One more thing

by Valerie Delaney, Principal, Learning + Development

I hope this finds you well and happy enough – in the circumstances.

I am uneasy. Seems as though I am just settling into to social distancing and my little one-family bubble, when lots of jurisdictions around the world are outlining plans and timelines to “get back to normal”. Did I miss something? We’ve got this pandemic thing all figured out?

No, I didn’t miss anything, but the pressures to open economies and get people back to work are unstoppable. Only time will tell what approaches were most successful – and, from what perspective?  Well, that remains to be seen, but likely from the perspective of economic recovery measured in terms of jobs, spending and stock exchange indices.

There certainly are groups demanding any recovery plan be one that supports a greener, more equitable economy, but that will take tremendous citizen engagement and political leadership. And, people are tired and tired of being afraid. Do we have the energy to demand and support a better normal?

Maybe, we start at the level of self and take it from there. I’ve been asking myself what’s been good about our current situation, and there are quite a few things. Richard has been home since the middle of March – the longest time spent at home with Rosie and me since I can’t remember when. Even though we’ve been busy, we been together and that has been great. I’ve had time to reflect and write and have enjoyed doing so. Everything isn’t perfect – far from it – but there have been some positives.

Jessica asked our staff recently what they want to stick with daily, once we return to normal. It’s an important question, and the team contributed great ideas: curate news, invest in self, find little bits of joy, practise gratitude, create ritual, plan meals, and learn (Calculus? We are a brainy group, what can I say?)

I remember after 9/11, people said they would never forget to hug their loved ones, say good bye heading out the door, be grateful for each day. We all did that for awhile. Life then sneaks back in, and old habits re-surface. People get busy. Work drives us. Squeezing every minute out of every day to be productive doesn’t leave much time for relationships, reflection or relaxation.

This reminds me of a Sarah Groves song I absolutely love. It’s called “Just one more thing” – as in, one more request, one more task, one more place to go, be there in a minute. And, then the kids are all grown.  Everything is important; everything is not. You get the idea. So, I’m asking myself what’s the something better I want to keep after – whenever – things return to normal.

I want to remain connected in the way I have connected during this crisis. That’s my thing – collecting and maintaining relationships. It takes energy and time, and I have both now. I want to keep it up, and since I need structure, I have MADE A PLAN!  It’s called my Connections Chart where I’ve listed people with whom I need to connect – personally and professionally. Bit of a throwback to my teaching days when I made a schedule for reaching out to individual parents with good news, as opposed to getting in touch with bad news. Nothing like an excel spreadsheet to keep me honest about my calls and emails!

So, when the new normal arrives – when our face-to-face public engagements start up again and our in-person training schedule ramps up –  I hope I can stand up to the world sometimes and tell that “one more thing” to take a hike because I have people to call!  I hope you can, too.

Sarah Groves – “Just one more thing”: