There are many questions that arise due to the pandemic and our efforts to deal with it. One question that I have not seen much of yet: How do you want this to change you?
While the reasons for it are regrettable (for some heartbreaking), we live in a time of remarkable opportunity. Our normal, daily routine has been completely upended. Moreover, we don’t know when things will change, or what the end state of our world will be.
This means we have a chance to have a larger impact on our own future lives, and the future condition of our entire society right now.
Think back to before self-isolation started, before schools were closed and people started wearing masks. The thought of making changes, on an individual or collective level, was daunting to say the least. Could you imagine not driving everywhere all the time? Could you imagine working from home?
But now we see what kind of change is possible, if we want it enough and agree to make it happen. For instance, massive, structural changes to address climate change is possible. Evictions can be stopped. Paid sick leave, universal health care, and working from home can be done.
But in order for those things, or others, to happen, we have to want them and be willing to change our behaviors in order to make them happen. We have to convince our elected leaders we want these things. And if we are told they aren’t possible, we know that’s simply not true, because we have seen them happen when the need is great enough.
All this change has to start at the individual level. How do you want your life to change? Before life goes back to pre-pandemic behavior, spend some time thinking about what it is that is truly important to you. What have you learned about yourself, your community, and larger society?
Related questions: Are there unexpected benefits to what we are going through? How have you changed? How have we changed? Can people change?
2 thoughts on “How Do You Want This To Change You?”
The thing that has struck me the most about the current situation — and what I hope sticks with me after it is all over — is how interconnected we are. For better or for worse.
What happens around the world (in this case in Wuhan, China) impacts me and my life. Conversely, what I do, and how I choose to live my life, has ripples across my community and indeed, the entire world.
And it is not just the threat of pandemics or outbreaks. When we needed to, we all came together and took action. It was in self-interest, sure (we don’t want to get sick ourselves, and we don’t want our loved ones to die) but we have just witnessed the largest combined human action ever. We can all work together when necessary. Yes, there have been a very small, very vocal minority of people who have not banded together, but the vast majority of people are united in this.
International travel, global supply chains, and improved technology have stitched us all together in a way that has never been as true at any time throughout human history. And the resulting impacts are independent of social-economic background, political affiliation, or geographic location.
This has been a powerful reminder of that, maybe the most potent example of our collective reality since the picture of the Earth taken from the moon back in 1969.
Did you know that at one point during WWII (when food shortages were a serious concern), home gardens produced approximately 40% of the fruits and vegetables consumed at the time?
These days, each night I watch the nightly news and see several blocks lined with cars of recently-unemployed people waiting for a box full of food to help them stay fed for the coming weeks. While growing your own food takes some time, I wonder how this situation might not be quite as dire if these people had already been involved in some sort of gardening and food preservation to begin with.
For this reason, and many others, I’d like to inspire and assist as many people as possible to become serious food gardeners so they could play a large role in feeding themselves while helping protect our nation’s food supply.