As we say goodbye to the year that was and enter the “new normal” it may be a time to take a deep breath and assess the changes that have occurred. Look at how we can embrace beginnings and old endings and what they can teach us. There is much to learn from the experiences of last year as we enter summer. The idea of taking those lessons and applying them to a new understanding of what is truly important seems especially timely.
We all know how the way we work has changed (hello Zoom), the way we teach our children (who knew you could teach in your sweatpants?) and the way we shop (Amazon is my BFF), but how about our acceptance of these new modalities. Did anyone guess that not only could we survive these changes, but actually find there are better ways to work, teach and shop?
How about our families? While there were many challenges, we found an appreciation for the gatherings, events and milestones that families universally participate in. So even though Uncle Walter is annoying with his terrible knock- knock jokes, we actually missed his corniness. Families can view Netflix so all members can watch the same movie in real time, all while eating popcorn and providing running commentary.
Early studies are showing that the “old way” of doing things has spurred a generation of users no longer relegated to being labeled too old to learn something new. PayPal and Chase have reported that its fastest growing user group is people over 50. The myth that you can’t teach old dogs new tricks is being shattered as older Americans are becoming more savvy using technology. Plus, the working from home model is showing more jobs are non-location specific, which bodes well for young and old adults alike.
The mantra of “I just want to go back to the way it was” may be a reflection of our old lives, our old way of thinking and behaving, but we should replace it with “this is a new beginning”. New beginnings are joyful, painful, exciting and uncertain all rolled into one but they are great opportunities for change. We don’t know what the future brings, but if the past year has taught us anything it is that we are resilient and adaptable when forced to change. Soon, Uncle Walter will be welcomed back to our family dinner table where he will soon tell us about the new book we should read called Mathematics Made Easy by Cal Q. Lator.