In many countries, things are opening up again after the lockdown periods during the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons why differ per country. Some countries are opening up again because they’re in control, and therefore they can release some of the tight measures. Other countries are not in control yet, but they feel the pressure to get the economy going again. One conclusion is inevitable. Normal, like we were used to, is still far away and may never return.
I’m Dutch by nationality, and I live in Prague, in the Czech Republic. In both countries, the day that I’m writing this blog, the hairdressers are allowed to start serving clients again under strict regulations. Some of these hairdressers are booked for weeks now. Nearly two months of quarantine has taken its toll on our haircuts, and people can’t wait to get their hair done again.
In the Netherlands, some hairdressers opened one minute after midnight to start serving customers. They had reserved those first hours exclusively for people in the healthcare industry who would get a 25% discount. I wonder why a healthcare worker would get their hair done in the middle of the night, after weeks of tough work, but that might be my problem of imagination.
As I read about opening up our economies again, I wonder what we have learned. The optimist in me tells me that we now have a greater appreciation for everything we had taken for granted before the pandemic, primarily our freedom and the ability to do whatever we wanted without too many restrictions. I hope that we have taken the time to reflect on the things we would like to change permanently and the opportunities this pandemic may have created. I hope we’re now closer to our loved ones than we were before.
But when I see people racing to the hairdressers, my optimism gets put to the test. I fear that we will run even faster than before to make up for lost time. I fear that the time and money we may have missed during our time in quarantine needs to be recovered as much as possible. I fear that whatever or whoever is getting in our way needs to move to the side. I fear that most people will not have reflected at all and want to go back to normal as soon as possible.
Time will only tell what’s the truth if there is any truth. It may well be that both my optimism and pessimism will be proven right (or wrong depending on how you want to read it).
I’ve learned during this period that we, as human beings, are much more resilient than we think we are. I knew that already, but this was a big test case. I’ve learned how much I value my relationships with family and friends. I’ve learned how much I enjoy being outside for walks and sports. I’ve learned that I can work and be productive anywhere in my home, as long as I create the right circumstances for it. I’ve learned that any crisis creates opportunity and that those who act pro-actively are the winners. Most importantly, I’ve learned that the way you approach a crisis and how you deal with your mindset, make the difference.
QUESTION: What have you learned?
Let me know.