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Life After The Great Pause of 2020

August has officially slipped away and, like every summer, it has blown by like a manic tornado leaving nothing behind but a lonely chill lingering throughout the evening air. As I sip my bubble tea from a beachside bench, I watch the sun quickly descend into a bed of clouds, as the sky lights up in a showy display of pinks and orange. In the distance, I can hear my son’s bouncing ball as he makes his way up to the hoop, maneuvering skillfully through a parade of jocks on the basketball court. Bubble tea, sunsets and basketballin’ until the air turns crispy cool and the darkness of night marches us home… has become this year’s “new summer normal”.

The global pause of 2020 has given me a new perspective and some unexpected gifts that I wouldn’t have otherwise ever slowed down enough to receive. These gifts include things such as reconnecting with mother nature, friends and loved ones… with pure simplicity – like beachside sunsets and bubble tea. I’m sure many of you can relate to my experiences and have also created a new reality for yourself based on simpler joys. (FYI: “new normal” is gonzo from my vocab due to the cringe factor effect I feel when I hear it now.)

What I know for sure is that whatever this new reality “IS” to you and “MEANS” to you, is completely “UP” to you. There has never been a better time to decide what truly matters in your life, question what values you hold dear, and then create a vision for your future that embraces those values and the people who share them. How you spend your time and who you keep in your orbit – both in your personal and working life, matters more to our overall happiness and personal fulfillment than many of us often realize.

2020 has also showed us how deeply entwined we all are, as we joined forces to flatten the curve of COVID-19. We have learned that the actions of one person (good or bad) can truly make an impact on our lives and others. The way we and those around us show up in the world can either contribute to a positive, healthy environment or contaminate things in a truly negative way. We understand on a global scale that what each of us does affects everyone else in this world. It sounds so simple, right? But, if you really think about it, kindness can spread in the same way as a virus. What if we all became “kindness pollinators” and made a conscious choice to only surround ourselves with those who are committed to spreading the same?

Julio Vincent Gambino wrote two incredible articles about taking advantage of the knowledge we’ve gained through this pandemic experience to enhance our lives and the ones around us. While it’s written from an American perspective, his points can apply globally. In April, he wrote the first part – Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting – and then he followed up in May with part two – The Gaslighting of America has Begun. (Gaslighting is defined as manipulation by someone into doubting your own sanity.)

In part one, Julio says, “I hope you might consider this: What happened is inexplicably incredible. It’s the greatest gift ever unwrapped. Not the deaths, not the virus, but The Great Pause. It is, in a word, profound. Please don’t recoil from the bright light beaming through the window. I know it hurts your eyes. It hurts mine, too. But the curtain is wide open. What the crisis has given us is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see ourselves and our country in the plainest of views. At no other time, ever in our lives, have we gotten the opportunity to see what would happen if the world simply stopped. Here it is… If we want to create a better country and a better world for our kids, and if we want to make sure we are even sustainable as a nation and as a democracy, we have to pay attention to how we feel right now. I cannot speak for you, but I imagine you feel like I do: devastated, depressed and heartbroken.”

We may have panicked a bit at first, but then we took a collective sigh and started spending amazing quality time with our families. We suddenly had all the time in the world to learn something new or revisit something we had not found time for in a long time. But, above all else, we loved, we reconnected, we found joy in simpler pleasures.

In the second part, this paragraph really resonates with me: “Like a good old-fashioned ’90s chain-letter… that “went viral,” a virus spreads with lightning speed. The more connected we are physically or digitally, the faster it spreads. And because the 7.8 billion of us on the planet are now more connected than ever in the history of mankind, we are facing a new reality. Turns out, the future is viral. Virality is our new reality. This doesn’t have to be as terrifying as it sounds. If we can harness virality for the better, we can make life after The Great Pause truly beautiful, productive, collaborative and humane. There is no going back. We can only go forward into this new unchartered land and create the New Normal.”

What do you want to go viral?

Let’s continue reconnecting with ourselves and loved ones in ways we never imagined possible just a few short months ago. Let’s not forget all of the good that came out of a global pandemic. What are you most thankful for in your new life? Let’s not lose touch and get lost in our hustle and the shuffle again. Let’s continue investing in ourselves and each other to make our lives and this world kinder and more magical for all!