This article has first been published on the SEC WHF news channel.
The word "pandemic" draws out negative associations with distancing and isolation. But in fact, we are resetting - connecting and reconnecting in ways we would not have imagined pre-COVID-19.
During this work-from-home period, many of us have had to give up routines we are accustomed to: trading our offices for our study or dining table; swapping colleagues for family members (and for some, over-energetic children); and interacting via videoconference in place of physical meetings or chats over beer.
While many lament how we are disconnected from people, things and activities we love, we are perhaps not disconnecting, but rather, resetting.
Forced to part with my routine, I started to reconnect with parts of my life that have been conveniently tucked away—on the pretext of "busy-ness". When was the last time you notice something that used to bring you joy—be it a cello, a camera, or a sewing machine—looking rather lonely in a corner of your home? Since when did whipping up a home-cooked meal become a daily family bonding affair?
Suddenly I feel more "whole" - much more than someone who spends more than half of my waking hours in the office five days a week. Spending so much time with my family made me feel more of a daughter, sister and aunt than I ever did in recent times.
Reaching out to people definitely took a different spin. I am also "seeing" more friends in different parts of the world, not only because I am concerned about how they are faring away from home, but also that everyone has grown accustomed to video calls and would not find it particularly odd or awkward to "meet".
To stay grounded, my connection with nature is also intensified, not only by exploring the extensive park connector network (PCN), but also taking in every tree, flower, butterfly and snail in my path with greater appreciation. I make watching the sunrise and sunset my daily highlights. Afterall, when you fail to find beauty in the drudgery of everyday life, nature never fails you.
At a different level, we are also more aligned than ever imagined - simply by being humans in the same predicament. Our favourite shopping destination is undoubtedly the supermarket. Our most common meeting place is the virtual space. The most-worn accessory is the face mask. Women (and men alike) are realising that wearing makeup (or not) at work has no impact on performance.
It is unusual times indeed. For those of us who have escaped the coronavirus and whose livelihoods have not been threatened, we are already lucky in every sense of the word. As the bard said, "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."
About the author
Geraldine Ee is in the communications team at the Singapore-ETH Centre. She takes care of media, website, social media, internal communications, official visits and other public relations matters at the SEC.