WE are opening up and the days ahead look bright and promising. When the prime minister made a series of announcements to restore our lives to near normalcy, the mad rush to grab and go was frightening on hand, and yet it was a welcome relief.
Pictures and videos were circulating on social media where people appeared to think and behave as if there never was a pandemic, and there were still hundreds of daily deaths. But can we blame them? It is like the cattle has been let loose and people felt they may as well enjoy as much as they can before the pleasures are taken away.
Everything in life has a bigger level of uncertainty now. I lost my dear sister-in-law to Covid-19, and as I write this, my aunt and her family members are battling with the disease in Penang. I wish I had taken time off to speak to my sister-in-law in the recent weeks, and all I have now are regrets.
The biggest complaint most of us have is lack of time, and we tend to set our priorities wrong in thinking tomorrow will be there forever to recap, recoup and redo things. It is not so, not always. What matters to people, of all ages, have changed dramatically.
A survey conducted in the US indicated that there were varying levels of changes seen in people and their attitude towards life. The survey indicated that 44% of the survey respondents believed that the pandemic has had little more than a temporary impact on their attitudes, behaviours or spending. This segment of the population covers many demographics, with a slight skew towards the middle- and lower-income earners in the outer suburbs.
Then there is the health obsessionists, who make up 15% who had permanently changed their view of health and sanitation. They are willing to spend more on personal health, rest and well-being. Health obsessionists skew towards the little bit older, and they are more likely than the other segments to be retired.
The survey also revealed a new class of people who had adopted to living frugally and are more critical of their post-Covid-19 discretionary spending. They skew towards the lower income group, and are disproportionately single.
Surprisingly and interestingly too, there is a final category of people who have drawn permanently closer to their families, and expect to live more active lifestyles and are decidedly less mercenary. Most balance seekers are the millennials, or Generation X parents, with children at home, typically married and higher earning.
From our own experience, we would have noticed our family, relatives, friends and colleagues making little changes with big impacts. I am absolutely happy to make most of life, complaining little and taking people and things for granted even lesser.
Having experienced several lockdowns, people are taking stock of their spending too. The middle-income earners were able to save substantially, without the impulsive shopping and the more than occasional eating out. This may not be good for the food and beverage business, but I suppose that is part of the change the world over is embracing.
As for the seniors, those who had jobs but decided to quit for a while have decided to take it easy and may not return to salaried jobs, and yet there are those who feel they need to stock up on their finances to better manage medical contingencies.
I recently read a profound speech by Google CEO Sundar Pichai – it is short and gets to your core. This is his speech: “Imagine life is a game of five balls that you manipulate in the air trying not to drop these balls. One of them is a rubber ball, and the rest glass. The five balls represent work, family, health, friends and soul. It will not be long before you realise that work is like the rubber ball. When it falls, it will bounce back somehow, while the other glass balls, if dropped, will not return, once broken it is the end”.
Hence, the point is, manage your work efficiently during working hours, take time to be with family and friends, take appropriate rest and take care of your health and make time for yourself meditating, embracing nature and learning to love unconditionally.