The Essentials

There is an unfortunate truth that goes unsaid. But unsaid does not mean untrue and slight deviations aside, for the most part, we fail to realize how important someone is to us until we need them. When we don’t need them anymore, their importance goes back to where it was, which for the most part is unimportant at best. At the same time, most of us have a job. Most of us work. We have a craft or a career. We have a week to get through, which is not always easy. But, you eventually find a groove.

You find a way to split the week and make the days move faster. You train yourself to think of ways to make time and the week easier. We start with Monday just to get through Tuesday; and by that time, Wednesday is on its way. The week is half finished because all that’s left is Thursday, which leads us to Friday. And thank God for Fridays.
Am I right?

The weekends are great but still, the weekends move way too quickly. Saturday moves really fast. As for Sunday, well, Sunday always seems like a half day. The day seems sort of yellow in shade because it’s half-free and half-limited. Monday is right around the corner. This means work is around the corner and all the unresolved tensions are exactly where we left them on Friday.

My goal as the writer is to make this as relatable as possible. I believe that in order to make people think; we need something tangible for the mind to grab a hold of.
The truth is we train ourselves to create understandable patterns. In fact we train ourselves to go to work. In fact, we have been doing this since the days of grade school. We train ourselves to understand the commute. We train ourselves to find better ways to interact. We learn who to talk to. We learn how to perform and coexist with each other.
In recent news, we had to change our thinking and our training. We had to learn to change our face to face routines and learn to interact remotely.
Offices were closed. Businesses closed. We were hit by a worldwide virus and next, all of our training and our usual routines were tossed aside. Our comforts were changed; and while I grant there might have been comfort for those working from their own home and on their home computer, there was still an adjustment. There was still a training period that the mind needed to grasp.

Meanwhile, there was this term called “The essentials.” These were people who were essential to their field. These were the healthcare workers, which of course, thanks to them because what they lived through was certainly unthinkable.
But there were other essentials too.
For example, no one ever thinks much about the stock person in their grocery store. Most days, no one thinks much about the cashiers at the supermarket or the person who makes deliveries. How often does someone think about the person who delivers the newspapers or works the machines at a plant where the papers are made.
But for a short time, at least for a while, these people were on the front line. There was a time when everyone celebrated them. There were cheers of respect and appreciation. There were people who literally said “Thank you,” because there was a virus that swept through the world and in these times; the essentials were on the job.

We find ourselves in post vaccinated times. The fears are still real and the virus has left us split apart. Until recently, the adjustment that went from pre-Covid times to post-vaccination has allowed us to come out from behind our computers.
There is a resurgence of business. Companies are opening up again. People are coming back to the office, which means that once again; we have to retrain ourselves to return to the workplace. Or, put simply, we have to readjust to a new work environment.

I’ve noticed a few things. I noticed that those who were considered to be essential are no longer seeing the same attention. Many have gone from essential to ordinary, which is sad because I was essential too. I was at work too.
I think to myself about those who have jobs that seem to be undesirable. Yet, for a short while, these people were celebrated as heroes. In fact, I remember watching someone thank a gas station attendant for being there. Come to think of it, I wonder how many people are thanking essential workers now. How often are store clerks celebrated? Are they still or is this the case of the important going back to being seen as unimportant again?

I am sure there are those who deviate from the standard. I am sure there are people who remain appreciative and show their appreciation. Then again, I am sure there are those who have forgotten what it was like when the world shut down.

I remember a friend of mine who worked on the trains. I had asked him about “Being essential.” He told me that he didn’t feel essential at all. He told me, “Sacrificial, maybe. But essential? No, I don’t feel essential.”

Earlier, I mentioned how we train ourselves to work. We train ourselves to understand the changes of our commute. We learn ways to navigate and get through traffic. We come up with ways to make the week move quickly. We create ways to tolerate the intolerable people we have to deal with at work. And, we learn how to process information and perform our tasks. We train ourselves to live and yet, we are coming to a slight return to normalcy. People are returning back to the office. Desks that have not been touched for more than a year are starting to see life again. This means we will have to retrain ourselves to return to the office. There are workers who will have to switch from their remote computers to their old desks, which I hope are still there and waiting for their return.

We have to train ourselves for this. We need to find a new rhythm. We need to create a new routine and prepare ourselves for the return to office politics. Meanwhile, the essentials never left. They were onsite the entire time, which means they have to retrain themselves from being treated as essential to becoming ordinary again.

There are some who will care and those who won’t.
I get that. However, in this grand return to the work atmospheres and as we come back to life; as we see people who stayed on the job; whether the job was stocking shelves at the supermarket, delivering food, maintenance people, and of course healthcare workers—imagine how impactful it would be if we could train ourselves to be kind and recognize we are all still essential.

Could you imagine?
It all starts with a few simple words too, like, “Hello,” or “Good morning!”
Trust me, a little appreciation goes a long way.

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