The world has suddenly gone quieter. Aside from key workers we are all at home. We keep on hearing the challenges and frustrations. I don’t intend to ignore the reality of this painful period with people losing jobs, loved ones, livelihoods going down the drain. But there are many positives coming out of this too, and people for whom this is not so much a struggle, but perhaps had been their ‘normal’ pre-lock down. I want to focus on this.
You’ve heard it all before; busy is the way to be. Everyone is always talking about how busy they are in work, life and play. I think this is the message capitalism has forced down our throats. We need to be producing machines to have things we don’t need, to sink further into loneliness, wearing a mask for social media and numbing the reality of who we really are with this busy busy busy bollocks. Oh and being around lots of people does not prevent us from being lonely.
I have been working remotely for a few years, not to full time hours, so have plenty of time to do things that I really value like eating well, meditating, walking in nature, and managing my day to suit me. These things don’t sound very masculine do they? Not powerful or what successful leadership sounds like? Well they are in my opinion. Being freelance and a remote worker also means that I can work around the demands of my menstrual cycle. If I feel too drained or tired I have that lie down or entire day off (or two) from working. Because I can. Having a good work life balance really matters to me, I probably take it for granted now that it’s been so long.
I don’t have a car, and don’t need to drive to work every day. I use public transport to get to meetings and often choose places to live based on how close they are to all the things I need on foot. I did have a car a few years ago, but most of my life I have been walking for miles, and also take that for granted. It helps to keep me in shape. I have joined gyms and gone to classes during the day when I want to. It’s what flexibility gives me. Yes I’m not going out and about so much now, but lock down life isn’t wildly different to what I was living before. Now I go for solo walks in many nearby green spaces I have access to. I know not everyone is as fortunate as me.
A few years ago a good friend of mine commit suicide and I didn’t manage to reply to the last message she sent to me. Since then I have made a conscious effort to talk to friends and family rather than just sending messages. But a lot of the time people are too busy to talk. So busy. During lock down I have had even more catch ups with friends as now everyone has time to talk. I have many friends dotted about around the world that I value and feel connected with regularly, but since lock down it’s my UK friends that have now had more time for me. For each other.
But it’s not all black and white. This lifestyle makes me happy, is not currently accessible or desired by everyone, is not that easy to maintain, and doesn’t guarantee my security. Society and the capitalist system we live in tells me that I need to get on the property ladder and have more stuff to be safe, happy and successful. I need to earn so much more money as a single woman if I want to continue being independent and self-sufficient in the future. Because in todays’ world money is power.
I would prefer inner peace to be the new success.
People also judge you on what you have and do. Its nice when people ask how you are, how you be, and not just what you do. I think the current crisis we are in has shown the world what a lot of us already knew, that the dominant messages of making money to survive and thrive mean success and happiness is: rubbish. We are all currently trapped in this individualistic system whereby without money we will be left on the street with no food to eat. To die. I don’t need to bang on about the wretched inequality and poverty we have created, you already know it.
This world system that stems from patriarchal ideology is destructive to human and animal life, as well as the planet. It is sneakily eroding our true basic needs, on the surface connecting, but truly separating and controlling us through the digital world and technology. The tools that supposedly free us will tear us down before our very own eyes, unless we can look to our past, our ancestors and indigenous communities for wisdom. We don’t need alll new ideas, the knowledge is already there. We just have to collectively choose to take the red or blue pill…or another.