The life of a ‘millennial’ in the twenty first century leads you to believe that the fast paced, go-getter lifestyle is the only one that means success. That unless you’re hot and sweaty from running to and from business meetings in your uncomfortable court shoes, you’re on and off the tube like it’s your second home or your version of down time is doing the downward dog in a yoga studio where you’ll leave casually strolling in your Lulu Lemons and popping in to get a take away latte with your IRL friends and chat about how busy you are and how you need a holiday that you can only but dream of because rental prices are so extreme, that you simply aren’t doing it right. We are bred to believe that unless you are on the go all the time you are not achieving anything. Everything these days is ‘on the go’ from our ‘on the go’ food storage, our easy transitions from work bag to gym bag, our easy to read portable electronic books – what happened to sitting down and enjoying your lunch? Does anyone dare to cook their lunch anymore or does the idea of a hot freshly cooked midday meal send shock waves down us all with the phrase ‘but who has time for that?!’
Coronavirus came, it forced us to stop; those who wanted to, those who didn’t want to and those who have been crying out for the opportunity to be able to stop and finally got it. A global pandemic was happening but that felt very much behind the scenes; what was happening to us all first hand was the freeze on our lifestyles, the inability to do what we want, when we want and as much as we want. We were forced to find fun, make fun and enjoy life for the smaller pleasures. No longer were we able to run around and feel glory from the stress of office jobs, feel that our day was perfectly busy because we still had phone battery by the end of it. We were forced to stop and to see what life really is about and to stop masking it by running around and playing city.
Granted my life is a little different, always has been and I can only hope always will be. I’m calm by nature, commonly referred to as so laid back I’m horizontal. I don’t yearn for this frantic lifestyle and to be quite honest, lockdown suited me just fine. I’ve always enjoyed small things about life, those that truly matter to be and I couldn’t be happy without – growing up on a working farm taught me to find these joys amongst the landscape I had. Watching my flowers grow, the birds basking in their bath and the sun rising and setting every day, no matter the global crisis. Lockdown didn’t teach me to slow down, I was already about as slow as I can get. Lockdown taught me to care.
The similarities in the lives I describe, the one that is had and favoured by many in the city and the one I lead living slowly in the country, are that time passes by. You’re either too busy to see it or too encapsulated to look bigger. The world is changing, has changed and it was finally a time where you could not hide from it. There was no option to go out for drinks instead of sit down and consider your route, no option to stare at the beauty in the nature and not take a deeper look into the trouble hidden in it all. There was a global pandemic, a humanitarian crisis and an environmental disaster happening and the sad thing is it’s been happening this whole time, we were all just too busy or too laid back to see it.
There’s no longer an option to consider that things will just have to be because the timeline of change is so vastly approaching that regret is just around the corner. We cannot wish we did, we must do; and that is exactly what lockdown taught me. If you watch the videos of black suffering, see clips of crying out mothers who’ve lost their children or scroll through photos of burning animals and helpless orang-utans grabbing on to the last tree and wince or look away, that is where change comes from. That feeling whether it’s slight or overwhelming is care; and change comes from those who care. Every time you see something like this, ask yourself – if you knew you were assisting the problem, would you still do it? Then educate yourself on why the answer is no but the reality is yes. Because you’re not the police officer doesn’t mean you’re not part of the problem, because you’re not the corporation paying under minimum wage, the farmers cutting the forest, the hunter or the gunman. The people doing are being paid to do, and if you’re paying them to do by one way or another then you’re part of the problem. It seems so small and insignificant but every purchase from the fast fashion chain or share of the article from an anti BLM establishment feeds the issue. You most probably don’t mean to do it but education is key; know you’re doing it and you too will change.