Positive outcomes are still possible if things don’t go back to ‘normal’ after the pandemic ends – just be willing to shift your perspective.
There has been much speculation about how the coronavirus pandemic – a time of such upheaval – will change the way we live for good.
Many news outlets, commentators and thought leaders have suggested that we won’t return to ‘normal’ post COVID-19 because normal was problematic. It was troubled by a climate change emergency, widespread inequality, and the erosion of human rights.
But perhaps not going back to normal is not such a terrifying idea.
There is no 'normal' only a 'new normal.'
Building a new future could be filled with the opportunity to set the world on a more sustainable and equitable path.
On a more personal and individual level, this life-changing event also offers us the chance to take stock of our lives as we have been living it and consider what we might like to change or improve for the future.
The pandemic may have been a wake-up call for some of us; a catalyst to shift direction. Facing a new future will require shifting our perspective and reframing our mindset but can result in a positive outcome.
Here’s what you can do if things don’t go back to ‘normal’ after the pandemic ends:
Reflect on the year+ past
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot for many of us, have you considered using this moment to reflect on the year past? Have you truly scrutinised and evaluated how you were living and contemplated whether you were satisfied with it?
Perhaps, on reflection, you’ve realised that your lifestyle was too busy – filled with a jam-packed calendar of events and meetings – and that you actually prefer the slower pace now.
Journalling is a great way of reflecting on what truly makes you happy.
Or maybe you’ve typically been anxiety-fuelled, and the pandemic has strangely given you the freedom to let go. When things can change in an instant, you may have realised that all the worrying and concern you once harboured never actually helped you to feel prepared or in control.
Despite this year being unpredictable, it has given us the opportunity to reflect and revaluate what’s important to us. How might this shift your focus for the months and years ahead?
Define what is important to you and reprioritise goals
After taking the time to reflect on your life and the way it was pre-pandemic, have you been able to gain clarity on what is important to you?
While this unprecedented time may have been a wake-up call for some of us or propelled us in a new direction, it has likely forced us, on some level, to get real about what we value most and what we want to prioritise going forward.
Perhaps there were some aspects about your previous life that you enjoyed or that served you well, and you’ve decided you would like to retain that as much as possible.
For example, our previous ease of access to people and places may have been something you truly valued, and the restrictions that have come with lockdowns and social distancing have highlighted how important maintaining relationships and being able to travel are for you.
So you can't travel. Now what? Image: @snowfoto_au at Bells Beach.
While these things may not be readily available to us yet, you have identified that these are areas of your life that are important to you and deserving of your time and energy going forward.
Conversely, some elements of the pandemic may have emphasised what you don’t want for the future and encouraged you to reprioritise your goals.
Maybe you previously desired the ability to work from home full-time, but since enduring it have realised you work better in an environment that allows you to closely collaborate with others and have daily interaction with people.
Whatever it is you’ve been faced with, now is the perfect time to define what is important to you and reprioritise your goals.
Make a plan
Once you’ve done some reflecting and had the chance to define what is important to you and what you want for the future, you can make a plan to get there. Of course, there may still be limitations in this current time, but do the best you can at this point.
Maybe you’re tired of working in a job that no longer fulfils you and you’d like to shift to more of a purpose-driven career. You don’t have to make a snap decision but what plans can you put in place to get there in the near future?
If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at writing, you could maintain your day job while building your freelance writing career on the side.
The best thing about a freelance gig? You can do it anywhere.
Perhaps you’ve identified that you’d like to focus on building your creative network so you can connect with more like-minded innovative types.
Or you might be dreaming about how you can have a gap year experience once travel recommences because learning from other people and cultures is something you value.
Whatever you’ve reflected on and whatever you’ve reprioritised, can you make a plan to get there? And, importantly, can you be flexible in how you achieve it?
This shift in perspective may be just the thing you need to create a life you never thought was possible before now. And that’s a future to be excited about.
Written by Sharon Green for Wanderlust City Projects.
Sharon is a journalist, copywriter and editor who has worked in mainstream media in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is also the founding editor of women's lifestyle publication SHE DEFINED.
Her favourite city in the world is London, which will always have a piece of her heart.
Sharon’s top travel tip is to travel solo – some of her best adventures have come from exploring the world on her own.