Covid and our relationship with our future

Covid 19 has disrupted the daily lives of millions of people around the world. On a health level, there has not been a time in recent history in which people talked more about health in such a serious manner than now both politically and at a personal level. In developed societies, where the welfare system covers most of the basic health needs, the debate is even more acute. At a personal level, most people are trying to keep themselves safe in order to avoid getting the virus and potentially ending up in an intensive care unit in a saturated public hospital. Currently, when we toast the health of our loved ones, most people might mean it in a more profound way than before. At a political level, as critical citizens, taxpayers expect governments to deliver a health system fit for the situation. The way public health resources have been assigned is being scrutinised, due to the lack of doctors, nurses and basic materials much needed during this pandemic.

On a professional level, people who were hoping to enter the job market have seen their lives disrupted due to the virus. Ten years from the last economic crisis, many young people and young adults are still struggling to build a career. The last two generations of prepared young professionals have faced unprecedented events that are making it hard for them to gain economic independence. This is a huge loss of talent and poses a threat to the future development of societies. Older professionals are being laid off due to the loss of market operations. Covid is making professionals reinvent themselves. However, in this context, it seems that one needs to be a magician rather than a self-motivated entrepreneur.

On a social level, Covid is putting human relations under stress, due to the change of daily habits brought about by the confinement for some, and because of the so-called social distance for others. For example, some families have had to live and work on top of each other due to the lockdown, and some people have experienced a certain isolation from their closer family and friends. The change in human interaction in all layers of society, should the virus last one more year, could have an impact on the way we relate to our partners, work colleagues, friends and family. For example, many people are adapting their work and personal routines in order to avoid human contact as much as possible.

As a conclusion, we are observing the future as a big unknown. Not long ago, we were making plans without thinking too much, whether it was a birthday party, a weekend off, or just going to the supermarket. Currently, even the smallest move outside the house requires a small analysis of the tiny risk that could make us infected (wearing a mask, a gel, distance, not breathing too much in closed circles). In essence, we have stopped observing the future in an automatic way. We are taking it less for granted. Those who are lucky to be in good health appreciate this fact even more and try to keep it this way; those who are studying try to keep going this way without becoming too demoralised; and those who have a job are clinging on to it, even if a year ago they were dreaming of changing their jobs, places or even partners.

One can arguably state that paradoxically Covid has made what we have or do not have more relevant, while it has stretched our ability to adapt to a constantly changing environment.

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