Una's Blog

24
Apr

Una’s little world 28. Slow down to the speed of sanity

by Una Hearne.

And so the world went quiet. We heard the birds again. We noticed nature again. The air was clean. The people came out for walks. There was an explosion of creativity and kindness. People pulled together. Suddenly we had time to think. We discovered how little shopping we actually need to do. Irish people discovered that life continues even when every pub is shut. Who knew?

And who knew a frantic pace of life isn’t necessary?

(I am acutely aware that this does not include the people on the frontline, busier than ever – some under extraordinary pressure. My hope is ‘we’ make sure they also benefit in the long run.)

It really hit home to me just how crazy the pace of life had become when I relapsed with M.E. and ground to a halt – while the world ran on without me. When human beings are running at full tilt with no time to stop and think – our thinking and behaviour becomes insane.

Consider how insane it is to think any of the following:

  • It’s completely normal to commute 4 or 5 hours a day on top of working 8 to 10 hours.
  • I don’t have time to eat breakfast (or lunch / dinner).
  • If I stop running/ worrying/ working – everything will fall apart!
  • I keep over-committing and letting people down. I feel anxious all the time and I never get everything done.
  • It’s OK to bring work home regularly or be on call when not being paid.
  • It’s normal not to sleep properly and to be exhausted all the time.

If you think any of these are sane thoughts, I invite you to have a little talk with yourself about that.

I’ll wait…

We back? Excellent. I wonder if there is a link between this kind of thinking, the pace of our lives and our increasing ill-health as a society? Hmmmm

People are now asking – of the good things they have discovered in lockdown – ‘Can we bring back this to normality?” ‘Can ‘we’ bring this community spirit, kindness and creativity when we return?’ (The collective ‘we’ all too often means ‘everybody else’) ‘Will society change for the better?’ ‘I hope this lasts after the virus.’ As if it were up to other people to make it happen. As if each of us is at the mercy of what ‘everybody’ else does or doesn’t do.

Here’s the thing, the only thing that has ever, or will ever, change culture and society is individual people choosing to do different. If enough individuals do different then ‘we’ have changed society.

The question is not how should society change, or what ‘everybody’ should do different. The question is personal. What are you going to do different after Covid? Will you travel less? Work from home? Shop less? Play more? Find new ways to connect with others? What policies will you vote for?

What have you discovered really matters to you?

Finally, just a thought, if 50% of people working in cities worked remotely, we could spread out across the land. Live in villages and towns. Make homes affordable and spacious. Halve the commuting travel and pollution. Spend more time with loved ones. Thin out the density in cities which makes them so infection friendly… just saying…

 

 

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