There is an old Turkish saying my mom used to murmur all the time. “There is a virtue in every vice.”
Covid Period has been one of those times when I was able to experience the virtue in the vice. Covid-19 -that has taken the lives of many people, that has forced voluntary and non-voluntary social isolation on all of us, that has impoverished millions across the globe- has paradoxically brought deep understandings, much wisdom and new horizons to my life.
Professionally, it has enabled me to befriend technology, which has felt so alien to me for so long. I have come to an understanding that human passion for connection and communication transcends all barriers and technology is an enabler of, and not an obstacle to human connection. I came to love on-line focus groups and in-depths. I have met so many interesting clients from across the globe. I have been able to talk to participants from all corners of the country in one group. I have saved incredible amounts of time and energy doing my work on line. I have had more time to think, reflect, work, play and create with the all the extra time technology has bestowed upon me.
Personally, I have been able to stay away from the kaleidoscopic chaos of Istanbul with its incredible traffic and impossible people. I have immensely enjoyed the time I spent at home. It was the first time ever I had time to truly regress, relax, meditate and introspect. Isolating from the outer demands of daily life has enabled me to remember a “me” I had long forgotten. This deep inner connection has been revitalising. I had a chance to remember a “me” that is not only about performance and productivity but also about joy and creativity. I consumed less and saved more. I rushed less and had more moments in which I felt ‘joie de vivre’. I expressed less but experienced more. I connected less but had a higher sense of fulfilment.
On the interpersonal level, I have had deep realisations. I have been able to separate fact from fiction, reality from illusion, assumption from “data”, friends from frenemies in my interpersonal life. Like the storm clearing all the dry leaves on a tree trunk, the challenges of the Covid period has cleared all the toxic and dysfunctional relationships and created deep insights around who the real people in my life are vs. the fake and the superficial.
And on an existential level, I once again came to realise that we face the challenges of life all alone and that our inner resources of perseverance and resilience are the pillars of human survival.
Let me end with a favourite quote from Stanley Kubrick. “However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” I feel blessed for the light that came out of this darkness, which has made me more grounded and wiser.
And again as the old Turkish saying reminds us let’s not forget that there is a virtue in every vice.
September 2021 Mahan Dogrusoz