I mentioned in my initial ‘Reflections under lockdown‘ that I feel a bit guilty about actually enjoying this lockdown. In my defence, I can mention that I’m only doing what is recommended by the authorities to avoid spreading the contagion. Stay at home and only go out for essential outings like shopping, work or to exercise.

It has resulted in one of our happiest Easter holidays ever. Mostly stress free, playing games, cooking, barbecueing, biking or walking around the neighbourhood, reading, blogging… During these few days I’m not even teleworking but only doing activities that I like and taking it generally easy. It set me thinking.

Now, for the first time, I’m no longer dreading the possibility of boredom or feeling useless when I eventually retire. On the other hand (hoping we’ll come out of this pandemic relatively intact), in addition to the elimination of the stress caused by the million expectations of work, in particular the need to be available for most of the useful part of my day, I’ll be able to do what I like best: the activities mentioned above plus the considerably important bonus of going out and about. Castles, walking trails, cycling routes, yet unknown beauty spots in Belgium, and so many interesting countries and regions whose charm is still waiting to be discovered.

I realise, now, too, that if and when we manage to control this virus, society should seriously strive to minimise as much as possible the obligation to work. The more I look at it, the more it’s beginning to feel like slavery. Machines and robots should do the work. We’re not there yet, of course, technologically, but that’s where we should aim.

Life is too short and precious to waste behind a desk, at a cash register, collecting other people’s rubbish or producing food. We should be pursuing creativity, exploring the world, enjoying ourselves and each other’s company. Instead, we have devised a system where everyone is obliged to be enslaved for most their life earning a fictitious entity called ‘money’. Do we really need to? And for so many long hours? Couldn’t we, at least, through massive input by machines, seek to limit our slavery to just a handful of hours per week, checking and maintaining the system, researching even more ways for us not to have to labour away our lives?

The featured image above was taken recently on one of my ‘recommended’ outings to exercise during lockdown. It shows a group of trees at the Arboretum forest, between Overijse and Tervuren. I like the way the tree trunks stand out sharply against the sunlit background.