Suddenly Present (#223)

I am starting to feel a normalization effect as our new reality takes hold. I’ve become determined to focus on what I can control, and I’ve found the shock value of the despairing 24/7 news cycle now has less influence on my psychology. I even took some time last week to think about the post-COVID-19 future and the changes the pandemic will cause across all generations.

Many of us are coping with this crisis by looking for silver linings that can help us endure this challenge and improve our lives when it has passed. For many, this has been a chance to get clarity on what actually fulfills us, rather than what just fills our time.

Last week, I joined a video call with eight people I’ve been in a forum with for years, as part of a mastermind group of CEOs. Typically, when we plan our recurring meetings, we need to review three months of our calendars to find a date and time that works the whole group, due to heavy travel schedules.

This time, following a productive and cathartic session of best practice sharing, we decided to reconvene via video call in two weeks. Not surprisingly, we had no problem finding a date—it took less than a minute.

Many of us have learned that, due to the current environment, everyone we know is suddenly available, often for the first and perhaps the only time in our lives. This has led to an extraordinary amount of online reunions where groups of people who haven’t connected in years or decades can catch-up without a specific agenda.

Two weekends ago, my college fraternity class set up a call on a Saturday night where we all just chatted for an hour, including one person who joined from South Africa at 3am. We hadn’t connected in such a large group in over a decade.

A week later, my wife’s college sorority class organized a similar reunion where each person updated the group on their life over the past 20 years. I have heard similar stories about high school classes, sports teams, baby/parent groups and many other networks who are reconnecting for the first time.

One reason these reunions haven’t happened sooner is many of us are “too busy.” This is an excuse I used to lean on as well. My mindset changed when I wrote one of the most popular Friday Forwards to date—BS of Busy—and realized filling all of our available time doesn’t make us happier or more successful.

In the past, why did we allow ourselves to be too busy to reconnect with the people who matter most to us? It’s revealing that when given a chance to slow down and clear our calendars many of us realized which people we most wanted to connect with as we faced challenging times. These meaningful relationships are the ones we neglected during our achievement-oriented, task-filled lives.

In time, we’ll see many silver linings come from this crisis. One of the biggest is that this will compel us to reevaluate which relationships deserve our time and energy, and which obligations are not worth our time.

If you haven’t joined or created one of these virtual reunions, now is the perfect time. You may be missing a once in a lifetime opportunity.
 

Quote of The Week

“If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and adore.”

 

–Ralph Waldo Emerson