2020 has brought the human race a multitude of gifts, and by gifts I mean disastrously-traumatizing-history-altering events. Society is being metaphorically railed right now and there is not much we can do about it except scream into the void and binge "Breaking Bad" on Netflix.
Since the CDC released its social distancing regulations, Washington state has pretty much gone into a total lockdown. I never realized exactly how much time I spent pre-rona engaging in nonessential activities until I was forced to begin having staring contests with my dog for entertainment.
However, amid the chaos and tragedy there is a silver lining. Personally, I have never been one to be particularly fond of the way our species has evolved into robotic technology-dependent internet fiends, but there is one aspect of telecommunication that we somehow got right. And it is, dare I say, one of the most extraordinary inventions since that of sliced bread: FaceTime.
Much like the vast majority of people, FaceTiming, Zooming and Snapchat video chatting with my friends and family has pretty much embedded itself into my daily routine. It may seem trivial, but all those 1 a.m. calls and hourlong conversations have become our biggest source of hope — it reminds us of what is waiting for us when this is all over. It has also, among other things, enticed me to think about the importance of human connection.
True isolation is probably the most difficult task our modernity has experienced in the 21st century. Our generation is defined by speed; the market is booming, job growth is skyrocketing, we are designing and manufacturing tech at the speed of light and intellectual competition is at an all time high. The growth of STEM and rise of business moguls have rocked the way success in nature is explained- being the best of the best is a goal for many and we won’t stop at anything to attain that status.
Our advancements are outer worldly — but it is also our vice.
Through the world's constant search for greatness and success we have left one essential aspect of humanity behind, and that is real emotion and honest communication.
It is easy to complain about the drags of isolation, but it is perhaps the most wonderful thing that has happened to humanity. It humbles us, slows us down.
Suddenly being ripped away from what makes us comfortable, our work environment, friends, productive space and routines indubitably sucks. But it also forces us to realize the ever-present transience of time.
For decades we have been conditioned to believe that time is money, and all clichés are clichés because there is some sort of truth behind it. But it’s not too late, and now more important than ever, to redefine productivity. We can spend all our lives busy with work, chasing success and focusing on the negatives, but we will never get that time back.
The saddest thing of all is that it took a global pandemic for us to realize that time and experiences are never guaranteed.
We are all out of our comfort zones right now, and that is OK.
This discomfort and being in isolation has brought the community together in ways that I have never seen before. People are making and donating masks for hospitals, celebrity foundations are focusing profits toward a greater cause, big corporations are working in the interest of the people by donating to front-line workers and our local Dutch Bros is even giving all proceeds from the month of April toward first responders.
Since lockdown, swans and dolphins have returned to the canals in Venice, fossil fuel consumption and pollution has vastly decreased in China, community spirit has increased with videos capturing those in Italy singing along to pass the time, families are finally coming together and people have turned to the arts such as creating and television.
No amount of money and growth could have prepared us for the tragedy that would hit the world. And when all the wealth, fame and growth finally stopped, the arts and compassion were there for us.
The effects are being felt worldwide as an age focused on STEM is finally able to understand that science and money alone cannot make the world go round; it needs creators, artists and as corny as it sounds, love too.
Quarantining has clearly lead me to ponder the purpose of the human race quite a bit, but this has helped me realize how important it is to not take life and my relationships for granted, and I am so excited to exit isolation with all the love I have found and be truly grateful for the Earth and all its inhabitants.
I hope you are too.