What the actual fuck. I could quite easily end this article right here and you would understand perfectly. This mutual thought is probably one of the major takeaways of this year – a synonymous situation that impacted us all on the planet. Regardless of creed, colour, status, we were all affected by the Coronavirus. Yet we didn’t start off this way.
We started the year with a false hope. We knew about the virus, yet our ignorant superiority complex made us oblivious of the nightmare that was heading our way. Even up to March, we were all sneering, “Nah, we’re safe, it’s not going to impact us, we’re on the other side of the world!”. Before even finishing that sentence off, all of us suddenly found ourselves Tik Toking our way through quarantine. It was during these early months where humanity actually unified for once. We were all out to help each other cope during lockdown. April was full of energy, I myself even produced articles and videos! Yet this sprint was just that, a sprint. We, collectively, again, with our ignorance thought this will all be over soon. There were no real facts to back that statement up, but we didn’t care. We should have. As deaths and cases were on the rise again; jobs were lost, businesses crumbled, holiday plans were cancelled, kids were still at home and not to mention Zoom party headaches. Fatigue and depression had crept in come middle of the year onwards.
Here we are at the end of the year, although we have the light of the vaccine, many of us are still in a lockdown situation whilst the logistical nightmare of vaccination is worked out and delivered. Usually at this time of year I write a few articles, a look back of the year, travel highlights and the last word on my approach for the next year. This year, I have been going back and forth whether I should do the same. Let’s face it, no one really is in the mood for any kind of pumped up motivation right now. I certainly am not. However I do want to share a few things I’ve taken away from this year and like we have been doing throughout this year, celebrate the positive aspects, together.
Way back in April, I shared my approach and what I learned from the time of social distancing. That frame consisted of Structure, Connections and Appreciation. I truly believe this was the lifeline for me personally, but its what was embedded and what resulted from within this model that were key.
Even though a structure was set on a day to day basis, the way we conducted our lives was and is still not normal. There is no new normal. It is not normal to stay 2m apart with defensive body language, it is not normal to not feel the warmth of a hug, it is not normal not to see family, loved ones, friends, colleagues and strangers in person. Whilst I believed we all needed measures to curb the virus, accepting that this was the standard of our lives was simply unacceptable to me. Living in fear of doing of not only what we love but for the wellbeing of our body and mental state is nowhere near normal. Life must continue and we cannot be subdued to this concept of new normal. Instead we should be focussing on continually striving to innovate to not just move ahead, but also be better than any previous concept of “normality’ we thought we had.
Looking to the past however was not completely in vain, in fact memories provided a reflective nourishment for our souls. I made a point this year to share memories with my loved ones, friends and colleagues. At the surface the sharing of a memory provides joy to our connections. However deeper, beyond that, memories provide a method to document change in an ever changing transient present. The reflection of what a memory brings is pure gold in order to be able to fully process our experiences, our achievements, our losses, our sadness, our joy. All of this helps us forge a path forward, especially considering the year we have all had.
Earlier I mentioned that in the middle of the year for most, and even to this day, we are all in a state of coronavirus fatigue. It was and still is tough. I personally suffered a lot around August to October. Whatever energy I had was drained, I was waking up everyday thinking what’s the point of anything anymore. In November I realised something so obvious, something that was in front of me this whole time, something I was actually doing five times a day with my faith. Submission. It took me three months to finally realise that I truly needed to accept what was around me. Not verbally, but within my mind and spirit. It was at that moment, expectations that were causing dissatisfaction were removed, enabling gratefulness to mould my creativity and spark motivation to reviewing my purpose and forge a path ahead.
The thought also arises that these concepts perhaps would not have been realised, if it was not for the halting nature of this year. I’m confident there are similar moments for you that would not have been realised. I sincerely believe that in itself is one of the positives I think we can all take away as the first of year of this decade comes to a close. At the very least our resilience is testament to that.
As we relax in our social bubbles over the holiday season we all should try to; spend time thinking of how we want our life to be next year, creating new memories to be shared in the future and resetting our spirit through the power of acceptance. Our body, soul and mind respectively will need it more than ever in the coming year. For now, happy holidays, stay healthy and as always, Peace & Love.
Having over 15 years’ experience in freight forwarding and supply chain management, Ali has led numerous multi-disciplined projects and operations globally. A change management specialist having worked within multiple industry verticals. He is also a coffee-obsessed, solo-travelling introvert.
Ali is also a published author with his latest book; Building Your Bridge: An Introvert’s Art of Success. A personal journey to help guide professional introverts to realising that as an introvert, the skills and traits for success are already within their grasp. Available now here.