Have you ever wondered what the phrase "and days of auld lang syne" means? When I was a kid, I thought the song was talking about an old lane sign and pictured an old dirt road with a wooden signpost pointing to it. Now, much older and wiser, I understand the true meaning of the song is reflection on the days that have passed.
As we look back at the past year and all it brought us, many will not have fond memories. The COVID pandemic that was supposed to end actually took a turn and developed variants. COVID adapted and we were expected to as well. Instead, we were also hit with supply chain backups, labor shortages, increased wage demands, long days, shortened sleep, vaccination mandates, and a few other things. Not exactly what the song is trying to stir up.
If we become introspective about 2021’s days of auld lang syne, some messages are received, loud and clear. Work-life balance is more important than it has ever been. Employees, including HR peers, don’t want to work long days and weekends, regardless of how it will look on a paycheck. Sometimes, no amount of preplanning will help that ship dock or find that missing container of supplies. The things that used to be staples, such as insurance benefits, have been replaced with paid time off or other non-traditional benefits to make life easier to manage.
In some ways people reverted back to the old days, when family vacations were the highlight of every summer. Dinner time was the center of catching up and conversation. Walking the dog, going for bike rides, and being outdoors went hand-in-hand with sunshine and warm weather. Some of the simple pleasures of the 1950s and 60s seem to be renewed, as people have looked for alternative activities that have not been left behind with lifted COVID-19 restrictions.
Did you find a new old outlet that brought you joy in the past year? Maybe it was reading, maybe it was home improvement projects, and maybe you were able to rekindle an old friendship that was lost due to lack of time to connect. With all of the roadblocks and things you were not able to do or control, what is the thing that kept you going and made things seem a little simpler? In the midst of things we cannot control going into 2022, let that be the focus of 2021 days of auld lang syne that leads to a happier new year.