"A crisis can either make us or break us. Let it make us."
We should never forget how this pandemic is making us feel.
Everything is different. This is why.
Like many of us, every year I reflect on the year that was.
I think about:
It’s a time that provokes deep thinking and defines goals for the year ahead.
The list went on.
This crisis forced a reset.
The loss of life and suffering around the world is devastating - incomprehensible. Slap in the face perspective.
From the confines of our home - we have been humbled. We've all been put back in our place to focus on what matters most. Everything else has been stripped back.
The ambitious goals list is no more. The new world disorder has forced a new goal.
A goal not requiring financial investment for it to be realised. A goal not requiring a plane trip to another country, a course or a conference to attend.
A single goal with a simple focus.
New 2020 goal: Just be happy
That’s not to say, goals on lists don’t create happy experiences - it’s just that right here and now - being happy in the simplest of forms, is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the people around us.
It’s a realisation that ultimately our happiness and the happiness we create is what matters most. It forms part of our legacy and it can be sparked in the most simplest of ways.
I’ve rediscovered happiness in:
We can not forget how this situation is making us feel today.
We can not forget who and what we miss. Miss with intensity.
Everything is different.
Over the coming months, as we navigate through this situation and head towards the other side, we must resist the temptation to go back to how we were.
We must force ourselves and each other to remember these days and the way this crisis makes us think and feel right now.
This pain and reflection is our catalyst for long term change. Change for good.
We must embrace this opportunity to forge deeper and more meaningful connections with each other.
It’s our chance to recreate community at a time when ego was dominating and community was crumbling.
This is an opportunity to simplify our complex lives and focus on the basics.
For me, I’ve found my happy and I’m not letting go.
A crisis can either make us or break us.
Let it make us.
How have your goals changed?
What’s your happy?
"Let's just be human - not defined by anything else but the humanity we share."
We’re navigating through unprecedented times.
There’s no playbook to manage what's currently unraveling on planet earth.
The loss of so many lives is devastating.
Whilst we turn to government and medical professionals for direction, the truth is they don’t have the answers - an unsettling and sobering realisation.
COVID-19 has plunged us into a new world disorder and totally transformed everything.
The way we were last week is just a memory - suddenly stripped of our freedom and unable to live the lives we knew.
This is how it needs to be.
This utterly strange way of being has a language - a set of terms we are now intimately familiar with.
- Social distancing
- Self quarantine
- Social isolation
This is our new norm.
Whilst we've been unwillingly thrust into this situation - how we respond and help each other is our choice.
Let's choose to be considerate and think about everyone around us.
If you’re living alone, we want you to know we’re with you.
If you’re bunkered down with your family or friends and you’re anxious about the unfolding events and how they impact the people you love, we stand by you.
We're with you now more than ever. We're with each other now more than ever.
Let’s take a collective deep breath.
Let’s be measured and rational.
Let’s take every precaution possible.
Let's show our love, compassion and kindness for each other.
Let's just be human - not defined by anything else but the humanity we share.
These are the times we show character.
These are the days we stand together stronger.
These are moments that define us.
Banish ego. Let go of our differences, squabbles and frustrations of each other - we now face a real enemy, a real threat.
Let’s move forward together - united.
As we navigate through the coming months this is what we know.
We know there will be challenging days. Each of us will be tested.
We know this is just the beginning.
We also know we’re resilient.
We have heart. We’re fighters.
Let this humbling experience connect us in ways we never imagined.
Let’s look after each other. Let’s be good to each other.
Let’s stand together and do everything we can to get us all through this.
Dark clouds pass.
With love, respect, hope + faith always.
"I was no longer in original trilogy VHS playback mode - stuck in time watching the hopefulness of youth."
Stars Wars - our only hope.
In the late 1970s, I watched Star Wars for the first time. It was unlike anything I had seen.
Luke. Leia. Han. Chewbacca. C3PO. R2D2. Vader.
These screen icons ignited my imagination and followed my generation into our 20s, 30s and now 40s.
The release of the prequels and the latest trilogy kept the story alive introducing a new legion of fans to the Skywalker family.
In 2017, the 8th film in the saga was released - The Last Jedi and the writing was on Rey’s wall.
For the first time, the screen story and my life journey had strangely converged. Seeing Luke as an older man made me realise I was older too.
His death in The Last Jedi unsettled me.
Seeing Luke disappear from his robe prompted more than just cinematic mourning but real life grief.
Why was I grieving?
Stopped by the reflection of my ageing face in the mirror one day, I realised.
I was mourning the passing of time.
I was a fresh faced 7 year old when I watched A New Hope. I was a newly wed when Phantom Menace was released. It was joyful and humbling to watch Force Awakens with my then 8 year old sons.
Life moved forward. I was no longer in original trilogy VHS playback mode - stuck in time watching the hopefulness of youth.
VHS evolved into DVDs.
The internet happened.
DVDs evolved into streaming.
I grew up.
As I got older and prior to any other Star Wars add ons, I always had the comforting presence of the characters I loved not too far away. Our DVD player got a thrashing - Star Wars films on loop.
With Return of the Jedi in 1984, these characters became suspended in time.
As far as we knew, the Empire was gone and the universe was still celebrating.
The characters had become immortalised and frozen - forever youthful.
We’d watch the original trilogy before school, after school and weekends. We would lose ourselves in hours of play and scene re-enactment.
Unforgettable adventures with friends as we played with our Star Wars figures and spacecrafts for hours. Afternoons with the Jones boys up our street. Trading figures + cards. Jostling to see who would play the parts of Darth or Luke.
I’ve seen A New Hope over 200 times, the lines of each character embedded in my mind.
With the release of Force Awakens in 2015 though we saw the older version of the characters we love. The beautifully lived in and lined faces of Luke, Leia and Han.
We had to accept the schismatic emotions that time provokes.
Aroused by the curiosity of what happens next, yet nervously anticipating the unknown and inevitable.
Tomorrow’s release of Rise of Skywalker signals the end of an era.
Confronting to contemplate on many levels. It’s saying goodbye to the old and embracing the new.
When I watch the original trilogy, I’m back to feeling like the kid I was. Watching episodes 4, 5 + 6 makes me feel hopeful, carefree and comforted.
Star Wars has been a close friend. It’s been a companion. A teacher. Escapism. The characters formed my tribe.
Along the way, there have been many valuable life lessons learnt.
The lesson? Enjoy every step of the adventure. Create the adventure. Be the adventure. Have people around you to enjoy it with and be acutely aware that time will pass.
Time - it feels like only yesterday we first entered a galaxy a long time ago far, far away.
A lot happens in 40 years. Looking forward to the next 40 [and beyond].
May the Force be with you - always.