Time is of the essence
The year 2020 has doubtless been one of the most difficult years in recent memory. No one could have foreseen the damage and disruption the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, wreaking havoc across all spheres of life. Its effects on the economy, society, health and the education system have been unprecedented and almost catastrophic. Many businesses were forced to evolve or shut down, while some are still facing an existential threat. Many people lost their jobs, increasing the unemployment rate and rate of poverty, while some have lost their lives. This necessitated a change in how most businesses operate and how consumers behave to ensure sustainability during and post the pandemic. Nothing is as it was and things are certain never to be the same again.
At a micro level, the impact of the pandemic on the individual has been most severe. Routines have changed, jobs have been lost, children learn from home and our outlook on life has been completely altered. Things that used to keep us preoccupied look irrelevant now; differences among us appear futile in the face of the pandemic. Different skin colours, different values, different traditions, different cultures, different languages, different genders, different religions and different standards of living are meaningless now − we are all vulnerable and mortal. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a reminder that life is fragile, that life is time and that time is life.
The time allocated to us has been thrust into the fore, now more than ever. More than at any time in the past we are aware of the limited time we have available. Therefore we ought to be careful how we live. Our lives ought to be a function of the time given to us. Because our days are numbered, we are to live purposeful, worthy and courageous lives, not as the unwise and witless but as wise, sensible, intelligent people making the best use of time, taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence.
We cannot stop time, but we can control how we use it. It is up to each of us to make the best possible use of the time available to us by undertaking tasks that not only fulfil us but also make a positive contribution to those around us. Dare I say that the days of the single-minded professional who would spend an entire week and weekend at the office have come to an end. Our communities and families can no longer be neglected while we use all our time to pursue personal glory. The situation demands that all of us reflect and reprioritise while we still can lest we suffer the effects of COVID-19 first hand by losing a loved one to the pandemic. If we are to learn anything from the pandemic, let it be that time is of the essence.