Cillian Lohan: The essential is invisible to the eye

I sit in my farmhouse by the sea. I have a good internet connection despite my rural isolated location. Each morning I feel lucky to be able to walk along the coastline, looking out to sea, knowing the next piece of land across the Atlantic is New York, almost 5000 kilometers away. I feel the great privilege of my comfort.

I can magically turn the cold morning air into a warm embrace. Everything is relative. I take a short swim in the sharp, salty Atlantic waves and when I run out of the sea the sand and stones feel hot beneath my feet. At extremes, it’s hard to tell the difference between burning and freezing.

Throughout the week I wonder why I don’t have more free time. Suddenly I am not doing my usual hours and hours of travel and commuting. I realise that I have filled that time by reducing my pace. I notice the number of people I speak to online who acknowledge the awful strains and consequences of the virus, but who express appreciation for their own situation.

Like in the Saint-Exupéry classic, the Little Prince reminds us that grown-ups are unable to perceive what is important in life. Perhaps this lockdown, this pause in our normally relentless lives, has given us all a chance to reconsider what is important and what is not. From every crisis comes a lesson and an opportunity to rebuild.

I settle into my day, focussing on Sustainable Development, focussing on Circular Economy, focusing on a Green Recovery. I am hopeful that we have had a collective change in perception. We now know which jobs and people are essential workers. It is interesting to notice how we value them, and the ways we have not been valuing them. It is uplifting to see how as a species we can work together, behave collectively for a greater good. Together we are acting at personal expense to protect the lives of other vulnerable groups.

We are also seeing the sad consequences of not listening to the evidence, and of postponing action.

I go to bed early and sleep well.