This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on May 04, 2020.
I read an article a few weeks ago and have not been able to get it out of my head. The more that this new normal goes on, and the more that I reflect on this article and others, the more I feel compelled to share these thoughts with you.
The article, Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting, written by Julio Vincent Gambuto, is a bit of a long one, but worth every.single.second. In the article, Gambuto talks about the power of marketing and advertising, and how when we are all longing deep within ourselves to go back to normal, to go back to what was just a few months ago, marketing campaigns will - and in truth, are - going to do everything they can to convince us this never happened. Convince us to buy more because that will make us happy, because that’s what’s normal.
“And, make no mistake, the heart is what has been most traumatized this last month. We are, as a society, now vulnerable in a whole new way.”
Oh and it won’t just come from companies. “It will come from brands, it will come from government, it will even come from each other.”
We’ve seen the incredible changes our planet has gone through.
We’ve seen pollution numbers lowering.
We’ve seen the massive student debt system come to a halt.
We’ve seen our communities rally around small and local businesses.
We’ve seen individuals make the conscious decision to stay home, even when they’re going stir crazy, to protect our elderly, our vulnerable, and our front line workers.
We’ve seen recognition that the essential personnel in our society are wildly underpaid.
We’ve discovered new and magical ways to make someone’s day from afar.
We’re checking in on each other.
We’re caring for each other.
We’re leading with empathy.
How can we possibly go back to what once was?
But as we’re peering out into this new world, counting the days until we can go to happy hours again, and noticing all of these positives coming out of this Great Pause we’ve found ourselves in, we may also notice that these changes were not intentional. These changes are a consequence of the realities facing us in this unprecedented time.
We didn’t come together as a planet to bring millions of cars off the road.
We didn’t come together as a planet to pause student loan payments.
We didn’t come together as a planet to make these conscious decisions.
But we did come together. And we can come out of this together too.
We can resist what was and champion for what is and what can be.
And it all starts in our own, individual, singular lives.
I am the biggest advocate of small actions matter. That our individual actions have massive ripple effects. That one person can change the planet.
But I also know when we’re fighting an uphill battle. Not that it’s a battle lost, but that it’s a difficult battle, opposing generations of traditions and economies and governments that tell us that the stock market is the greatest indicator of a country’s well being.
But, friend, we’ve got the upper hand here. We’re on top of the hill and the battle is coming to us. The change has already happened. We’ve been given the greatest opportunity to redefine our world. It came with despair and fear and devastation, but what we do with it from here on out truly can be beautiful.
It starts with you.
And it starts with me.
“From one citizen to another, I beg of you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullshit and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud. We get to Marie Kondo the shit out of it all. We care deeply about one another. That is clear. That can be seen in every supportive Facebook post, in every meal dropped off for a neighbor, in every Zoom birthday party. We are a good people. And as a good people, we want to define — on our own terms — what this country looks like in five, 10, 50 years. This is our chance to do that, the biggest one we have ever gotten. And the best one we’ll ever get.”
That line in the middle...it’s been incessantly replaying in my head for weeks.
We get to Marie Kondo the shit out of it all.
Holy hell, friend. That is one powerful line.
This time has been hard. I won’t pretend it hasn’t. But, for me at least, it’s shown me what truly brings me joy, what brings value to my life, and what doesn’t. Even if I thought it did before.
It may not be easy. We may need to learn to say “no” when the people-pleaser in us wants to say “yes.” But my God what an opportunity we have before us.
Will you embrace the opportunity with me?