I was captivated today by the words of María Branyas, the 113-year-old Spanish woman who has become the oldest COVID-19 survivor. She had this to say on Twitter:
In the solitude of my room, fearless and hopeful, I don’t quite understand what’s going on in the world. But I think nothing will be the same again. And don’t think about redoing, recovering, rebuilding. It will have to be done all over again, and differently.
I love this. It’s a message we’ve heard from many people, talked about over our dinner tables and in our video chats, but it is so much more powerful coming from this unvanquished woman. Fearless and hopeful. Unable to understand, but understanding everything. It’s a massive call to the world, a throwing-down of the gauntlet.
In the Daily Boost Live today, I talked about very small things we might want to carry forward from this time. From the daily call I’ve had with my mom since the start of the crisis, to Ann’s daily visits to the ducks at Chicago’s Botany Pond, to Nicholas’s family’s baking and coffee breaks together, so many people are talking about lessons from the first phase of the crisis that we hope to take forward as the world reopens. Most of them have to do with connecting, coming closer, enjoying our families, showing love.
Worrying about leaving new habits behind is not even a concern for most people; it’s barely on the horizon in Costa Rica, where the solid government response has allowed a four-part reopening plan to be presented. But it’s still worth thinking about, and I enjoyed chatting about it with some of you in recent days.
When I made the video this morning, I was thinking in terms of what we want to hold onto as the world goes back to normal. But as I write this, I think about what doña María had to say, and realize that she’s framed it in different terms: it’s not a question of protecting something new as we return to the ways of old. It’s a question of using what joy or hope we’ve found during these fraught weeks, and using it as the foundation for the new world we hope to build.
Here’s the video. I hope you’re all doing ok.