Who’d have thought that the by-product of isolation would be connection …
During our team Zoom meeting last week, we were asked to share one positive and one negative thing (first world problem) we were experiencing during lockdown. As each member of the Kin team shared, it was evident that the negatives weren’t rolling off the tongue as easily as the positives … which were largely around connection and social interaction – such sweet irony.
We heard wonderful stories of creative ways that people had been connecting and staying in touch; street parties at a distance, Friday drinks - where neighbours congregated at the end of their driveways, online ‘watch parties’, group chats with family, craft time, baking together, DIY projects that had been achieved, and most importantly, having the space to simply hang out and connect with the people we share our home with. All this got me thinking. That old phrase ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ seems very relevant today. The lack of actual physical connection we are all experiencing has meant people are going above and beyond in finding new and innovative ways to connect, even with those they may not have normally been connecting with.
There’s no doubt that we are all part of an incredibly unique event in history. Of course, there have been many other events resulting in a global impact: world wars, financial crashes, other illnesses that have swept the globe. But for the first time, something that is affecting the entire world is being experienced together, in real time through the blessing that is the internet (thanks Tim Berners-Lee), and we have witnessed some heart-warming scenes. People singing from balconies in Europe to their neighbourhoods, police entertaining communities with ‘Baby Shark’ blaring from their speakers (though I am not convinced all parents would have been thrilled with that one), the national displays of applause and appreciation for front-line workers, the ‘bear hunt’ that has seen teddy bears placed in windows, and A-list celebs welcoming us into their homes to perform for us. Seeing Chris Martin from Coldplay, streaming live while sitting at his piano, taking requests from people all around the world and interacting on a personal level, including making mistakes and forgetting his own lyrics, was pretty cool, whether you like their music or not.
Closer to home, my girls and I have noticed messages in chalk popping up on the pavement as we walk around our neighbourhood. There is a real sense of community as people we pass offer a knowing wave and friendly word, albeit after they’ve crossed the street. We even seem to be connecting on a deeper level with nature. I’ve noticed more and more posts on social media of people appreciating the beauty of the world around them and, I’m not sure if I’m imagining it, but I am convinced that the Tuis in our Titoki tree are singing a happier song these days. Or is it just that we all have a little more time to be still, take stock and see and hear things with new eyes and ears.
Don’t get me wrong, this event has been utterly devasting to many – entire industries have been shut down, there has been loss of life and livelihood, and there are some aspects of our lives that may have changed forever. Within that though, there have been so many bright lights in the darkness, displays of selfless humanity, positive acts, and simple gestures of kindness that have been utterly inspiring. It has been a time for us to appreciate the simple things; family, food and time together connecting with our special people. This truly devastating virus has inadvertently provided us with a perspective on life that we may not have had the opportunity to otherwise experience. I truly hope that some of these valuable lessons will remain when we get back into the rhythm of life outside our four walls. Arohanui, stay safe x