Intermittent lockdowns and quarantines have gotten me thinking a lot about bubbles. In the different environments and contexts which contributes towards the landscape of our lives. Each of which informs a part of our make-up: ambition, sensibilities, values, and personality.
The intervention of Covid-19 has, however, taken all that away. The environment is confined to the home. While the different worlds and communities of schools, work and clubs still operate through technology, many would agree that the experience is diluted due to not being able to be there in person. The question then is, what happens when you take away the physical environmental reminders for what community or world you are in?
In April, there was a lot of talk in mainstream media about how necessary the “office” was especially for knowledge workers. Channelling a work, school, or whatever else identity through a screen is nowhere near the same as being physically surrounded by people in that same community. The result is that the beliefs and values of that community inevitably are diffused by the fact that people are in their homes. Home is a place of rest and of leisure. Even walking around for a coffee break, the mind receives signals that it’s not time to work. There is the tension of what is expected of the different communities and what people expect to do at home. The difference is that now people are surrounded by things that remind them of the latter instead of the former.
More recently, news has been made with hordes of knowledge workers in Silicon Valley selling their properties and moving inland in favour of lifestyle blocks. The expectation of having to live in the big city to do the big job has been shattered. In a world where money can no longer buy you much, people are opting to live better.
It just goes to show how much the bubbles we live in – school, work, clubs – dictate our lifestyle. It takes something as seismic as a global pandemic to shake everyone loose.