Optimistic by nature
I am sometimes inspired by the writings or thoughts of those who dare, who push us to look beyond the obvious, to step back and find solutions for a promising future. This has been the case lately, after reading material that merged many of my beliefs with the need to see the world differently. Now that we are even more aware of our vulnerability, changes in thoughts, attitudes and priorities are essential to a healthy future. Let me raise a few thoughts here, which I hope will spark the optimism in you that they have awakened in me.
I want to make it clear that my intention here is not to dictate the new path to post-pandemic normality. But I do think that the ever-present question in all of us, of how and with what means we will rebuild once this devastating pandemic is over, is more than legitimate. What can we do, starting today, to ensure that we never have to go through this again? On a smaller scale, at the level of seniors’ residences, how can we further improve our ways of doing things to actively contribute to this societal rebuilding?
I don’t know about you, but I am becoming more and more aware of how interdependent we are, regardless of our age, gender or ethnicity, and even whether we are a human, a plant or an animal. So to ensure our well-being and build a world of harmony, I sincerely believe that greater cooperation will be necessary. Because the alarm is sounding: if nothing changes, we will face even more devastating pandemics. And if these attack the most vulnerable first, as was the case with COVID-19, it is of the utmost urgency that we all pull together to save and keep our parents and grandparents with us.
At Le Groupe Maurice, we have often been the catalyst with regard to major societal issues. The aging population and ageism are just a few examples. But we are aware that we cannot fight alone to make things happen. Whatever the cause, cooperation is essential to generate even greater benefits for society.
So I am optimistic. I have faith in humans, because this pandemic, although it has shown us its darker side time and time again, has also shown us that we are much more successful when we work together. How many people and organizations have we helped at Le Groupe Maurice, and how much help have we received in return during these long pandemic months? It has been wonderful and inspiring to see the strength that resides in each of us, to witness the good and beautiful that can emanate from every human being in a crisis situation. Let us continue to be open-minded, to help each other and to trust each other... and thus ensure our survival.
Altruism seems to be the only concept that would allow us, in the short term, to provide for our needs; in the medium term, to flourish; and in the long term, to take care of the next generations. The increase in altruism could allow, for example, scientists, politicians and social workers to sit down at the same table to agree on the best way to build a sustainable harmony in our societal functioning. And that speaks to me.
At Le Groupe Maurice, we have been taking part in the discussions for a long time. We regularly sit down with specialists or groups to find solutions to issues that concern seniors, so that we can share our expertise, but above all, so that we can learn from others. I firmly believe that by being selfless, we will find the best practices to eliminate ageism and succeed in adapting municipal infrastructures to the reality of an increasingly aging population. And you know what? I remain optimistic because, more than ever, the shortcomings surrounding the reality of seniors are being pointed out. Never before have there been so many involved, dedicated and aware stakeholders to address the issues. And believe me, I am proud to be part of it.
The mobilization of citizens, businesses and governments must continue. Whether on a small or large scale, in our daily work or in society, it is an incredible force for making things happen. And the good news, in my opinion, is that we now KNOW we can do it. Didn’t we, together, slow down the spread of a virus (at least in some countries) by mobilizing countless people to create a vaccine? Didn’t you notice, as I did, that when we act together, not just to walk in the same direction, but hand in hand, we really make progress?
If I apply this mobilization to our field, we need the involvement of all players in the sector, decision makers and citizen pressure, in order to ensure the respect and dignity of Quebec seniors. We are ALL concerned by the problem of ageism, because sooner or later, we too will be seniors. Why not embrace the cause together?
The long term
As I have said in the past, human beings are sometimes badly made: it is only when they face a serious problem where it is imperative to act immediately that they develop their mobilization reflex. Can we really learn from our mistakes by being more reactive than preventive? Is it possible to have the wisdom and intelligence to react as firmly, to make the necessary decisions, for longer-term results? We need to invest in the PRESENT, for the future – but the problem is that the future doesn’t hurt. At least not now. It’s much harder to motivate ourselves for something that’s going to happen in a decade or two, because we don’t feel the consequences immediately. A collective effort is needed to be considerate, both for future generations and for the eight million species that are our fellow citizens in this world. Which is, once again, altruism.
But you will not take away my optimism, because being a visionary, thinking beyond the obvious, will ensure our salvation. We are intelligent and have the chance to exercise our creativity in a dynamic society, which has the means and which is not at war. Anything is possible...
Finally, I realized that when we are impressed or amazed by something, we respect, protect and defend it. This awe attracts us, creates a sense of belonging and a desire to care, which leads to action. If I apply this to nature, for example, I can guarantee you that I want to protect our forests when I see the beautiful green trees around my cottage. And when it comes to the elderly, don’t we want to respect and defend them when we know about their knowledge, their wealth, their goodness, their history?
I hope that we will emerge victorious from this crisis, which has thrown its best punches at us, because we will never again accept to suffer so many blows. By becoming aware of the fragility of our global balance, of our interdependence and of our great share of responsibility in this period of upheaval, we will achieve a change of mentality, of culture. And when opinion changes, the world can change. With collaboration and selflessness, we will march towards glorious horizons. And of that, I am more than optimistic.