Rejecting the Rat Race

The year 2020 will likely go down in history as the great reset.

This has come at a high cost for many people. However, another side to this coin is people realizing the joys of a slower paced lifestyle. There are newfound benefits to working from home like reduced emissions and absorbing your non-existent commute time for your own use. The pleasure of home cooking is making a resurgence. Parents are forging new relationships with their children in ways that likely wouldn’t have happened in the time before COVID-19. 

Families who have relied on schedules, schools, after care, practices, clubs, meetings, tutoring and so much more have found their lives upended. Our safety net of schooling has allowed parents to work outside the home as they choose, knowing experienced and trained teachers are guiding their child’s young mind. Adults without children are faced with different kinds of losses, the structure outside of work routines were upended.

Now even more is being asked of us. Our days have become fuller but quite possibly richer. Maybe losing normal is not all bad? The busy-ness of life is like running on a hamster wheel. We don’t notice we are on it until it stops. What is possible when we sit quietly and assess our lives? Profound changes have room to sprout and grow as we take control of how we want to move forward.

As life as we know it pauses, you may have the chance to taste boredom, a concept we never previously thought of as a luxury. But boredom can be an antidote to anxiety, which has been biting at our heels for the last decade. Freedom from FOMO and busy schedules allows us to start dictating our days with fewer options. Reading books, virtual connections with friends and family, neighborhood walks, gardening or simply doing nothing are becoming new habits. 

As Americans we love upgrades, bonuses, schedules, activities and, of course, winning. The high art of keeping our children busy through entertainment, training, clubs, classes, teams have allowed us to feel like we are improving our children’s chances for future success. But at what cost? Giving children some downtime from the rat race seems novel but necessary in this fast-paced, high-pressure world. This may be the time as parents to focus on social and emotional intelligence as a counterpoint to academic achievement. For our future requires compassion and the ability to authentically connect with others.

This newfound time and space to be at home may reshape priorities worldwide. I know that stay-at-home orders have not affected us equally. But for those who have a modicum of security to think through what they want for themselves and for the children this is the perfect time to assess whether a high-achievement life is the best path forward. All the years of studying, practicing, overtime work may have left a deficit in the ability to find love and build lasting relationships and friendships. Do you want your riches to be reflected by a bigger investment portfolio or relationships? Now is our chance to reject societal norms of who the winners are in this world and set our own standards. Find what brings you meaning and satisfaction in life and start there. I have a feeling that the kids are going to do just that.

#FindingAnotherWay    #WhatDoYouWant    #WhatWillOurChildrenWant