2021 is here. At long last. I know many people have been waiting for 2021 to kick 2020 out, while wearing a t-shirt with ‘Back to normal!’ written in screaming letters on the front. And on the back, just to be sure. The arrival of the vaccine might save us from this collective hostage-ness. It might get us back to normal life. As if 2021 is the magic switch that will make everything resolve itself. So that life can go on where we seemingly left it in march 2020.
However, nothing just ‘happens’. If we would just sit back in our chairs, waiting for the world to build itself up again, we could sit there for a damn long time.
So even though 2021 feels like a relieve, we will still have to work for it. The door of freedom will open to a particular rigid path. I doubt we can walk that path back to what life was like in 2019 though. The world is forever changed. We are forever changed. And I’m not sure we should want everything to back to normal. Because our normal, did not work at all.
We learnt that our society is completely depended on low-end workers with an equal low-end salary. We learnt that the people who have chosen a care profession, whether it be in hospitals, elderly homes or elsewhere, are overworked and massively underpaid. But most of all, taken for granted. We learnt that these people are mostly women.
We learnt the importance of local production and consumption of both food, goods and services. We learnt that people can be incredibly creative in finding ways of providing those things, of earning money in non-conventional ways. We also learnt that those people are completely at the mercy of the government, who has the power to forbid certain businesses and activities, making their creators powerless.
We learnt that the same government does not have a fair money management or distribution. We learnt that our society is extremely fragile and that the foundations of it, have no power at all. We finally learnt that many professions do not require you to go to an office, but can be done from home. Or from anywhere world for that matter.
We learnt that people can still do their job, without their bosses looking over their shoulder. Maybe we have finally unlocked the secret to revive the little villages that have been slowly bleeding inhabitants for a while now. An answer that people have been talking about for so long.
But we also learnt, especially parents with young children, that it indeed takes a village to raise a child. We were never meant to do everything ourselves. We learnt the importance of tourism, of going outside and take in new experiences, broaden our spectrum, press the reset button in our mind and get inspired. We learnt we need that. But we also learnt about our own countries and the true natural treasures it has.
The final exam of all these lessons does not lie in December 2021. I believe we have a much longer way to go. But I hope you can see the power in all of this. The amazing potential for change. We can create another way of living. We can create a resilient society. Something that I believe starts with resilient communities. Close clusters that are not dependent on some multinational from the other side of the world.
Albeit, if there is one thing that we all have to get back to, it is hugs. And handshakes. And kisses. I miss the carelessness of human contact. The spontaneity of it, the warmth, the love that it expresses. We have learnt that human contact, physical contact and mental closeness is essential to us. 2021 might feel like a new beginning, until it doesn’t. Until we pick ourselves up and make it happen anyway. I wish you a good ride.
Text: Ellen Wild