It’s life, Jim, but not as we thought we knew it

If there’s one thing the past year or so has taught almost everyone, it’s that so many things we thought were so important to us, aren’t actually that important at all. And conversely, many of the things we all took for granted, and didn’t really think twice about are in fact what make our lives the lives we all want to live.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for brands. Not only is my entire career built around brands, I also love buying, owning and experiencing them. From my obsession for anything with four wheels and an engine, to my love for horology and a trainer collection that’s quite literally bursting out of my wardrobe, I couldn’t really imagine my life without certain brands in it.

Like everyone, the past twelve-months has impacted my life more than I can begin to describe. I’ve gone from spending on average twenty hours a week commuting by car, train and tube, to simply wandering downstairs and opening zoom each morning. My regular get-togethers with my friends now comprise of a series of WhatsApp groups chock full of photos, videos, emojis and memes to try and retain some sense of normality in this really bizarre moment in time.

And while I’m beyond grateful that my job has been largely unaffected by a combination of fast adaptation by my company – and the resilience shown by the entire team, one of the positive effects of lockdown and home-working has been the time I’ve spent with my family.

I’ve enjoyed getting up in the morning and having breakfast with my two awesome children, Jake and Millie – having conversations about what they’re eating, what they’re hoping to do that day – and how they’re going to make a new contraption out of household items. Even to this day their imagination amazes me.

I’ve loved being able to take them to school, and pick them up, and chat to them while I’ve been working. They’re now on first-name terms with many of my colleagues and friends – something that were I in the office may well not have happened for some time, if at all.

In a way, this whole experience is bitter-sweet, because while the transformation that’s happened in the business world in terms of people working from home is something that should have happened a long-time ago, it’s a transformation that’s happened under such terrible circumstances. Like many, I’ve found it immensely tough to deal with the stress of Covid-19 and lockdown but I’m hopeful this year is going to be a fuck-load better than the last. I just hope that people don’t revert back to some of the bad habits and behaviours that existed in pre-Covid times. Like pointless commutes five days a week.

I hope that people remember the closeness they’ve felt to all the things that really matter in life, like family, friendships and talking more often. Like sitting down as a family to enjoy meals together.

Because, in the end, while I’ll always love and enjoy so many things, lockdown has reminded me that you really don’t need much to live a happy, fulfilled life.