I believe that the way many people had to adapt to the pandemic, specifically our relationship to working hard or long hours, has changed our tolerance for it, perhaps permanently. Simply put, we who were raised to believe that we are defined by our hard work or ability to juggle multiple, difficult responsibilities, are questioning the centuries old belief that American industriousness ought to define us.
In fact, many of our fellow Americans have already dropped out or changed their work habits and many more people are considering significant changes. Some of us (myself included) no longer accept that our lives should be centered on making money or getting ahead to “keep up with the Joneses.” We want more of something else. Maybe it’s play, family time, creativity, time in nature and with friends or, importantly, time to rest and reflect and breathe. We get to decide!
In my case, spending a year on the road likely increased the effects of these adaptations even more. The Adventure has ruined my sense that work is all- important. I no longer find pleasure or honor in spinning multiple plates. Instead, I prefer what many call “semi-retirement,” also known as slowing down, smelling the flowers or enjoying what life has to offer.
This is going to effect businesses and it already has begun. There are nearly 3 million jobs that that are going unfilled. Many office buildings are not renting and small and large businesses are struggling to find new employees. Our economy is shifting in harmony with us.
I’m not a sociologist or an economist, but I can see what’s happening. We are in the midst of a revolution that has just begun, one that I believe will make us healthier instead of wealthier. This is scaring the heck out of some who think we’re going to implode if we stop producing jobs.
Or, we may find that a rested, happy individual actually makes for a person who is less likely to get sick or burnout. Maybe we are going to see that we don’t need to push ourselves and we can produce more when we love life more. Perhaps the people who are dropping out of the old paradigm will create better jobs that they want to go to every day (or 3 or 4 days). Perhaps what we create won’t be all about tech and will have more to do with keeping ourselves, our children and our earth healthy. I sure hope so.
We are all on an Adventure, now.