June 1, 2020

After the pandemic

Although it affects our income, this pandemic hasn’t hit our family hard. We’re healthy and live in an area with low infection rates. This is in part due to our government managing the crisis proactively, and residents listening to—and acting on—their recommendations.

I admit that we’re privileged and lucky. Others face a grim reality that we’ve been spared of, so far. Aside from some lost revenue, our family is only experiencing some inconveniences. I hope it remains this way for us. I want my family and friends to remain safe and healthy. I also hope that a vaccine is near—and that world leaders act in their people’s best interests.

With these points noted, I’ll move to a related but smaller topic. It’s one that could (fairly) be dismissed as self-involved. I get that. If I were in a worse spot, I’d be dealing with more serious matters. I’m not, though. Also, I believe the following speaks to a discussion we ought to have.

Over the past months, I’ve been anxious. One aspect of this relates to a cloud of uncertainty. This involves a slurry of concerns ranging from COVID-19 to fascism, economic fallout to media manipulation, monopolization by tech giants to the climate crisis… and the list goes on. I once wished my life would be more like a movie. Now that it is, I’d like to retract that wish.

The other part of my anxiety relates to the end of our pseudo-lockdown1 state. Sure, I’d love to go on a holiday, have lunch at a restaurant, or get together for a big party. That said, the past months have brought some gifts.

Our immediate family is spending more time together than ever. We eat all of our meals as one. We even worked our way through every episode of the Office, which our kids enjoyed immensely. My wife’s no longer commuting 130 km in the evening to teach. There’s no mad rush to get to soccer practice or school events.

I feel like there’s a little more time to talk, breathe, and reflect as of late. Sure, there are days when I’m working more than I should. Part of that relates to anxiety about the uncertainty of future work. I’m working on this, though, and the feeling is less common than in the first weeks of lockdown.

This pause also led us to take more care with our family spending. (Being somewhat housebound helps with this.) Despite some of our businesses not producing as they would otherwise, we’re putting money into our savings account. This is without feeling like we’re missing anything material in nature.

I’d like to see this pandemic end. When it does, though, I’d like to hold on to some experiences we’ve had. For me, these include calmness, silence, togetherness, and frugality2. If this is possible, I believe we all (as individuals, communities, and a planet) can benefit.

  1. Our province never had an actual lockdown. In B.C. the pandemic response principally involves social distancing and a voluntary closing of some businesses and public facilities. I just refer to it as lockdown because it feels like one, even if it isn’t compulsory.

  2. On a related note, this video suggests a handful of factors that affect happiness. These include reasonable working hours, sufficient (but not excessive) money, regular vacations, autonomy, work/life balance… and saunas.

balance life pandemic work

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