End of October! Kids and parents are usually gearing up for the day that outperforms every other holiday that you can think of. But, perhaps, not this year. Classroom celebrations, trick and treating, and costume parties will be largely absent and the day may even go a little unobserved this year. Even the government, jumping on the "grinch" (sorry for the mixed metaphor) bandwagon has announced that this will be the last year for Hallowe'en fireworks. Even the thrill of mask-wearing has become a little passé as covering our faces has become a social imperative, rather than an exciting aberration!
So, let’s face it, it's pretty clear that Hallowe’en will be a little anti-climactic this year! After all, we’ve all been wearing masks for months. In fact, as we continue to navigate through the ups and downs of this remarkable time in our lives, it is really quite astounding to see the extent to which the “new” normal has simply become normal.
The real question is what will happen when the curtain finally closes on the pandemic and our collective response to it. Will things go back to the way that they were? What might change? Will our social interactions remain a little more limited – fewer dinners out? Avoiding movie theatres? Working remotely? Taking more walks and hikes? Fewer evening meetings and more family dinners? Staying a little closer to home on holidays? What do you think the “new” “new” normal might look like in your household?
My hope is that we all come out of this having slowed down a bit. That we take more time to appreciate our families and close friends; that we look around more and spend more time in the out of doors; that the highways remain just a little bit emptier and rush hour remains more muted.
For those of us who have grown up and lived in the post-war era, this is the first real collective challenge that we have faced as a society. As much as it has had an impact on our lives and ways of looking at the world, it is bound to have a more profound, long-term impact on our children. Decades ago, in school, I saw a movie entitled "You are what you were when". It looked at how generational values had been created in times of social and economic change. Ideas about finance and risk were formed during the Depression, heroism and self-sacrifice during World War II, and a belief in continuous progress during the 50s and 60s. There is no question but that a year of global pandemic will have a major impact on our values and perspectives going forward.
So, as a parent, I am looking at this experience as an opportunity for a bit of a re-boot and as a unique chance to strike a productive balance between managing the demands and lures of technology, with a return to a better quality of life.
In the best of worlds, the disequilibrium of the pandemic will leave our lives more in balance. And that is not such a scary thought – even on Hallowe’en!