Pandemic has blessed us with the realization of so many life changing behaviors. It has made us only more grateful for all that we have. It has made us only humbler if we have survived. It has made us realize that discipline is the bridge to freedom. It has pushed us to adapt to the new normal. The list could be fairly long. However, we could adopt and bring such best practices into our lives only if we have a life to live. Pandemic also brought the concept of work from home into our lives. While initially like anything fresh and new, everyone loved the newness of living life differently and the flexibility that it brought. But as the pandemic fatigue set in, we started appreciating that technology can enable us but cannot replace us. We are emotional beings and not mechanical beings. While technology gets the work done it fails to transmit the life energy. Imagine the experience of a virtual wedding, holiday, religious ceremony or a graduation. Can armies of the nations guard the borders virtually? Can a surgeon conduct a lifesaving procedure virtually? Can an ace lawyer argue his matter in front of the top judge without looking into the eyes of each other and their witnesses? The answer is very obvious to each of these and visible with people learning to live life within defined protocols – travel; both leisure and business is back to pre-pandemic levels, attendance in offices has voluntarily grown, though with limited guest list but destinations weddings are back, shoppers are catching up with the backlog of 18 months and much more. Life is visible everywhere. World has learnt to live and live better.
The best lesson that 2021 leaves us with is to value life. Whether you are a covid survivor or not, the fact that we are living today is the biggest gift that we could have received this year. Now let’s combine this with a scenario of the growing life expectancy in general. Over the last few decades the generations of the elderly are pushing the bar from crossing into 70 to 80s. Scientific discoveries related to healthcare and increased consciousness towards healthy lifestyle can only push this boundary further and 90s could be the sunset years over the forthcoming decades. In the prism of this emerging reality you could be very young even at 60 today whereas the life would have just begun at 30. If you happen to be between 30 or 60 and thinking of hanging your boots or slowing down it may just be too early. That would not be focusing on life but actually moving away from it. You’ll need additional earnings to fund a much longer lifetime. Even if you have achieved financial freedom, that’s a significant milestone that you have reached but life doesn’t come to an end with that. Objective of life is not to become financially free but pursuit of a meaningful life enriched with an enabling purpose. If you have that then financial freedom shall come about at some stage for sure as part of the life journey. However, from the very next day after achieving your financial freedom you’ll still need to know what to do after your breakfast. Life’s journey could be like a biking road trip which gets funded by money to get you the bike you love and the fuel to run it but the journey can get initiated only if you are ready to ride it. In another tone if you have given up on riding then the journey is already over despite the fact that you have your favorite bike with a tank full waiting for you.
If we have survived the ongoing pandemic till now that’s the best gift given to us by the Divine which has to be valued, cherished and lived. It is no less than a Divine duty to both take good care and leverage this precious gift called life. While on one side we need to continue to follow the pandemic protocols to take good care of our life and of those around us but in the same breath we need to make best use of our presence on this planet to leave it a better place than what we inherited. It is the time to not slow down but press the paddle to enjoy the ride without risking it. It is not the time to switch off but to get more productive enabled with the new age science and technology. If earlier norm of retirement was around 60 with life expectancy of 75 this bar could be pushed to 75 and 90 respectively. A fitter and a healthy world will live longer and therefore would work longer. If this shift happens it would only raise the productivity of the world. People working longer means lesser social security to be provided and more income to be generated which could lead to more affluence. Moreover, working longer will simply ensure more people find their financial freedom as the laws of compounding work better over a longer time as Warren Buffet has shown us. When we generate income, not only do we become self-reliant but also contribute towards the income generation of the ecosystem around us by being a consumer of so many products and services which creates the economy and fuels the kitchens of millions of households. One person’s expense is always another’s income and that is a never-ending chain. Even if one human amongst 7 billion on the planet slows down it slows down the entire humanity. Therefore, friends it is time to live on as long it can last. It is time to be the monk who is not selling his Ferrari called life. Let’s keep living till the last day if we can.
Friends, on this note and with a sense of immense gratitude for everything that 2021 gave us I wish you a relaxed closure and the best last days of 2021 around your loved ones. Thank you for your love, blessings, friendships and thoughts through the year and more importantly thank you for being around.
Signing off for 2021 with my warmest wishes, love and affection for a wonderful 2022.