Thus far 2020 has been the most remarkable year of many of our lives, and it gets crazier by the day. From the COVID-19 pandemic, to massive Black Lives Matter protests and pre-election drama, every week feels more intense than the last. Everyone is exhausted from the insane pace of change this year has offered and the world is changing. What does the near future look like after all these events? I anticipate massive winds of change over the next few months and into the next few years. There are a few that I see as inevitable; more hobbies, smaller group gatherings, and the change of the social climate.
Hobbies become a more significant part of normal life. They are activities that you just to do. For example drawing, writing or even playing a game like gold is a hobby. They’ve become more novel over the last decades, partially due to our generations advances in entertainment. A lot more people get home and watch Netflix or scroll social now, because of how instant the gratification is. The cultural elements come with certain shows (Tiger King, Game of Thrones) and social networks (memes) make it way easier to stay involved. These tech products are “sticky” and instant. Hobbies require a long term outlook on your activity; finishing a painting takes weeks or months, a series can take just a few hours. This increased level of focus & dedication increase the barrier to entry for those activities. Along with the duration there is generally some degree of isolation. It’s harder to craft a social environment out of a hobby when you’re getting started. These combined factors make it easier to talk about the most recent episode of whatever you’re watching instead of what you’re making or doing. More people have had the opportunity to get out and explore the little quirky activities that fascinate them because of the increased time at home. This has let people go learn about things that they’ve never really had the time for. I’ve seen people making clothes, painting, remodeling their house, editing videos, or writing music. The amount of young people finally getting the chance to learn about those weird things they’ve always been curious for is so amazing. One of my favorite experiences of the last few months was when I walked into an old friends apartment and was greeted by a massive canvas he had been working on. I had never known him to be interested in painting, but there he was making something he thought was cool just for the sake of it. He took his increased time at home to learn about painting and make stuff. That moment was so foreign to me and was one of the moments that pushed me to start writing. Making is the most human activity. Growing up expressing ourselves was easy, then at some point that was taken away from a lot of us. This time at home has given all of us the time and courage to rediscover and pursue our interests.
Next, smaller groups focused on a certain activity or interest are going to become the norm. Its become so normalized to go places with big anonymous groups just because you can, think bar situations. A big group offers serendipity and lets you randomly meet new people. Remember all the characters you’ve seen at their absolute worst while out on a Saturday night. Everyone takes their mask off and unleashes the parts of themselves they’ve managed to hide throughout the week. Over the last several months it’s become so normal to spend time with either a small group of people or just one on one. The small groups plus a mutual interest create a magical new way to interact. I’ve found these situations to be unbelievably pleasant. My friends and I recently had a dinner in one of their homes. Our friend Stu “Rod” cooked the best steak I’ve ever had. We had such a great time shitting on each other and talking about the things we loved in the comfort of a home. In previous years we would have gone to a restaurant and had a dinner to forget.
The social climate has moved more towards equity & inclusion, through all of the movements that have gone on. So many have become aware of the problems that face minority communities and have used the tools at their disposal to learn about what they can do. Most importantly, people have mobilized and taken action. It’s been amazing to see people support each other in the ways that they have. Many are focused on systematic change on a personal level, so much so that awareness of bias is becoming one of the defining traits of our generation. Just a few months ago I had a conversation with my father where I expressed how disappointed I was with the way things were going. Our pendulum seemed to be swinging towards exclusion and hatred rather than acceptance and love; the last few months have seemed to reverse that. The George Floyd tragedy was the major catalyst to wake the people up to the injustices that face us every day. That man didn’t have to die, but ultimately became a martyr for what will become the most important movement of our lives.
The year 2020 has been a whirlwind of insane events that will change everything from hobbies to group meetings and most importantly social justice. I challenge you all to do two things; try something you’ve always been interested in and stand by each other. The first for your current self, you’ll find so much satisfaction in appealing to your curiosity. The second for your future self, when everything shakes out give yourself the freedom to proudly say, “I stood on the right side.” Let me know what you think and send me an email. If you enjoyed this article get all my articles in one email per week.