This Time Next Year by Indu Balakrishnan

This time last year, life was normal. As normal as one would expect in the Pre-COVID era. Least, that’s what we lived. I don’t think we ever gave it a thought did we? We’d wake up and carry on our lives without any fear. We’d cook what we want, order in or go to a restaurant on days we didn’t feel like cooking. Schools, colleges and offices were on auto-pilot mode. Vacations were normal, so were shopping in malls and movies in the theatre. So was life, in a manner of speaking. We had goals and we did what was needed to achieve them. We did what pleased us, without any fear of any sorts. 

And then, we read about a virus flying around in China. It was far away. It did not affect our lives. We ignored it, like we would most inconsequential things on the net. What did we know? 

By March third week 2020, it was full-on pandemic mode. Lockdown was issued on the planet. Schools were shut. It was work-from-home for anyone who was not required to be at work. Traffic increased on the digital platforms. It became the place to connect with the world. Face to face meetings became a luxury. Social distancing became the norm. Washing hands went into overdrive. Safety measures were the key. 

What would March 2022 look like? 

This time next year, vaccines should have been given to everyone. The virus should be in sleep-mode. We might or might not have to take another shot. But, the fear for the virus should have reduced. What we do not realise is that a year of lockdown has fundamentally changed us. It has affected our choices, preferences and priorities. Our purchasing decisions have changed. 

This time last year, we had no trouble purchasing pizzas and plane tickets on a whim. Today, we don’t do either. We have learned that we can survive on home-cooked meals and not just survive but thrive. We are infact in a much healthier place than ever. This time next year, we will continue on this health-spree. Ordering a meal would not be the first option. Kitchen Gardens would be on the rise. 

This Time Next Year, another thing that would be explored by many parents would be home-schooling. The past one year, we have seen many merits of kids being at home, attending online school. They had classes in the morning and were free for the rest of the day. The year’s syllabus could be covered with just a couple of classes a day. This meant that kids had the bandwidth to learn other things. Many parents would want to home-school their children so that they can try out other things, life-skills among others. 

This Time Next Year, many families would want to have long road trips. Seeing as you can work and study from anywhere, why not have fun while at it? All you need is to rent a home on wheels for a few months. And you can roll with the flow, can’t you? 

This Time Next Year, the savings of many families would have increased. With priorities and purchasing decisions transformed and healthy commodities given preference over junk and luxuries, the bank balance would have increased. And this would slowly become the norm. 

This Time Next Year, we might approach a minimalistic way of life. Turns out, we do not need much anyway. And that was a lesson that the Corona Virus taught us.  Living with less is most definitely not a bad thing. The inclination towards natural alternatives would be higer as well. Conscious consumerism would be the way of life. 

This Time Next Year, families and friends would make more of an effort to connect with each other. We have realised that our peace and happiness comes from people and good health. We would value relationships more. Emotional health is just as critical as physical. 

This Time Next Year, we could have more time, more money, more energy, and more focus for what we want to achieve in life. This Time Next Year we will know to appreciate when things go awry. It makes for a better story to share later. You cannot control the world around you. All you can do is take care of your world. 

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