The Aftermath

With the global rollout of vaccine many are now focusing on other aspects of the pandemic, namely, the aftermath, because there’s bound to be one.

Confinement to our homes and immediate families tested all relationships and I suspect we’ll see many ‘partings’ for those couples that were borderline committed before Covid. And I hope we’ll see a resurgence of good old family values for those who used this period of confinement to strengthen family ties. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a baby boom? It’s said this is our generations war and the last major war presented a population explosion. These last 18 months people had to find things to occupy their time so I guess a baby boom would be one of the few positive outcomes of the pandemic.

Psychologically it’s had a tremendous impact; some demographics more than others, and all those born during Covid will form a new and unique generation. (and thank God, cause I’m so sick of these millennials!)

Retail as we knew it has changed. Online shopping has become the norm and I’m not sure that’s necessarily a good thing because the little guy can’t compete with online giants like Amazon so our charming ‘Mom & Pop shops’ may be a thing of the past. (this leaves us at the mercy of merchandise that is mass produced) Plus, like many of my ilk, I enjoy the ritual of shopping. It’s an outing, an event, and browsing online just doesn’t do it for me.

Employers have realized which of their employees thrive in the office environment and which can still produce working from home, giving them cause to rethink their bricks and mortar. (I wouldn’t want to be the holder of a lot of commercial property right now…I suspect a lot of office leases will not be renewed)

Construction has boomed and the housing market has taken off everywhere. And travel has changed. Luxury cruises and excursions abroad are still met with hesitancy. People are still nervous and anticipating staying close to home in the foreseeable future so there’s a renewed interest in investing in home. (Yet another perk of Covid)

Certainly society has changed; ‘people’, maybe forever. And that’s a good thing. We’ve witnessed displays of kindness and compassion for our fellow man because when it really mattered we all came together, and society before Covid was seriously lacking these personal acts of consideration.

I suspect we are nowhere near done with this global pandemic, but I’m optimistic that we’ve gotten a handle on it, and I’d like to think we’ve learned from it. Stock markets will rally. Businesses will open or re-open. People will venture out again. Retail will survive, and employees will re-invent themselves for a new business environment. All will be well with the world again but I think the most valuable lesson here is that we learned to value what really matters in our world, the people.

The aftermath of a global crisis doesn’t have to be bad. The sun will rise again, the waters will calm, and a new day will dawn, one with hope and opportunity so let’s use this lesson wisely. Remember what brought us together, kept us strong, and strengthened our resolve….before we slip back into old habits.

Look into my eyes

The eyes really are the window to the soul. I’ve always made it a point to look directly into a persons’ eyes when speaking with them. This has, on occasion, unnerved some but I defend this practice for two reasons. One, making  and holding eye contact ensures you have their attention, and two, looking into someone’s eyes is the only way to really ‘see’ the person, in all sincerity.

People often put on a façade; a ‘game face’, if you will, to accommodate the audience or situation, ie, they try to project the image expected of them in the moment. This is often to camouflage their own vulnerability; hide their pain or sorrow or grief. Most people are uncomfortable revealing their emotions too readily because it potentially exposes what they perceive as weakness within themselves.  (The whole, ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘learn how to hide your feelings’, rules)

Letting ourselves feel and express every emotion, happy or sad, is one of the gifts that comes with being human. How often have you asked someone how they are, and gotten a half – hearted response; ‘fine’? You know from the answer, they are not fine at all. Take it a step further.  Look them in the eye when you next ask and you may be surprised to get an honest answer. You may also get appreciation for expressing sincere interest cause let’s be honest here, most of us ask about another out of habit and usually don’t care what the answer is. Looking directly at a person when posing a question forces honesty. They can’t look you in the eye and lie, not without squirming and giving themselves away – the soul doesn’t lie, and the eyes are the window to the soul.

I’d like to think that if we all took the time to genuinely look at another we’d change our behaviours in a positive way. If you look into the eyes of the obnoxious sales clerk, you might see that they’re nervous on the job, possibly insecure about approaching you. Wouldn’t that temper your reaction to them?

If the abuser looked deeply into the eyes of their victim, be it a child, spouse, dog, etc, would they still strike them? I believe they would see fear, pain or disappointment, maybe they’d even see the reflection of themselves in those eyes – would it cause them to pause, reflect on their actions? Not making eye contact makes the victim anonymous giving the abuser a guilt free conscience. Staring right at them is like forcing a mirror into their face and odds are they won’t like what they see.

If you look into the eyes of the coworker who’s testy or moody, maybe you’d see fatigue, or sadness (never presume to know what goes on in the life of another) Maybe they are unwell, or are having problems with a child, spouse, parent, finances. Maybe they’re unhappy with their job. Looking directly into their eyes when you ask tells them the question isn’t just lip service; you really sincerely care how they are, and while it’s not an invitation to get their life story, it does resonate in their minds that we live in a caring society.

It has been my experience that looking directly into someone’s eyes invites trust. Granted, it’s also made me the confidant of many, and sometimes the burden of hearing another’s story takes an emotional toll but I wouldn’t change my strategy because looking deeply into the eyes of another opens the window to my own soul letting them know we are all weak and vulnerable and loving and caring, and very humanly beautiful.

Here’s to looking at you, kid!  (ok, shameless pilfering from the classic, ‘Casablanca’, but I had to do it)