Hindsight in 2020
Written by Diana James
It has taken me a long time to process the past 6 months and all that has changed and all that we have become. My marketing team prodding and waiting, prodding and waiting for me to compose my first blog; and each time I sat down to put thoughts to “paper”, I froze. Too many thought processes, too many changes, too many worries, too many strategies on how to adapt personally and professionally that I was quite literally comatose and I could not articulate what it all meant and how deeply it has affected me.
I am confident that many of you reading this can relate, as I see the same look of anxiousness in the eyes of every person I come across. Whether it is a friend, family member, client or trade partner; we all are trying to rectify, process and survive the current state of affairs with COVID-19, the violence in our streets, the systemic racism in our country and the magnitude of feeling things are out of control. I ask myself, how do we, and how can I adjust, improve and learn from all of this?
One evening during quarantine, a friend (within my quarantine circle) and I were sitting on my deck sipping wine, watching the stars and reminiscing about growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. For starters, it was a Thursday night, when we would typically be out having dinner and drinks, meeting up with a group of people and likely talking about topics of little consequence. But since we were in quarantine, our only social interaction was between us and our families and this time slot has become a revered time for us to hang out, connect and laugh. On this particular evening we were comparing the current times to when we were growing up; before mobile phones and social media. Long before organized everything took precedence over the family dynamic. When kids played outside all day and had to come up with their own means of entertainment, when you made plans and had to stick to them because you couldn’t get in touch with that person via any means and when each moment meant something, because it could not be recreated over and over again digitally. When you took a photograph and had to wait for it to be processed and couldn’t manipulate your reality. When we were forced to accept our flaws, so that our accomplishments had that much more value. When moments and images were genuine, untouched, and not manipulated to suit whatever brand we had created for the world to see.
And it struck me, that aside from sounding like a couple of old biddies, that the Time Of Corona has provided all of us the opportunity to look inside ourselves, regroup and determine what our values are. Families are together, and I mean really together, as in homeschooling, working from home, no organized activities to farm kids out. People are deciding who they want within their Circle of Trust, (to use a Meet The Fockers term), knowing that decision could very well be a choice of life or death. This is a big deal. It’s the biggest deal of all. No wonder I am feeling overwhelmed. How I choose to conduct my personal and professional life has a direct effect on every person I am in contact with and more so, every person they are in contact with, because we all matter. I feel that over the past 20 years, the global community has connected us but conversely insulated us as human beings. Nothing like a virus to remind us all that we are organisms who have a direct effect on other organisms, physically and emotionally.
Getting back to my “Aha moment”, when I see kids riding their bikes down the street and families walking together, friends taking the time to talk to each other instead trolling dance clubs reminds me that it feels a little more like those years before an electric device was the center of the universe. And not to say that everything was perfect 30 years ago, because it most definitely was not. But, let’s face it: we need to recalibrate and find a balance between our value system and the economic system.
Bringing all of this home, (quite literally) to the business of home and design; I see that clients are putting more emphasis on their homes. Where kitchens had been getting smaller, since everyone was eating out, people, including singles, are realizing the value of a home cooked meal and that the need more space to cook, store and organize. Where dining rooms had been going out of fashion, since no one ate together anyway; they’re coming back to accommodate dining, doing school work and zoom calls. We are seeing a revived appreciation for gardening, growing one’s own food, and outdoor living spaces where families and small groups of friends can socialize and be comfortable. In essence, we are turning our focus back in and understanding that the home is where the heart is and how important it is to live with good design, efficient and flexible space options. As an interior designer I am elated that people are seeing the importance and need for these changes, as a human being I am curious to how we will evolve from all of this.