A Panglossian Perspective

“Your end can be greater than your beginning: butterflies are the greatest proof of this.” —Matshona Dhliwayo

The thaw on the heels of a freeze. A rainbow following a storm. Resets and restarts. There is a beauty and certain merit in the gift of a new beginning.

Cleaning slates can achieve more than neat stockpiles of dust generated by rote eraser smashing. For all the effort involved in the grind, the result is a smooth, sharp edge. As our eyes start to squint from the glare of an unfamiliar sun, there’s a chance to see what’s changed while we were away.

With a significant (albeit temporary) reduction in carbon emissions, the planet was able to take a deep collective breath, without choking on the exhaust from a billion daily tailpipes slingshotting between home and work. The solution? Home=work…and it’s not that tough.

A nonsense-free workspace shone a spotlight on the delays and distractions inherent in an office setting. It’s impressive what people can accomplish when left alone to focus on a task. Increased opportunities for mindfulness, meditation, and achieving a better work-life balance replaced idling on a gridlocked freeway, wondering what happened to an already-tenuous grip on sanity.

But the most obvious gift we’ve been granted in this past pandemic year is the smack in the teeth of perspective. What matters and what doesn’t? The global population was left to ponder which relationships were worth preserving, which hobbies and activities warranted the necessary time commitment, and how to best live life on a loop.

Introverts soared, propelled by lighter wings and limitless air, while extroverts crashed under the burden of unattainable energy reserves, held just out of reach by isolated friends behind social prison bars.

Those who craved connection were glued to substandard Zoom chats and a perpetual battle against the glitch. The best-laid intentions for daily commiseration sessions soon became weekly, monthly, and then nonexistent.

But using the sting and pain of the present as brick and mortar for better days, we can stack the necessary blocks to avoid building a road to repetition. Lessons are only valuable when learned, and this is a prime opportunity to put into practice some real, tangible change.

The list of what’s on that docket is a volume too extensive to tackle in this condensed format, but the opportunity for metamorphosis has presented itself, here and now.

Static caterpillar or unbound butterfly? Choose wisely.

Adolescence Interrupted

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