Without a doubt, 2020 will go down in history as one of the years that re-shaped the human race. And while that sounds like a punchy, dramatic opener to an article, there’s little doubt that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has affected our lives in ways we don’t even realise yet.
Social distancing has made us question how we even did things before.
It’s hard to imagine ever going back to a world where we crammed together in food markets or packed ourselves like sardines into venues to watch live bands. Hopefully, as we flatten the curve and start to get control over the coronavirus those things will come back to us, if only in small ways at first.
And while this developing tragedy has made a significant impact on our lives, there has also been some interesting positive side-effects to come from it.
We’ve had more time to reflect
The current restrictions have forced us to slow down a little. It’s given us the much-needed time to reflect on our lives, audit the connections we have with those around us and take stock of our purpose in life.
It’s made us question “what have we been doing with our lives?”
By reducing our physical circle of travel, the lockdown has pushed us to look more closely at the relationships in our homes and the quality of those connections. Setting up camping in the backyard over Easter and spending time with the kids around the fire seemed like such an easy thing to do.
Why wouldn’t we do this every weekend?
Because for a brief second, the world stopped turning and suddenly we realised that these connections are the most important thing we have.
Without us, the earth is healing
The virtual ‘freeze’ on the world’s economy and the heavy restrictions on trade and transport have had some positive effects on the environment, too.
For the first time in decades, in heavily industrialised parts of the world such as China and India, the air pollution has dropped significantly, revealing beautiful clear blue skies that were heavy with smog and poor quality air only a few months ago.
In other parts of the world, we have seen the resurgence of animals into spaces previously occupied by humans.
We’ve returned to our roots
There is an incredibly contagious disease, spreading quickly between people and causing it to spiral out of control around the globe.
Internet search volume on “how to bake bread” on some channels has risen by up to 700% as people hunker down and try to bake that perfect loaf for their family.
Humans have a primal connection with bread. For centuries, it has fed and nourished generations of people. With the lockdown, the perfect storm of amateur bakers shows no signs of relenting.
The return of small-town commerce
The way we connect with customers and sell our products has also changed. With a large number of businesses that rely on foot traffic forced to close their doors to the public, for many, it has been ‘evolve or die.’
Restaurants forced to close their doors are now pivoting and moving to home delivery to keep selling and keep engaged with their customer base. Real estate agencies and professional services that relied on in-person inspections and consultations are moving their business to ‘virtual’ meetings, using Zoom or Skype.
Local platforms like Facebook Community Groups have allowed businesses to connect with people in their immediate area and continue to trade. A real sense of “coming together” to support those doing it tough has also helped to build the community and encourage commerce.
So what now?
We all see the news and witness the absolute devastation this virus is causing around the world on a daily basis. Yet in Australia, we have a lot to be thankful for.
The measures that have been introduced to both flatten the curve and stimulate the economy seem to be working. So far, at least.
And despite the devastating loss and sorrow, I can’t help but feel that the world has got the reset it might have just needed. A real chance to look around and appreciate what we have and the opportunities that we’ve never taken.
Also, wash your hands.