Like most people, I’m looking forward to putting 2020 behind us.
Reflecting on the year, I noticed many words starting with “r” used to describe the pandemic’s immediate, near- and long-term impacts. Here are the r-words that most resonated with me and why.
- Response and recovery
How healthcare professionals, scientists, leaders, and communities acted to help those affected. How business and educators adapted/adopted technology to enable people to work and learn virtually. People who also helped include manufacturers who revamped their facilities to make sanitizer; volunteers who made masks; mental health experts who made themselves available for counseling; restauranteurs and volunteers who provided food for people on the front lines and those in need. [This list is not exhaustive.]
How people celebrated the heroic efforts of healthcare workers, “essential” front-line workers, food service, and others who continued to serve while at risk themselves.
- Reset, reframe
Coming to grips with the situation and putting it in perspective. Like other major natural and man-made disruptions that significantly change our behaviors and priorities (e.g., earthquakes, fires, epidemics, wars, etc.), COVID-19 is a societal reset that will affect how we live and work.
This is our ability to face adversity, bounce back from it, and learn and grow from the experience. I’m continually amazed how people manage to cope and adapt. Getting through a traumatic situation involves persevering and building on what works and what doesn’t.
- Renew, reimagine
Changes in how we live and work in response to the pandemic created opportunities to re-think how we live and work.
The need to be realistic while trying to be positive also resonated with me as turning the calendar page to a new year doesn’t mean an automatic refresh.
“We are in this for the long haul. Expecting that a single day will come when we are liberated from the stresses and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic will, sadly, be an exercise in frustration. We will likely never go back to the same “normal” in which we operated in January of 2020.” Beth Steinhorn, Redefining Leadership: Finding Balance in Recovery and Renewal
Ready to move forward
It’s too early to predict what the world will look like post-pandemic, except that we are profoundly changed. I’m hopeful that at some point we’ll experience the eventual return of in-person collaborative meetings that co-exist with virtual ones; unrestricted in-person dining; attendance at cultural, entertainment, and sports venues; group celebrations; and handshakes and hugs — especially hugs!
I wish you all a better, safer, and more sane New Year!
[Image credits: Goodbye 2020 by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash. 2021 Stay healthy by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.]