This week I am turning 37 and I was reflecting on what I’ve learned thus far in life and what that would mean to a 17 year old me. In our world heavily influenced by busy lives, media portrayls of perfection and the ‘good life’, I wondered, what would I do differently if I could go back.
I would stop criticising my body and all of my perceived imperfections. I would recognise that I was perfect the way I was (still am!) and my body is more than something to look at.
I would not let anyone stop me from exploring my dreams. I wouldn’t feel swayed to follow a particular path, I would choose my own experiences, make my own decisions.
I would be much more careful about relationships.
I would explore more of the world, have more adventures and be more in nature. After having kids, this becomes more difficult, not impossible, but certainly there is a regret for the things I could have done when it was easier.
I would take better care of my body with how I move and what I eat. I would pay more attention to the niggles, and do ALL of the exercises my physio gave me.
Becoming intentional is about learning from the past and making better, informed and deliberate decisions today, tomorrow and in the future.
Idealised versions of a better world have been around for as long as humans have been able to write. Since receiving my ‘enrol to vote’ card at 18 where the AEC had assumed I wanted to save dolphins, until now, my understanding of the world has changed and grown in immeasurable ways.
This blog and my life have become almost solely focused on how our intentions, or lack of, affect our ability to change things in our worlds. Reading about the idea of the stranger in my course this week, the topic of civil inattention (Goffman) seemed so apt at this stage of Victoria’s continued stage four lock down due to coronavirus. Goffman argued society has coped with not knowing the never ending surge of faceless strangers by learning to not pay attention, to pretend we are not concerned with our own image and how we are constantly scrutinised or evaluated. And the result of this, argued by Bauman (1990) is a sense of moral indifference. Perhaps it is the inattention society experiences that leads many Victorians to protest and argue against our Premier’s lock down extension on the basis of freedom. The moral indifference leads to heartlessness and disregard for the needs of others (Bauman 1990, p. 70) and could explain the individualistic nature of members of society. Yet, the plan for Victoria promises to protect those most vulnerable; a less-political and more accommodating view of society than one could generally hope for from a politician.
As individuals, we can make a difference. We can show up for our neighbours, work hard to pay attention to others. Be engaged and watch out for our own moral indifference. For those who have enough, we can look out for those who don’t. We can share, we can help, we can care.
This is the end of the three – part series on the post-pandemic world. Part 1 and Part 2 are available.