Reinvent Yourself After COVID

Would you say that last year was lost? Or was it a good year? Was it longer than usual? Or it looks like few days of the same routine in repeat mode? Would you change something now, if it would be March 2020 again? Will you change something in March of 2021?

When I was 16 years old, after 2nd year of high school, I made my first attempt to start studying at Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade. I passed the first round of the entrance exam. In the second round, it was clear I’m not ready yet. And one of the professors said to me in a very polite way: wait a bit, you are too young. When we are young, we don’t like to hear that we are too young. We want to be older. So, next year I tried again and I entered a drama and scriptwriting course, one year before my high school graduation. I stole one year. From someone. Or something. Or myself? I would never do it again, but that’s because I’m 41 now and I would like to be 17 again. The topic for another blog post.

Now, when we are approaching a full year since the global pandemic started and we are more or less locked and restricted across the world, it looks like we lost a year. We lost it because we were not able to live it in the way we would like to live it. We were not able to fulfill our goals. To stick to our plans. To do all those meaningful things that we would do during one year. And how it looks like at the moment, we might lose one more. Or even two more. I was thinking – OK, I saved one from my high school, I can afford to lose one. Typical thinking of a sick person. Sick of desire to achieve and to fulfill their life with accomplished goals. A disease I’m trying to cure much longer than COVID will stay on this planet.

Of course, I understand that many of you did your best not to lose a year in a professional sense. I will not comment now on a wedding or vacation plans. First of all – not all businesses were suffering. Some were blossoming. Also, not all of us had plans. Some people spend their whole lives without any plan or ambition. They work or not, eat, watch TV. Repeat. Their normal life plus face covering is their COVID life. But they are not reading this or any other blog. For ambitious people (like I am, but trying not to be) this was a proper nightmare. A new start-up was about to be launched, a new restaurant just had pre-opening, new service ready for customers, a new show about to kick off the tour… So many exciting things were put on hold. Some of them never to come back.

Facing the new reality of being locked or having very limited options to move, socialize and do business live, many of us switched to self-improvement mode. Online courses, new foreign languages, uplift of our communications skills, storytelling, Excel, maybe even some coding or design? But mostly with the idea that this will last for a couple of more months and that newly acquired skills will help us to be even better in our jobs when we continue full power forward.

I guess we have a different perception of time when everything is fine and when we are healthy, and now when the whole world is sick. We have a different perception of time and the importance of various things in our lives when we are sick. But most of us change nothing after we get better. In the best case, we stop smoking (if we had a heart attack) and change some nutrition habits. Maybe we start running? And drinking more water?

Maybe time became less relevant in the last 12 months? We were locked for months, we might be locked again. But it also became very clear that human life became quite long. We are aware of that statistically, but unfortunately, we became aware of it in a very ugly and disturbing way by the number of people older than 80 years who got COVID and died. If they are not our grandparents or parents, we hardly notice very old people. They live in most cases fairly isolated lives.

Isn’t this a good moment for the biggest transition of your lives? Time is fairly irrelevant now. Quite a normal conclusion when we are exposed to a huge number of deaths all around us. It’s also clear that the world will not be the same place. Many people at the moment do not suffer financially at all because their jobs are safe and they even have a surplus in their budgets due to lower spending. But this might change five or ten years from now, due to major changes that the pandemic is causing. Some people have already lost a lot.

What do you say, that instead of using all your energy to put your old professional life back together, you get a new one? What do you say that instead of self-improving and online courses you start a new university degree and a totally new career? If we are going to live 80 or 90 why not having two careers? If we are going to die in the pandemic much younger, isn’t it better to spend the last days learning something new and exciting?

It’s clear, we don’t have enough doctors. It’s not an easy road, but how many of you dreamt of becoming a medical doctor before life took you to a different path? Science. Science must regain its place in our lives. Not just to boost commercial innovation. But to boost sanity and trust. Or we will not survive. Can you help to spread the word of science after investing 10 or more years of your life into it? You can still reach high levels before age of 50 or 60. If that age number is important at all. We used to listen about 50s being new 20s when it comes to body shape, lifestyle, or party times. Can we use it for something better now? Art. Many people love art. But even more, people were not aware of it before art disappeared from our lives. Yes, online we were able to visit Louvre or listen to amazing online concerts during lockdowns. But are we really happy with that? Or we would like to see it and feel it live?

Now, when the time is even more relative than ever before, and when, for many of us, it’s cheaper than ever before, are we ready for the biggest transition of our lives? Let’s investigate this further in the Season 2 of the Great Pandemic.

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