Are we pushing it too much or too little?

Cultural specialist Rachel Olagunju reflects on the pandemic years and to what extent we've pushed ourselves (or not)

In response to this, I’d like to look into whether the pandemic has skewed our ability as humans to recognise the balance of pushing it. I’ve noted, from speaking to and observing those around me, that a lot of us have moved away from a balance level of ‘pushing it/playing it safe’ and actually are starting to exist in two extremes. 

I think the reason for this can be attributed to the pandemic, which has undoubtedly made a lot of us approach and perceive life before, during and after this event quite differently. Without realising it, covid caused a collective trauma, which we’re all dealing with in different ways. 

I have two main theories as to why I think the pandemic had such an impact on this.

The first is that this event took away some important years from people

For some they may have just left uni and needed this time to build a career. Maybe you were mid-20s and this is the time you finally had some financial freedom to enjoy life. Or maybe you were a few years before 30/40/50, and losing the years before this milestone in lockdown has made you come out of it a different person. 

I can speak about my age group and my experience. I missed out on ages 21-23. I think this had an impact, both socially and career wise for a lot of similar aged people. Prior to the pandemic I was actually slowing down socially or ‘pushing it’ less, as I had kind of got it out my system during uni. However, because this choice was taken from me, as soon as I got it back, I fully wanted to exercise it again and live life to the fullest. I see this reflected in a lot of my peers. We’re feeling a culture shock because we’re no longer the youngest ones in the clubs — although we feel like we are on the inside.  

My second theory is that the pandemic caused a big loss in our sense of control

I have a unique perspective, given that I work in music/events and have spoken to a lot of punters and promoters. It’s been noted industry wide that after the end of lockdown people are overall going out less, and ticket sales are the most unpredictable they’ve ever been. People typically don’t buy them in advance and usually you will see around 60 per cent of sales on the day. I think this lends itself to a level of spontaneity that we didn’t have during lockdown, and people are enjoying exercising it. 

People are also ‘not pushing it’. The pandemic created fear about the outside world, and maybe now we place more value in creating a controlled environment at home. Additionally, we were at home for so long that this became a norm, and is reflected in how hybrid working is a new standard — one which we’re not moving away from any time soon.  

The pandemic did force us to slow down and assess whether this work-life balance is healthy, and maybe we were pushing it in a way that wasn’t good for us before. I think it’s a great thing how human centric hybrid/work-from-home culture is, as now we can see our loved ones more and have more time for ourselves.  

Overall, I think we’re both pushing it and not… however neither side is overwhelmingly positive or negative, it’s just as complex as we are as humans.

Featured image: Yoav Aziz / Unsplash

Rachel Olagunju, Creative Consultant

Rachel Olagunju is a multi-disciplined creative consultant working in music currently in strategic cultural partnerships. She specialises in conceptualising, strategic thinking and cultural impact. She has worked with brands like Nike, Depop, and Aaiaiai and has 4 years in the industry.

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