Life on Pause
Since being “paused” from my role at a large corporate in the city, and the initial feelings of fear that came with that, I’ve found that overall, life is good, and I’m living it more “in the moment.”
I have never felt so much gratitude for the comfort of my small home, and my sunny yard, or for the presence of my family in it, with me. We’re pulling out activities that have long sat dormant: Jenga, Monopoly, the soccer net, the table-top ping pong set, the electric keyboard. Our huge dog and little kitten are a constant source of joy.
I’m energised by being more frugal and resourceful. With household projects, it’s refreshing to ask first “what have I got on hand that will suffice?” instead of “what must I buy?”. There’s a ribbon tied in a bow around my toilet roll, to remind me not to spin it like The Wheel of Fortune! (Old habits are hard to break). My son is learning to serve himself only as much cereal as he plans to eat!
Things that previously would have felt like poor imitations of the real thing, don’t anymore; remote coffee with my parents, or a wine with friends over Zoom – brilliant! I’m reconnecting with people I haven’t spoken to in too long.
Exercise is a rapturous pleasure, and invigorating in this cooler weather. I give my fellow walkers a wide berth, but now we smile at each other, acknowledging our shared experience.
I’m thanking checkout attendants and really meaning it, smiling at the trolley collectors, letting others pass first, no longer in a rush.
Meals feel more of a ritual, deserving full attention. My son, taking a break from online learning, called me just now to sit outside with him, and we ate waffles, icecream and strawberries in the morning sun.
The balance between human busyness and nature’s flow seems to have shifted around me. Are there more gently rustling leaves, more bird calls, and more scurrying insects, or am I just paying closer attention?
It’s a strange and hopeful thing to see our economic systems, designed always to run at full pace, grapple with the implications of pausing.
It’s exciting to imagine that after all this, humanity will be uniquely open to redesigning these invented systems we’ve inadequately challenged; making them better, fairer, more resilient.
This shared experience, delivered by a virus, could herald a profound value shift for humanity, it could be precisely what we need, at precisely the moment we need it. The pause that reconnects us to the things that really matter.