Life will never be the same again. When the lockdown started, we thought it was just a hick-up and that it would soon be business as usual. As the weeks turn into months, it is dawning on us that this is not going to be the case. We are, in fact, experiencing something this planet has never seen before. This is the time of the ‘Great Disruption’. Our lives are being turned upside-down and inside-out. The word ‘disruption’ comes from the Latin word disrumpere, which means to break apart, split, shatter, and break into pieces, and this may describe exactly how many of us feel at the moment.
This ‘Disruptor’ is a game-changer in all areas of our lives, and it is pushing us into the ‘big void’ – that scary place of living between already and not-yet. The old is already gone but the new is not yet here, and we have no idea how it will play out. Nothing is certain and not-knowing becomes our daily reality. This is normal in the land of the void. It is meant to be that way. We can either feel lost in this land of no certainties, or we can see it as a golden opportunity to give birth to something new.
You see, a void is a fantastic place, because that is where we have the most potential to create something radically new and wonderful. In the void, the best in us can come forward. Necessity is, after all, the mother of invention. We are by nature resourceful and creative beings, but we become complacent so easily. We often settle for second best, and then tell ourselves that it is not all that bad, or that we don’t have a choice. We tend to stick to our comfort zones, even when these come with some discomfort. We learn to become comfortable with our discomfort. We are often deadly unhappy, but tell ourselves that we should bear with it for now. We do it to survive. No, says the ‘Disruptor’: the aim of life should never be to just survive – instead, we should thrive. So let us take this time to think again. Perhaps we just became so good at lying to ourselves that we never dared to choose a different life for ourselves.
Let us use this void, this opportunity, to review our lives and start again. Make new choices. Start over. Give birth to something new. For many of us, our lives have become so disrupted that we have no other choice but to reinvent our lives. For others, it may not be that dramatic. Whatever is happening in our lives at the moment, we now have the opportunity for a new beginning. This crisis can prove to be our greatest gift, forcing us to take stock of our lives and start again. The only question is what the driving force is behind the choices we will be making going forward. There are essentially two options: we can either tap into fear or we can tap into our creative potential and create a life of meaning and fulfillment that makes us come alive.
We need to deal with our fear. Fear is not an incubator of new possibilities, but a defender of the status quo. It is not the go-to place for innovation. It preserves and limits. No inspirational masterpiece has ever been created from a place of fear. There is a real danger that we can miss this golden opportunity to reinvent our lives because we are debilitated by fear. This disruption of our lives should not turn into destruction, but rather into the construction of a new life.
One day, we will tell our grandchildren that we lived during the time of the Great Disruption of 2020. We will tell them about the lockdown, and how the world as we knew it was never the same after that. We will also tell them about our losses and the time of uncertainty, when we had to rethink and redesign our lives. We will tell them how we all had the opportunity to leave everything behind that prevented us from thriving. We will tell them that it was a time of new beginnings. We will tell them that some people grabbed the opportunity to reinvent their lives, whilst others were angst-ridden and fearful, and just wanted their old lives back. And they will then ask us: and what did you choose to do?