In the Moment
This shelter in place order has a few benefits. One is the opportunity to discover new platforms for connection and information. Podcasts certainly fall into that category and the play list on your favorite streaming platform is so deep that it could run all day. It was during a day of streaming that a guest on one of the shows made a profound statement. As the exact podcast and guest cannot be referenced at this time, the statement is paraphrased. It went something like this: “remember what going to the airport was like before September 11, 2001? That is what life will be like after the coronavirus pandemic – we will all be asking each other to remember what it was like before the coronavirus.”
We are living in a true global experience right now – one that will forever change the trajectory of life on our planet. There will not be a return to normal as we are required to build a new normal. It is almost as if life decided humanity needed to be forced a bit – free choice wasn’t getting us where we needed to evolve quickly enough. It is in these times that humans can start to question how we live. Our systems, society, structures, priorities – all become aspects that are discussed and evaluated. Often, those discussions lead to bigger questions. Are we living in the moments? Are we living as if this place, these people, this experience will never come again?
For many, social distancing and isolation came out of the blue. We didn’t see these measures coming and “all of a sudden” everything changed. The change was particularly sudden for youth – the last time they were in their classrooms or with their friends at school would be the last time this year. We didn’t know it on that last day but if we did – what would we have said? What would we have done differently, if we knew it was the last time those people would be in that place, having that experience?
The Last Time
There is an image being shared on social media right now that illuminates this perfectly. The quote on the image (original author unknown) is “At some point, you and your friends played outside together for the last time and didn’t realize it.” We each have so many “last times” in our lives. Many times, we did not realize it was the last time. Now we are experiencing a global “last time” for so many things. We will not understand the full list until we see the other side of this pandemic. Everything absolutely happens just as it should. There can be no flowers without the rain, no light without the dark and no opportunity without loss. As difficult as that may be (change is never easy), there will likely be a beautiful beginning on the other side.
What is our opportunity here for a beginning? What opportunity exists within our families, neighborhoods, local communities, regions, states, countries and our global community to build a new normal? What do we want to say? What do we want to achieve? How do we want to live our lives from this point on? If this is the last time our world exists as we know it – what will we do in this moment to create a socially just, healthy, sustainable world?
So much has been written about the planetary healing markers being seen due to coronavirus lockdowns – pollution numbers dropping, water ways clearing up and wild animals roaming free in urban areas. On the surface, these are bright moments that the planet is having, getting a chance to revitalize and heal a bit. But there are plenty of scientists warning that the pandemic is a longer-term threat to climate change progress. The rush to economically rebuild poses a serious threat to long-term climate change action by compromising global investments in clean energy and weakening industry environmental goals to reduce emissions. Although the planet is benefiting from the limited activity of humans in the immediate future, our long term success weighs heavily on the decisions we make in responding to this crisis.
In this moment, when we are in another “last time” and quite literally standing on the horizon of a new sunrise, a new dawn – what choices will you make? What will you say? What part will you play in crafting a beautiful new beginning on the other side of our collective COVID-19 experience?
Kelly King is a woman taking small steps toward a healthier happier life and planet, all the while caring for her two children, husband, cat and Mrs. Green’s World.