Back in May 2020, fairly at the beginning of the pandemic, McKinsey and Oxford Economics
, time boxed the virus and the economic shock into two key imperatives:
- Safeguard our lives (read: our vitality)
- Safeguard our livelihoods (read: our viability)
Albeit, what they neglected to plot onto their graph was the energy toll of making it through these times as a human whilst juggling those two key imperatives - our vulnerability.
How can we tell?
Let’s do a side by side comparison of a 2019 answer to a 2021 answer to a simple question:
- an easy question to ask, but nowadays, in this #middleofstrangeness, it is a difficult one to answer.
So why is this simple question is no longer met with the 2019 knee-jerk reaction of “fine” - but rather is only answered, after folks stop to take a breath to consider their vulnerable honesty to speak their truth out loud?
Well, in my opinion, it is because the challenging reality of the complex interweaving of our work-life, home-life, school-life, financial-life, social-life, health-life, family-life, and heck, self-life have become more front and center in our conversations than they were in the past.
The “stop to take a breath
” honesty has come from the broader societal and personal awareness that “doing something just because we feel we should” is taxing - and the general willingness to put “lipstick on the pig
” is becoming less prevalent.
This “stop to take a breath” willingness, despite the chaos, exhaustion, anxiety
, and headaches of bringing all-of the aforementioned lives under one hat, has also brought an awareness around the juxtaposition of our subjective well-being
, that lies in the cross-over of the three key imperatives to our health and outlook.
What is the juxtaposition?
Well, it is that our viability (as employees, professionals, parents, spouses, friends), our vitality (in terms of health, diet, self-care, work-life choices, purpose), and our vulnerability (our mental health, our willingness to actualize our own energy, needs, and areas, we want to improve upon) are interlocked, in ways in which were perhaps not as apparent as before. The awareness that we cannot rationalize away the stressors - nor ignore the fact that the build-up, effects all three areas.
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
There is beauty and freedom in that question. As with everything, there are things that lie within our locus of control
- and outside of our influence. Yet at the same time, there are many things in which we do have optionality
with the freedom to choose
By asking ourselves:
“What am I busy about?”
we invite the opportunity to weigh in and “take a breath” in the broader scheme of things that are important for our vulnerability, vitality, and viability - and our freedom to make brave choices
in their favor.