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I've learned a lot about COVID lately. Even more about humanity.

Originally Published on April 9, 2020

Sixty days ago none of us fathomed that 2020’s most uttered words would include COVID, “flatten the curve” and “social distancing”.

We didn't imagine we'd stop going to work and school... that the Prime Minister would tell us we can't call past a mate's house.

A society that has always paid a premium to avoid any inconvenience is suddenly living with a lot of it. It almost seems an affront that in a world where we can predict and control so much, we just didn’t predict this.

Many are comparing COVID to stories of WW2 with curfews and rations. Or reminiscent of 911 as we waited obsessively for news feeds, saw constant pictures of human suffering, avoided flying and cancelled public gatherings. But as much as we have cursed the cruise ships, and tut-tutted the toilet paper hoarders, there is one major difference about this crisis.

There’s not really anyone to blame. Not countries or religions. Not political parties or gender or sexual orientation like we did in the AIDS crisis. There is no live feed of a terrorist being taken down by troops to tell us it is over. We are not split into sufferers and sympathisers like we are in cyclones and Tsunamis.

We really are all in this together.

Our armies are now our doctors and there is no one else to war against. It’s as disorientating as it is comforting. It has got to be one of the most important human tests of collaboration we’ve ever faced. People will need each other more than ever as the social isolation, health, and financial stressors add up, of that there is no doubt.

But here’s what I’ve also been reminded of lately.

  1. What we all have in common is more important than anything that divides us.

  2. Even before there were restrictions on being able to travel and socialise, we had become the loneliest generation of our time. Maybe it is time to go back to our ‘tribes’ and find new ways to reconnect.

  3. When the world is locked down, the quality and not the quantity of our relationships is what matters.

  4. Priorities. Turns out that getting the golf game or a hair appt every 4 weeks is actually not on Maslow’s needs hierarchy.

Our rapid need to adapt will fast track disruption, and find new solutions like never before.

For me - in all of the turmoil of COVID I’ve seen some incredible, inspiring leadership. I’ve seen humbling community kindness. I’ve overcome a compulsion to wring the crap out of every second of the day, and cram in social engagements . I’ve walked the dog for a work break, and played cards. I’ve watched Pay It Forward and Dirty Dancing with the kids.

I’ve missed people I didn’t know I’d miss.

I’ve had video conversations with colleagues I’m not sure I’ve been present enough for before. I’ve quit ridiculous sub conscious rules like not wearing the same clothes two days in a row. I even ate an Easter Bunny before breakfast, which is not ideal because it is not yet Easter and the bunny actually didn’t belong to me.

I am not sure when this will all end, but I will be stronger for it. I think we all will be. Let’s not talk one day about how COVID set us back.

Let’s talk instead about the important ways it changed us.

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