Appreciate your most valuable asset: you!
According to various media, observations from financial, marketing and economist types suggest that pent-up consumer demand will explode in a spending spike in 2022.
That’s possible, but what is more interesting is how and what consumers will be purchasing.
How will consumers shop?
Currently those choices are only vaguely defined — with focus split between digital and walk-in retail products. Some conjecture has digital products sales increasing with retail flat, while other predictions are that the tangibility, community blend shopping experience symbolised by the grand nature of mall strolling is ready for a massive physical rejuvenation.
What will the consumer mindset be when emerging from the Covid cocoon?
The world is so weary of more than two years of Covid anxiety and grief, job uncertainty, forced isolation and making do with proverbial almost pyjama attire.
These close personal experiences, if one can even call them that, have been the most significant two-year lifestyle changes in our first-world communities within a constant state of instability, denial and flux.
There are lessons to be imparted from this forced togetherness, while separated from the things that delight us — sharing with relatives, going out to dinner, parties, seeing friends, travelling, community shopping and physical dialogue.
Probably the No 1 challenge is/was just getting through this dark time to see the light on the other side while keeping one’s sanity in an inner confined environment.
Differences in tastes, routines, attitudes, habits and minutiae became so over important.
Noticing the tics, coughing, behaviour of the person(s) one loves and lives with 24 hours a day can come close to driving one nuts, except that you realise that your habits are just as annoying to your significant others too.
Multitasking as two family working parents juggled childcare, working from home, home schooling, meeting corporate structure demands and priority deadlines is exhausting.
The bizarre Zoom dress code, corporate on top, pyjamas on the bottom — to the point that any dress sense is simply ignored, because after all, who can really see what you look like. Two-and-a-half years later, no one knows what to wear — in the real world.
This time has been and continues to be a time of intense personal scrutiny and reflection on what you want, what you need and how you want to manage your life in the renewed aftermath of this global tragedy.
I suggest that we may not see an explosion of consumption because many felt denied of impulsive shopping.
The things that we found that mattered the most to most of us during this time and the things that will make us feel better will not be satisfied by just increased consumption — although new things do renew life optimism.
Will we be looking at everything in our lives differently?
Looking at how others handled the challenge: we could write a book on how the real nature, the worst and best of people comes to the fore in the face of serious life events. Not much need to elaborate — you know it’s all there on social media where the worst reactions need not be described.
One does wonder what we have come to. We’ve always thought of our human race as better, kinder, caring — were we wrong? I do not think so.
Bad and tragic events always attract more publicity than unknown, quiet acts of human kindness, while empathy for others less fortunate is emblematic of caring people.
Looking at oneself and relationships differently: it is said that adversity makes people stronger. How adversity is handled can positively redefine a relationship of mutual respect between couples, families, co-workers and community.
Looking at one’s lifestyle to assess what really makes us happy: only you know what the real truth is here. It cannot be defined for you. And you know what to do for yourself in a better future.
So forget about a new year’s resolution.
Focus on appreciating your most valuable asset: you!
This new year 2022 take the time to upgrade your skills every way you can, get yourself better financially, mentally and physically.
Become and even better, new you.
The positivity of this life-changing goal cannot be underestimated.
Spend, yes, first on appreciating yourself, then your family — choosing long-term appreciating assets that will benefit you all for years to come.
Know that no matter what life brings in the future, you and your family have faced this challenge and survived, successfully.
Best wishes for a better year ahead in 2022.
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• Martha Harris Myron, a native Bermudian with US connections, is a qualified international cross-border financial planner, the author of The Bermuda Islander Financial Planning Primers, a Google News contributor since 2016, international financial consultant to the Olderhood Group Bermuda Ltd, and financial columnist for The Royal Gazette. Contact: email@example.com