“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language…And next year’s words await another voice.” ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
What a year 2020 has been! It began with a lot of burning issues – Climate change, extreme weather events, terror attacks, political turmoil; the world seemed mired with several wide-ranging issues, with no real solution in sight.
And then Covid-19 struck!
Almost out of nowhere, this horrendous virus arrived on the scene and began spreading its tentacles across the globe – no continent escaped its murderous grip; no country was left sterile; no race or community was granted immunity.
For the first time in modern history, the entire world came to a grinding halt.
As the virus spread unchecked, skipping borders and claiming lives at will, we began to realise just how interconnected we really are, and just how fragile and easily susceptible the human race is.
We were exposed to a range of new terms this year – lockdown, border restriction, doom scrolling, self-isolation, mutated strains. Everything seemed bleak and hopeless as days turned into weeks, which then turned into long arduous months.
And the worst part is that there is still no end in sight.
Only one thing keeps us all going – Hope… mankind’s unique trait, which brings us back to life every time the human race appears doomed for extinction, like Lazarus rising from the dead.
And it is with this hope that we march ahead into 2021 – to find a vaccine, to bolster our economies, to care for the sick and dying, and to do whatever it takes to survive.
As individuals, we have been given an opportunity during this crisis to question our own value sets and to analyze everything we hold dear.
‘Introspection’ was a term loosely used and seldom practiced by most until the pandemic came along.
Yet in a socially distanced world, this is exactly what most people are currently doing – whether they are aware of it or not, and whether they like it or not!
That we will survive the current crisis is a given…it will happen at some stage in the near future, and we will move on.
But what next?
Will we go back to our old ways? Or do we take this opportunity to reassess the way we conduct ourselves as a society and as human beings?
Whilst we’ve focused only on the negative aspects of the pandemic, and rightly so, I think we should pause and look at the silver lining. Some of the positive effects of the pandemic have been:
- We’ve been compelled to spend time alone in isolation or with the family, and this has been an opportunity to reconnect with our loved ones.
- The world is healing – Pollution levels are down, the animal kingdom is thriving, and Mother Nature has finally got a moment to rest and rejuvenate, spared by the insensitivities of mankind.
- We’ve become aware of the interconnectedness of all things. It’s ‘Avatar’ in real life, with people suddenly realizing that one person’s sneeze can cause someone ten thousand miles away to drop dead.
It’s time to do a reality check. We must take this opportunity to reset our daily habits and our core values. We can no longer claim that we are helpless bystanders and that it’s someone else’s problem.
As we countdown to a year we’d all wish to forget and see it past us, here is a list of things we can set in place, which will help us as individuals in achieving our own personal goals but also help us become better corporate citizens of the world.
I call them the Ten Commandments for a post-pandemic world.
- Be patient – Slow down and enjoy the scenery. Life is not meant to be lived on the fast lane, and certainly not at the breakneck speed we’ve gotten accustomed to.
- Be kind – to your family members, to your neighbors, to the disadvantaged, to the underprivileged, to people who have been affected by the pandemic. Develop empathy for all mankind, which is very much needed in the new world order.
- Be resilient – This pandemic will come to its eventual end, but more challenges will spring up. The world is undergoing calamitous times; we must develop grit and perseverance to survive.
- Be mindful – of everything thing you do. Every step, every action, and every decision we make has the potential to impact, not just us but the world; it’s just the severity and the extent of that impact that differs. Generate less waste, eat frugally, take measured steps, have due consideration for your neighbour.
- Live in the moment – Live today. Travel. Explore. Be creative. Stop hoarding for a shaky and uncertain future; rather, live to the fullest and make today the best day of your life.
- Be grateful – for the smallest of gifts to the biggest of blessings. Every moment henceforth is one to be extremely grateful for. The millions who fell ill or died due to COVID-19 were people just like you and me, yet they succumbed and we live on. That’s something worth remembering and being grateful for.
- Be helpful – Rise up and help out. There will be several people in your sphere of influence who’ve been impacted due to COVID-19; some severely, others not so much. Give your time, your expertise, your listening ear, or your financial support to people who need it.
- Be inclusive – We don’t exist in isolation. If you wish to be a world citizen then start today by thinking in terms of collaborating with everyone. You will realise that there is a lot to be gained in such a synergy. It’s not about giving…All-inclusiveness is about building on each other’s strengths and overcoming our individual limitations. The new world order will be better positioned, if we shed our narrow ‘us versus them’ view and shift to a broader ‘All for One, One for All’ view.
- Be a custodian and a protector – This world has been entrusted to us not so that we abuse its resources and trash it in one lifetime. Let’s vow to act as custodians and preserve the earth for generations to come. The next few decades will be very challenging, especially for the younger generation who’ve been worst affected from a socio-economic perspective. They need our guidance, our support, and our assurance that we will leave the world in a much better place than we inherited it.
- Be at peace – Never before has the nations of the world shifted their focus (or rather, has been compelled to) from waging wars with guns and nuclear missiles to fighting a collective war with a common enemy. The inclination and appetite to go to battle with each other have waned significantly ever since COVID struck. It is time we drop our weapons and work towards a harmonious relationship that transcends borders, religious beliefs, and political ideologies.
The Ten Commandments for a post-pandemic World
- Thou shall be patient
- Thou shall show empathy
- Thou shall build resilience
- Thou shall be mindful
- Thou shall live in the present
- Thou shall express gratitude
- Thou shall help the needy
- Thou shall be inclusive
- Thou shall act as custodians of the earth
- Thou shall live in peace