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The Invaluable Takeaways We’ve Gained From COVID-19

Most could not have anticipated the biggest shutdown of our globe knocking at our doorstep at the first of the year. In a matter of 90 days, thousands of families have coped with illness and loss, while millions of others try to collect themselves after losing their jobs, and an economy saturated with new and long-time businesses sits on the ledge of discomfort, forcing companies everywhere to quickly pivot.

In the midst of the fear and sadness, the downturns and financial strain, it can be hard to find any peace of mind. But through every great loss, obstacle, challenge and dark day many have recently faced, we can come to realize there is also an opportunity to come out more resilient than ever. There’s been no part of the world left untouched or not impacted, and for the first time in so long, the world unites over one common enemy. Through grief and fear felt most everywhere, people from all backgrounds can empathize and relate to one another. It’s times like these that spawn an awakening for new, better beginnings, fresh perspectives and a better grasp at some of the beautiful things we’ve always had in our lives, and will continue to have no matter what.

When we look at how fear began to unfold and manifest throughout the timeline of the coronavirus, we also see that it spawned some of the most rapid advancements in effort to create solutions for a vaccine, and brought awareness to the needs and vulnerabilities of safety equipment for the public and our healthcare workers. Increased demand for technology including thermal maps and new ways to aid our population through AI assisted predictions for preventing future pandemics as well as safer in-store shopping experiences and supply chain management for food and retail sectors are just a few of countless examples of the way medicine and tech will sprint us forward even faster. With the greater significance and regard health will hold in our lives, it is estimated that we will make sanitization and cleanliness greater priorities moving forward, as well as a focus on newer, digital ways to manage our buying habits, while we spend a little less on leisure and travel in the foreseeable future.

The shutdown of business globally has provoked companies to determine the most imperative needs of operation, methods of survival, and ways to innovate, and in many cases, these innovations are becoming a part of future core business models. We’ve measured the great scope of what we can all do from our crafted “office” corners at homes to create and harness ideas to keep businesses on the ground and hold onto livelihoods.

Air quality for the first time in decades has improved as pollution levels in China, Industrial Northern Italy and other parts of the world cease or limit production and usage of resources across multiple industries. We can only hope that we remember this as we return to previous ways of conducting our lives and business, and take a more microscopic approach to where we can truly cut back and shift our needs and priorities with an improved outlook.

From living rooms where entertainment series and sports typically fill a lot of our spare time, many people have ran out of energy to consume every extra moment on entertainment, and turned to traditional ways of enjoying evenings and days off with families. Board games, bikes, and sidewalk chalk are almost as much a part of our daily lives in these months as they were before cellphones were in almost every hand. While families normally only have the chance to spend quality time during Christmas, Thanksgiving, days off or on vacation, many parents and kids are able to be connected in daily routines while coexisting together at home, and the increased volume of virtual connection has allowed us to remember how easy we can still stay connected while far away.

We’ve reset the button on the dinners out and we have a new perspective on the “simple things”. We’ve learned how good (and bad) of cooks we all are, and maybe picked up a few new recipes, workouts from home, or fun routines along the way. We learned new ways to mingle with the friends, families and neighbors who were always there, across virtual meeting platforms, in driveways, and from our cars. We’ll never go out to eat or to a football game or social gathering without remembering the significance that human connection and relationships play in our lives. We’ll never report to our next job or our the current one, without being reminded of how lucky we are to have the ability to provide for ourselves and put food on our tables. In comparison to the generations prior who survived the great depression, plagues and world wars – we’ve always had it great, and we still will, through the bad times.

Above all, one of the most undermined things we can all appreciate (as we always should), is our health. “It is health that is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver” as quoted by Gandhi. For those who aren’t so lucky and have been struck with the virus, or managing the stress of someone close to them who is, we have all been reminded of the fragility of our human existence and can re-awaken thankful for any day we wake up with the greatest blessing of all – to exist in any good and working condition.

We’ve always had the simple things all along, the innovation to spur better advancements, the wealth of our health, the love of our families, the ability to connect to anyone across the globe, and the time to step back and appreciate the invaluable things in life. Some have always seen and appreciated these aspects of our lives, but for many others, it’s a bittersweet reminder of what is there to hold onto.

Catherine Rotman