Important Lessons the Pandemic Has Taught Me About Life

George J. Ziogas

Society’s heart is still pumping

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Image: Miroslav Bakoš/Adobe Stock

You would be forgiven if you initially thought you’d be a multi-tasking productivity monster in the two weeks you were instructed to take off at the start of the pandemic. Hey, I can get reacquainted with reading. Maybe I can show my kids how much fun being bored can be. It’s time to dust the guitar off.

Of course, those two weeks quickly slipped away, rolling into month after month of uncertainty as the world stood watching in horror from the outside. Which brings me to a set of important lessons the pandemic has taught me about life:

We’re Connected

The internet links us to the entire world. While the spread of COVID-19 has highlighted just how connected we are physically, it’s also served as a great reminder that we are all humans connected in fascinating ways. The idea that countries are cut off or separate from each other is flawed.

Handwashing Kills Germs

Okay, this one I already knew, but hey, maybe you didn’t. It’s true, in the sense that the majority of people didn’t understand that hand soap kills different types of bacteria and viruses. Now, more often than not, people can explain why. They’re even doing it with cute videos all over social media.

Data Is Important

This isn’t going to be over magically. Going forward, this pandemic has taught me that facts, figures, statistics, and data still matter. It isn’t about personal beliefs and it certainly isn’t about emotion. The data shows us how to stay safe and therefore, it has to come first. The key is paying attention to it early enough.

Humans Are Social Creatures

I’m an introvert so I am one of the least social people on the planet, yet… yes, even I crave social interaction when starved of it entirely. Humans are deeply social, we live and work in communities for that very purpose. We enjoy spending time with people, we enjoy sharing their experience, and our lives. We are happier and healthier when we have a strong social network. While none of this is news, it has reinforced the importance of keeping in touch with family and friends.

Family Matters

If you live with your family, then you’ll know how grateful you were to have people around you throughout the lockdown. Even if they did wear on your nerves after three and a half days. If you don’t live with your family, then you’ll know how desperate you are to hug them and just stare at them as you catch up. Family matters. It shouldn’t take a pandemic to remind us of this, but I guess it did. Let this be a lesson to everyone — make more of an effort.

Life Will Never Be The Same

When all is said and done, life won’t just return to what it was before this all began. We are changed, fundamentally, as a society. With many lockdown orders being localized all over the world, it’s easy to see now that, whether for better or worse, things have changed irreversibly.

For example, we now have a taste of how many people can work from home. While many corporations are quick to usher employees back, other companies have recognized the benefit of teleworking. It’s beneficial for both parties, from the increase in productivity to the lack of commute. Some of this will live with us, particularly telemedicine.

This pandemic has also highlighted the need for preparation. Doomsday preppers might take it too far, but they’re onto something. On a personal level, it’s always good to have a small stock of water, canned foods, toilet paper, and other essentials on hand. This is something people are prone to do in earthquake states or those prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. It’s always smart to be ready.

On a societal level, it’s shown us the holes in our system of government. In that, experts had been long warning of a pandemic and yet, we were largely unprepared for how to handle it when it did arrive.

Life is Precious

Unfortunately, some people are a little too into statistics. By that, I mean the people who are too quick to point out the small percentage of deaths as though any of those people who passed away are less than simply because they had an underlying condition. Life is precious and it doesn’t matter how many coexisting conditions were present, their family’s ache is just as profound.

Clarity

What I appreciate from this pandemic (you know what I mean) is the awakening I’ve gone through when it comes to my levels of clarity. As the world started to grind to a halt I got the sense that I’ve been doing life wrong. But not just me! We’ve all been doing it wrong. Yes, we all have bills to pay, we have to put food on the table, but so many of us have been solely focused on that for so long we’ve forgotten about everything else.

I rediscovered music. I relived my youth watching Disney+. I uncovered a passion for food, cooking elaborate meals for my partner each evening. I challenged myself to make every lunch better than the last. While the world was falling apart outside my window, I was safe inside with my family. It shouldn’t take a pandemic for us to find healing, but here we are.

Now I have a better idea of where I was going wrong in life and I have plenty of time to make some corrections.

The Importance of Time

Time is money. Time is precious. Whichever your view of time, what’s certain is that it’s fleeting. This pandemic has highlighted just how absurd it is that we don’t have time for this, that, or the other. The reality, which this pandemic has uncovered, is not that we don’t have time. It’s that we don’t know how to prioritize. We’re so focused on instant gratification that everything else gets lost. Before this pandemic, when was the last time you sat still and enjoyed life as it is? There’s a good chance you never have, even now. I know I’m going to use my time more wisely going forward.

Society’s Heart Is Still Pumping

It doesn’t feel like it, does it? It’s easy to look at the negatives on the news and write society off as a whole. Yet, this pandemic has shown us the open, beating heart of our communities. Plenty of people have risen to the occasion to volunteer their time, to care for neighbors, donate money and food, and even offering shelter.

When the chips are truly down, we can still count on fellow humans to band together as the community we are. Deep down, the majority of us agree that people should come first.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the takeaway?

This pandemic has taught me there are always positives to be found, even when that silver lining is attached to a threatening storm cloud.

It has forced me (and you, I hope) to take a big step back and think about my life, to understand what it means to thrive in this life, instead of just survive.

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