Describing our response to covid: Burnout, Breakdown, Boredom, Blessed, Better, Bottom and Belonging

I wrote about the original reactions to COVID here, in that post I reviewed how we had responded and the cost to human by examining Burnout and Breakdown.  These are the first two B’s.  Burnout being the rising at 6 AM walking 23.5 steps to the computer, 12 hours of zoom calls. 37 steps via the fridge back to bed and repeat.  A few unable to escape the workload and demands of being able to work from home.  Breakdown being two working adults in a one bed flat with young children, desperate to work but unable. Lacking private space and with a burden or threat of losing their paid role, breakdown becomes a reality for far too many families.  

Blue-collar workers have done the same job, the same role, having the same breakfast and lunch, driving the same route to the same office for 20 years.  The repetitive nature leads to call centre levels of boredom.  White-collar workers have lost travel, flexibility, meeting people and all aspects that gave them a spark. We are now all repeating the same role, at the same screen with the same people and life has become boring and there is no end in sight. Thrid B

A few with capital and have assets are Blessed by this lockdown.  The 4th B. This came from a chat with Gillian Tett whom I have known since growing up and those formation days.  Blessed being we have space and assets and that the change in lifestyle has had a positive impact.  A (re)discovery of family, friends, the outside and sleep. 

The 5th B is that we don’t want a “new normal” or the “old normal.”  The old normal was rubbish when we look back.  A new normal build on the old will not be better.  I really want something Better.  I am not sure what Better looks like right now, but I know what it does not look like.  It is clear that Better will have a more equal view about space, time and humanity. We might value things that don't have a cost or price.

The 6th B is a major worry for me - this is the "Bottom of the market". Again something Gillain and I explored. The students, those who left school, those in their early career, those left adrift from the loss of the travel, entertainment and retail markets.  We have saddled this generation with debts, both in the form of capital and emotional. Right now we have also removed hope.  We have to find a way to care for them.  

The last B is one that affects all of us. It is a loss of community, a loss of togetherness, a loss of connection, and a loss of connectedness.  We have lost #belonging.  I belonged to groups from the office to friends on the train,my sports club, the coffee shop all the way to meeting new people.  We have become individuals by the nature of our policies, politics and capital which means I am now personalised in everything, but I now realise I want to belong.