These are unprecedented times. We are coming together as a society, as a global community.
There is consciousness as to how our actions can have devastating effects on those more vulnerable. Loneliness is getting attention. Those doing jobs that keep our communities functioning healthily have become visible.
Maybe once we’re through this we will realise some seeds for happiness were planted.
There is need for caution, but not panic. These measures (banned events, closed schools, self-isolating) are to safeguard the most vulnerable. Most will experience mild symptoms, but if we are not individuals and collectively cautious we put those most vulnerable at risk.
There is need for physical distancing, not social distancing. Our relationships are a more important contributor to our happiness than any other factor. There are severe psychological consequences to social isolation. We have to find different ways to connect with one another. Perhaps we can take this opportunity to connect more. Some may struggle to do this. Offer help. Request support. Be open to others requests. Share what we can.
Some can work from home and self-isolate more easily than others. Different jobs, different risks. Some people have vital roles – healthcare workers, delivery drivers, those working in the food supply chain. They always were vital but that’s easier to see now. Respect. And as businesses close what will happen to people’s jobs? We need to support one another. No-one’s to blame. We need a decent social program – and that will inevitably happen. At last.
What of tomorrow?
Tomorrow it is International Day of Happiness. I wonder what the mood will be? I had been hoping to celebrate…
Exactly one year ago I had finally reached Bhutan on a bicycle after a long journey for happiness and I’ve been writing a book about that journey. I had a meeting arranged with a publisher tomorrow. Maybe I’d have had some happy news to announce. But we cancelled the meeting. Things are uncertain. Things can wait. There are more important concerns. I can do my best for happiness indoors writing, looking after animals, and reaching out to people on Skype. Anyone need a chat?
I heard that carbon monoxide levels have reduced by 50% in New York. That’s something. We are being asked to slow down. Maybe some much needed radical shifts in how we live will have a chance to embed themselves.