Upon reflection

Yesterday’s blog post made me think about the pandemic, and the last sixteen-and-a-halfish months (but who’s counting?). Then I came across a quote this morning, that also made me think: “Forget the mistake. Remember the lesson.”

And it made me realize that out of the catastrophe that was 2020, there are some really valuable lessons we can take with us into whatever comes next; and that I hope we — myself included — do learn them, hang on to them, remember them and live our lives going forward accordingly.

I have had countless conversations this past year — with friends, clients, former colleagues, family, Facebook friends, virtual strangers while I was getting my COVID-19 vaccines and probably a few others I’m forgetting. I don’t think I’ve ever talked so much — or listened to so many other people who also had a lot on their minds — in my life before. Which, in itself tells you something — which is a topic for another day.

And what I’ve discovered is, we’ve all been doing pretty much the same thing.

Each in our own way, and in our own time, we’ve been reflecting and re-evaluating, questioning and changing. Or maybe evolving is a better word. I guess it’s different for each of us. The point is, we’re all going through a similar conversation that we’re having with ourselves.

It’s not a surprise, really. How could we not after what we’ve been through? It’s been so unprecedented, so unexpected, so dramatic, so consequential, so surreal, so monumental it can’t just be shrugged off, at least I don’t think so. It’s not possible to be unaffected or unchanged in some way.

But first, just think about it for a minute. Globally, in real time and simultaneously, we’ve witnessed — and sat helplessly — as millions of people lost their lives. In the blink of an eye. Millions of people. Gone. And even worse, they died alone. I cried over total strangers dying, because the thought of anyone dying under those circumstances was just more than I could stand.

It didn’t matter how rich or poor or young or old you were, how important you were or where you lived, the rules were the same for everyone. There were absolutely no visitors permitted.

In many cases, dedicated, compassionate, selfless nurses and doctors held the hands of dying patients or held devices aloft so loved ones could say good-bye. And then, as if that wasn’t bad enough we couldn’t even honour their lives properly. They were buried with virtually no one there to pay their final respects. Because funerals were also restricted. And loved ones had no choice but to mourn privately, without the comfort of having friends and family around. No hugs, no sharing of memories, no company. Nothing.

Birthdays were spent alone or on Zoom. Same with holidays and other milestones. Countless jobs have been lost, so many businesses forced to close down. None of us knew what hit us and we’re still uncertain about what the future holds or what it might look like.

So is it any wonder we’re questioning and re-evaluating? Asking ourselves what’s really important. Thinking about what really matters. The question is, will it last?

I’ve certainly spent a lot of time looking inward and it’s been interesting and enlightening. I have a new appreciation of the difference between “need” and “want” — and I’ll tell you, they’re nothing like they were a year ago. My priorities are vastly different. I don’t think I’ll ever take anything or anyone for granted again. I’ve become a lot more accepting, I’ve learned to forgive which, by the way, isn’t easy — but so worth it, because I am at peace with a lot of things that really bothered and upset me in the past — and no longer do.

Honestly I’m not sure I would have gotten there without this pandemic. Partly because of the tremendous upheaval it caused — not to mention the comeuppance the whole world got. And also because there was nothing to distract me, there was nowhere to go and I had all the time in the world to think and do a lot of soul-searching.

Which is the exact point I’m trying to make.

Something good can come of this crisis. If we remember this moment. If we learn from it. If we continue to be more reflective. If we continue to be grateful and to include others in our prayers. If we continue to ask for — and be happy — with less and with giving more.

If we never forget how fragile life is and what a precious gift it is — and why what truly counts is what we do and how we live right now, at this very moment.

If.

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance, including this pandemic. That’s why I believe we’re at an inflection point. We have a big opportunity here. I wonder what we’ll do with it.

23 thoughts on “Upon reflection

  1. Understand perfectly where you’re coming from Fransi. We have seen many pensioners pass away on our estate and residents stood on the roadside to pay their final respects due to restrictions.
    Our community, one we have only been a part of for a short while, came together, young and old, and the Thursday Clap for the NHS was more than that here…………. people stood outside banging pots and waving at fellow residents to let everyone know they were still around.
    For us, our lifestyle didn’t change that much as we usually kept to ourselves, the major difference being we didn’t shop as often, and spontaneous field trips for the sake of it were kicked into touch.
    We became more aware of people on their own, got to know them, certain in some instances people deliberately left their curtains open at night to be reassured by seeing the couple in yellow hi-viz jackets walking their dog. We waved, smiled, and felt we were doing something, although in theory, we were doing nothing other than walking the dog.
    The pandemic has changed us all. It’s brought out the idiots and the selfish, some of which are in charge of our country, made us think, observe, avoid, and plan ahead. Hopefully everyone will come out of this with a lesson learnt. We take so much for granted, but Covid stripped us and made us realise just how vulnerable we all are, not just those already sick or disabled.

    • Yes, exactly. You’ve talked about how your community has paid respects to those who have passed and also, to thank the health care workers. I really love how you’ve all responded, it is very loving, kind and compassionate. These times have indeed brought out the best in some and the worst in others. I’ve been working freelance, and from home, since 2010 so that wasn’t an adjustment for me at all. And I love my own company so that, too, hasn’t been difficult for me. The big change was not going shopping, or out to see friends or to movies as normal. But there was nothing I could do about it, it didn’t only happen to me and It made me much more comfortable to isolate at home than risk getting sick. Despite it all I feel blessed compared to so many others.

  2. A wonderfully honest reflection on our year that ‘was’ … like the world has been at war with itself, and like shadow boxing … there is no ‘winner’ … although coming through alive is a ‘win’ … and that is what matters and that is what we are thankful for … our appreciation of the fragility of life has definitely been shaken back to reality … that is the answer, we have become more real !! … material things do not matter that much any more … being aware of the people around us, family, friends, and neighbours has definitely been enhanced … Cheers Fransi .. and stay well …

      • Yes … who knows how the situation will pan out … haha … I did have plenty of time to finish my book and get it published …

      • Oh… it’s a poetry collection from 20 years of writing… divided into 10 chapters … a mixture of my life story, and my thoughts on life that surrounds us … Here is my Chapter list

        Tullawalla. A Meeting Place

        Chapter 1.
        Nature, Trees, and the Air We Breathe
        Chapter 2.
        My Empty Hands Are Full, Of Memories and Rhymes
        Chapter 3.
        Dragons, Wizards, Faeries, and a Space Craft
        Chapter 4.
        Humour, Wit, Sarcasm, and Christmas Stories
        Chapter 5.
        Observations, The Sound of Silence
        Chapter 6.
        Travel. Air, Land, and Sea
        Chapter 7.
        The Family Tree and Dream-time Stories
        Chapter 8.
        Haiku’s and the Leftover Champagne
        Chapter 9.
        Not Horror, But Weird
        Chapter 10.
        Beyond the Blue Horizon

      • It was going very well, but B&N stuffed a reprint of my Hardcover version, so my publisher has withdrawn the book while they try a different print platform … Draft2Digital Print

  3. Beautifully put. The events of the past year have been a catalyst for major change for many. It was a time for introspection for many. I remind myself everyday that I need to be purposeful and grateful having come out on the other side of the pandemic since others weren’t so fortunate. Thank you for your words today.

    • Thank YOU, Julie. I agree with what you’ve said, and we all have to be purposeful, grateful and mindful. And I believe with every fibre of my being that we can make something positive out of this — individually and collectively for the greater good. ❤️

  4. The pandemic has been a revelation – shining a light on what is both good and bad in our personal lives, and those of our communities and nations. I’d like to hope that we will learn, but…

  5. Your words ring true, Fransi. This pandemic really brought out the best and the worst in mankind, across the globe. I choose to be an optimist, but I cannot close my eyes to the multitudes who have (closed their eyes). I worry, not so much for us, but for future generations, who will continue to have to deal with the repercussions of ignorance. I wish we had left them a better world, and I think about that a lot. Does good triumph over evil, or does a more Darwinian purview prevail, where natural selection and survival of the fittest determines the future. Life wants to live, and maybe Mother Nature will have the ultimate say.

    • Thanks Terry. I choose to be an optimist as well, but it is hard not to be concerned about future generations and the state of the planet and the world we’re leaving them. Neither are in great shape at the moment. We can course-correct, but the huge numbers of non-believers and nay-sayers are concerning. I pray everyday that good will triumph over evil.

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