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Is the world we left behind the world we want to return to?

Is the world we left behind the world we want to return to?

While gyms and offices stand empty and quiet, parks fill with runners once tied to treadmills, and our soft sofas have replaced our swivel chairs. Street libraries have become food banks – filled with tins of soup and hand sanitiser – and teenagers are delivering groceries to elderly neighbours. From homes-turned offices, teddy bears sit in windows spreading happiness, and socially-distant smiles are exchanged with strangers. 

In a world turned upside down by an event that nobody saw coming, the fabric of our existence is being aired out and examined. And it’s not greed or anger coming to the fore, it’s kindness and consideration.

Every email ends with a wish to stay safe, messages of hope are scrawled on empty pavements in colourful chalk, and away from the spaces that we used to race between, we’re learning to slow down. We’re taking the time to focus on the way we’re eating, the way we’re raising our children, the ways we’re using our spaces and filling our days. We’ve never been more curious. This time out from the day-to-day is giving us the chance to reshape the way we live: to create lives which reflect our values. And as we re-evaluate the way we live, and connect (albeit virtually) with people who are doing the same, it’s hard to believe that after this time of reflection, we’ll be able to go back to life as it was before. The capacity for kindness has been revealed, and the importance of community and connections has been made apparent; it’s up to us to use the lessons we’re learning as we step back outside.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, and building a world that’s guided by kindness and compassion is a mighty feat, but this pause is giving us the chance to prepare as best we can. 

It’s about using what we’ve learnt in this time to help guide our decisions moving forward: what lights us up, what inspires us, what changes can we make to ensure our impact on the world is as positive as possible?

There’s a strange sense of freedom in the limitations placed on our existence, perhaps because suddenly the accepted narrative doesn’t have to define the way we live. The rulebook has been torn up, and now we have the opportunity to write our own script: to question the conceived wisdom and look for another way. We don’t know what the future will hold, but we’re hopeful, and in a way, it’s up to us. 

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