I grew up in a busy household being the second youngest with 5 siblings ranging from 9 years older than me, to 8 years younger. I am not sure how my parents coped but there were many days when the din of family life, often exacerbated by the inclusion of other kids from the neighbourhood, reached such a crescendo that they would have to intervene.
Quite often there were games of rugby happening in the house, teenagers tuning cars on the front lawn, piles of washing to put out and the inevitable burst of crying as someone was wrested to the ground and pummelled.
At its height we would hear the inevitable phrase “OK THAT’S ENOUGH, EVERYONE GO AND FIND SOMETHING QUIET TO DO”. The neighbour’s kids would shuffle off sheepishly while we would retire to a corner of the house or yard to wait out the expected wind down period.
Contemplating life in this current environment I have that same strange feeling that I had all those years ago. Its as if the earth has yelled at us to go and find something quiet to do while it clears its head and takes a breather.
I know, that what we humans hold onto as being important is not only completely at odds with the messages from nature (who can provide for all our primary needs) but also our inherent needs that make us communal beings craving kinship, acceptance and love.
Staying at home completing our work to quality and outcome levels (not time in the office expectations) has the ability to level the playing field for many. We don’t have to travel for hours each day or compete with others in the office for the latest clothes or look.
Together we have changed our focus to now only having a small window into the work world, metaphorically and physically provided by our 15 to 17”screens via the internet, while behind us there is a much bigger picture that encompasses our home, family and sense of security.
We may all realise that most of us can get more done working from home, and that the billions we are spending on roads may be better used to (RE)create a world class internet with unlimited bandwith for all, and build bigger parks as part of our new developments and bike paths to get us to the (hopefully fully stocked) grocery store, with integrated childcare and old age facilities at the centre of our communities.
We may start to realise that what we have is indeed enough.
When I escaped the corporate treadmill in 2007 to work for myself, my drive for a better company car, pay rise and corner office started to slowly fade as I soon realised that my desires were disproportionately driven by what colleagues in my work environment had and what I perceived that I needed.
I am hoping this change is starting to permeate everyone’s psyche. I am strangely optimistic that we will all come out the other side wiser and more aware of our fragility as part of a greater ecosystem.
My hope is that we take the time to LISTEN to this important message, that we are smart enough to admit there is a better way and brave enough to take action.