16 months ago (can you believe it?), we were handed the unexpected over and over again. However, distanced lives have given us all a bit more time to revise our priorities and remember to reflect. Here’s what I’ve made of reflecting this past year:
During the last week of pre-lockdown life, I remember my mind always buzzed with my own voice echoing in my head.
*Badminton practise after school today, I need to do so much physics test prep fourth period, my research report needs to be done by tomorrow, is that meeting on Thursday or Friday?*
I never reflected on the stream of thoughts that so often filled my head. And because of this, I didn’t notice that I thought more about my small-scope view than what I most like and value. This disconnect only caused me to, as my family humorously told me about, “run in a hamster wheel”. So when situations got stressful, school/sports/extracurriculars became efficient catalysts to stress. Simple reflection and morality checks, however, could change this.
Society functions itself off of a go-go-go mentality: we are rewarded for completing work in a short amount of time, and then sent to the next task. Forwarding society and innovation stem from a fast-paced environment with constant competition. In this type of world, a few things matter: money, popularity and familiarity with the people that matter. These pillars uphold the competitive industries so often composed of the majority and not representative of the minority. Take, for example, that fact that only 15% of Canadian CEO’s are female and that less than one percent of Canadian corporate leaders are Black.
But is this reality? Representation of minorities in the global population and scope show that minorities are, in fact, not “minority” at all – for example, 59.76% of the world’s population is Asian. And no amount of wealth, power or association can make “Happiness” an item on our grocery store shelves. So what type of wake-up call are we hoping for, the one that will reflect our questionable decisions and settle our morality?
For me, this was COVID-19. Staying home made me realize and cherish the small details rather than a superficial sterile view. For example, because I was never home I never noted how warm my room gets in the afternoon with the amount of sunlight streaming through the window. I realized how rare it was for me to sit down and read a book, so I picked up my favourite novel series and journeyed alongside my scar-adorn, redheaded and bushy haired friends once again. I got to play tennis, watch Bollywood movies and lounge outside with my sister before she headed off to university. And I realized, lockdown was the smack in the face I had forgotten I had needed.
Only through reflection do we see clearly what we couldn’t before. Questioning morals, values and reflecting on our history, for example, is a step many in the world are taking in the lens of social justice sparked by the murder for George Floyd. Only after reflection on the horrors that occurred yesterday can we continue, armed with understanding, into tomorrow.