, it would affect, it would seem, completely peaceful functioning. However, nothing lasts forever, and changes are not so much something to defend against, but something to wait and prepare for: sometimes worse, sometimes better, but changes. Was that current situation only bad? Definitely not. In my opinion, the COVID pandemic has a lot of advantages, and a few of them would like to share with you in this post.
We appreciate what we have
First of all, pandemics, quarantine and any changes related to them allow us to remember what we have: healthy, shelter, and family. It happened that in the sheer load of duties and ordinary everyday life, we forgot about it. Although Poland is still far from really solid countries, cases of lack of food or water are definitely extremes, most often also a matter of personal choice. We live safely, we don’t have to worry about the cold, we don’t have to worry about bombs falling on our heads, as was the case with our grandparents. Despite appearances, we don’t have to worry about the next tomorrow – we live, we are all. It’s a lot and we should be grateful for that every day. Not only for that, but also every nice little thing that meets us. And this is really happening, a lot of people started to notice and appreciate it.
We can slow down
This slowdown, this moment of breath also allows us to think about the race we had before the pandemic – busy everywhere, everywhere quickly, in the treadmill from morning to evening, to fall so tired into bed. Was it worth it? Pandemic shows: no. That the pursuit of, for example, luxury goods did not make sense, because in an emergency, this does not count. Sure, it’s nice to live comfortably, but at all costs? When we had to stand in long queues in front of stores where there was a lot of goods, but access to them was limited, we had no choice – so we waited anyway. Sometimes mumbling, sometimes joking with others waiting like us. In the face of danger, as in the face of death, we are all equal. So let’s think about what we really strive for and what brings us happiness in life.
We are more together, we verify our relationships
Quarantine and compulsion to stay at home is a fantastic opportunity for couples to verify how they feel together. The abovementioned soliciting causes that many people “passed each other in the door” and although they lived together, they seemed to live separately. This time allows us to verify whether we are with someone we really want to be with – the situation from courts and offices in countries where they are already functioning normally shows that divorce applications have rapidly arrived. I suspect that it looks similar in the case of people living informally together: parting certainly was a lot. Is it wrong? Only at first glance. It’s really good, because what’s the point of having a “living” together in such a way, or realizing that “it’s completely not that” in many years? Personally, I think that people today (especially in a similar age to mine) are not particularly persistent, but in this situation I understand their choices: the world is not over, and it’s worth thinking about the future.
We’re moving away from senseless consumption
Changing views and perceptions of the world also has a positive impact on how we approach consumption. Although many stores and galleries have already been opened, they are not full of people. Quite the opposite. This is not only because of the precarious work situation, but also a change in thinking: we have started to notice that we simply do not need many things. Fashion show? Why do we need it in the age of coronavirus? Impressive clothing or gadget or car? Why, if nobody pays attention to it. For me as a minimalist, this is a very positive image – an image of society that goes back to its roots. Some time ago I read about furniture fairs where almost every year, for example, a thousand chair designs were shown. Thousand? Why so much? Why should we consume so much, modify everything so much? I am not in favor of limiting the choice of any of us, I am not in favor of imposing views or choices.
However, I encourage you to think: is it really needed? Do we necessarily have to have a full large wardrobe, since we will not use the majority, and we must earn to buy all, devoting our own time? It is all in the reverse now, we are beginning to appreciate the things we already have, that are still working, and we can rely on them. If from time to time we feel like something completely different – sure, let’s enjoy life, although after a pandemic we will definitely spend a moment wondering whether it is just an unnecessary whim or an actual need that brings some benefits.
We pay attention to the beauty of nature and the environment
From the beginning, I thought the ban on entering the forests that we had to face was senseless and completely unnecessary. His abolition, however, showed something else: we began to appreciate such simple things as going to the forest, going for a walk. Many people appreciated it before the pandemic, others only now realized how little it takes to be happy. We don’t have to have a big house with a pool and a new sports car in front of it. Just going out together, the smell of blooming trees and flowers, the sounds of birds and spring, growing life. Sounds like a pipe dream? Maybe it does, but it works, we feel it ourselves. Lifting the ban meant that masses of people moved to forests and parks: people who suddenly regained something they had previously underestimated.
We eat healthier
When restaurants and all gastronomic establishments are closed, when we stay at home and order ready food, we order deliveries at most, we prepare meals more often independently. The effects often surprise: we learn that it can be tastier than before, that it does not have to be fast and anyhow. We learn that you can also eat healthier and deepen your knowledge about it. It’s all science that develops us, as well as building a much healthier, more resistant organism. You don’t need to talk too much about the advantages of the latter. The Internet also shows how much we can learn thanks to other people – crowds of people exchange ideas not only related to food, but also many other issues.
We return to the roots and learn
Forced to stay at home, we also became interested in what we have. For example, own exercise equipment returned to favor, instead of what the currently closed gyms offer. Cinema is currently home cinema and at most streaming like Netflix instead of going out. Examples can be multiplied, and the huge increase in interest in renovations, gardens or plants also shows that we care about what we have and appreciate it all more than in the pre-pandemic period. The own plot has also become the object of many people’s dreams, and this is not surprising: it provides greater peace, respite from four walls and occupation drawing a sense of helplessness from us. This is changing and most likely for a long time: after this period of uncertainty, we will certainly not soon decide to delegate again.
Of course, sitting at home can be used for pure entertainment, but many people devote it to learning new things – professional development or expanding their passions and horizons. I will mention again that the richness of the Internet and the great dedication of people in sharing knowledge mean that we can learn almost everything now. Just a bit of desire, because after all, many people do not lack time. We are extremely happy to see and learn that someone in this period is gaining new qualifications, that he is suddenly surprised by something that we would not expect from that person. It is all the more important that new knowledge and new skills can pay off strongly during the economic crisis – we will be a better candidate on the labor market, and maybe we will start our own company.
It is difficult not to mention the traffic statistics, which are generally very sad, and which improved significantly during the quarantine period. Of course, it’s not that people suddenly pulled their leg off the gas, that people got rid of the bravado, that the equipment stopped failing. No, it’s not like that: there are simply fewer people on the streets and roads, which means fewer accidents. For some it may be a poor consolation, but after all, many lives that have not left, did not leave families and loved ones. It also seems to me that the aforementioned slowdown in functioning also affected behavior behind the wheel: not everyone, but a lot of people approach it more calmly, they are not in a hurry, which is safer. So there is definitely something to enjoy.
Digitization and cost cutting
Due to the limitation of banks, offices and the entire administration, we moved to the Internet with many issues. Unless I approve of leaving cash, because it’s just a muzzle imposed on citizens, the ability to control all payments they make, I like digitalisation as such: we don’t have to waste time (or take the risk) by sending letters by mail, everything happens faster, and with good implementation is also safer. As I have my own company for several years, I really appreciate the possibility of sending many official letters via the Trusted Profile (Polish Government it system for citizens): it is convenient, and for us, taxpayers, also means lower administrative costs (at least in theory). The development of digital services and online work can also be seen in commercial companies and there is nothing to hide, the current situation is an opportunity for many.
We help each other
At the end I left a pearl that shows up almost always when we encounter crises: human solidarity. Although the disease is contagious, although the fight is not easy, we show solidarity, support as much as we can, thank the medical services, and make others optimistic. Sure, in this country you have to do a lot to make it right, but even a nice gesture, nice words can motivate you very much and show that it is worth fighting – it is worth fighting, it is worth continuing to function, it is worth looking at the future with optimism. Remember that with a positive attitude it is a bit like with viruses, it is also contagious, but before such “getting sick” no one will rather refuse. In the meantime, I wish you as much health as possible, cheerfulness and joy.