Simplicity in the wake of 2020





8 MAY 2020



It began with fear. Fear of the unknown. Our safe and virgin little bubbles burst with the consequence of man.


// COVID–19 // Poem





With a fresh perspective, derived off the back of months of isolation, certain feelings bubble their way to the surface. Clear of any influence from outside your own four walls and allowed to birth without inhibition or judgement.


The isolation is a journey. One that's taken many different and sudden turns throughout the past two months.


It began with fear. Fear of the unknown. Our safe and virgin little bubbles burst with the consequence of man - a fear not unfamiliar our elderly who’ve already endured.


The fear gives way shortly after to fatigue and a sudden drive for identity. Professional development in the face of global crisis, self-help and a better, more confident you.


Ugh --


As you distance further from that 'professional you', the areas of importance in your life begin to change somewhat suddenly. Due to the isolation, your mind and body yearn for fresh air and any excuse to get outside.


The time you once filled by scrolling through the morning social timelines, and your pre-work rituals, is now dedicated to a simple walk for coffee and you discover the heightened value of a new ritual. A ritual of simplicity that allows room for independent thought that is untarnished by the values of others.


It's the simplicity of that walk that sharpens your awareness of the less simple things in your life. The technology that was sold to you on the premise that it was going to make communication and life easier - quicker - better.


Now you see that they were wrong. So very wrong.


The bing and buzz of a phone irritate, and the barrage of just how many things demand your attention at any given time becomes overwhelmingly evident. How did it get like this? When did it get like this?


When did we allow, even encourage so many things to occupy the precious space inside us? When did we lose our ability to just be?


It's not so simple to turn off now, we live in a world where the ground rules of work and society have been laid out, and you better get on with it. But that's the beauty of all this. This virus, this isolation. The rules simply don't apply.


For the first time in a lifetime for many, we get to make our own rules, write our own script. Not for anyone else but for ourselves. It's time now to learn to appreciate and love simplicity.


Machines designed with the precision mechanics to do only the one thing and do it damn well. I want to identify with those machines. How can I be great, not at work, but at life if I'm playing by someone else's rules in a game I was never meant to play?


I want to read great books without the digital tapping on my shoulder. I want to hear great songs I've never heard before because there’s no temptation to skip. I want imperfection and warmth. Not Sterile and cold, not pixels, I want an experience, and I want it to last longer than a four-inch long flick of a thumb.


We’ve gone and done it now --


We've exposed ourselves while trying so hard not to expose ourselves. We've rediscovered the true form of beauty in life, while at the same time, bearing witness to such tragedy. A weeping violin on a balcony, a handwritten letter to a grandmother, a time where the sound of children again cuts through the air that occupies empty streets.


Yes, we've gone and done it. The dings and buzzes that demand pride placement in our lives relegated again to a backseat.


I trust the sacrifices we've made for this newfound “old way” of life – of living – will remain. At least in the form of scar tissue, that formed tightly around our hearts and worn proudly into our old age.


My hope for commerce is that companies again learn the importance and benefit of creating life-lasting products that do the simple things well, that don't distract and detract from real life. That growth, just for the sake of growth, is not no longer a viable strategy for our new world.


My hope is that us humans do the same. Do simple and do it well.


© Ben Whitmore, 2020