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The Need for Growth during the Pandemic

Creating Controlled Chaos within an Ordered Life

· Human Nature

Order is necessary, as it ensures survival. Chaos is necessary as it opens the organism up to new possibilities.

It has been 19 months since Covid-19 started to become a mainstream news story, and 17 months since Australians were banned from travelling overseas. Which has been touted as one of the strictest coronavirus public health responses in the world (Meixner 2020). Melbourne has just ticked over 200 days in lockdown, if we are released from solitary confinement on the 2nd of September as promised it will be 7 months, nearly 40% of my life since the Pandemic began that I've spent in lockdown. This new reality, the fact that I cannot travel overseas and have limited visitation rights with family and friends given sporadically throughout the year, has made me reflect on the importance of chaos within our lives.

Our routines, or perhaps the routines of those within the rat race, are so well ordered and usually follow a similar pattern. 

  1. Wake up
  2. Eat Breakfast
  3. Travel to Work
  4. Work until Lunch
  5. Eat Lunch
  6. Work until Home time
  7. Travel Home
  8. Cook Dinner
  9. Afterwork Activity
  10. Television
  11. Bed

There will be many variations of this pattern, and many opportunities within each of these activities to 'spice' things up a little, to add a little bit of chaos to the ordered monotony of life, such as; the diversity of choices we have for our breakfast, lunch, and dinner, our choice of content we listen too on the way to and from work, listening to podcasts, music, or audiobooks. Or if the means of transportation affords us, we can play games, read a book, or even chat with our colleagues as we move between 'buildings'.


Even within a relatively repetitively ordered life, most of us allow for moments of controlled chaos. These moments are in a sense creating a safe space allowing us to facilitate a potentially unfetted human need for personal growth within each day.

The old adage, that "if you're not growing, you're dying" plays somewhat into the above discussion.

Growth doesn't mean the same thing to me as it does to others, but how I'd like us to consider growth for the purposes of this reflection is a new experience we can bring into tomorrow, that often adds to an experience we learned yesterday.


There is a unique spontinaity that arrises from conversations when in person with friends or family, rather than the almost ordered forced reality that comes with Zoom or Phone conversations.

Having conversations with our friends or family in person, allows us to grow in several ways: 

  • It gives us an opportunity to articulate our experiences, or story since we last spoke; the movies we've seen, the weekend adventures we've taken, the books we've read, what we've accomplished at work, or as a personal project, the current political topics, or all the Goss in keeping up with the Kardashian's.
  • It also gives us an opportunity to listen to others share their story.

During the pandemic, our stories have converged, we all have similar things to tell,  there has been a significant decrease in the potential for controlled chaos in our lives. This inturn seems to be changing the conversations we're having. We speak about the walk, or exercise we've accomplished, perhaps the news articles we've all been glued to, or the dissapointment of the trips we've had to cancel, or the desire for things to return back to normal.


Conversations are meant meant to be a break from the ordered mundanity of our lives. The purpose of conversations is not to share the same stories, or listen to the same stories on repeat. We have a yearning to share what's new, and to hear what's new from others.

This yearning for a break from ritual might be the reason we desire travel so much. As it often provides a large dose of chaos, providing a momentary reprieve from the ordered exitence of our life's pattern.

Order is necessary, as it ensures survival. Chaos is necessary as it opens the organism up to new possibilities.


Having spent now over 200 days in lockdown, I've had a lot of time to look within. Have I been yearning to travel, or have I been yearning for the growth that the controlled chaos of travel provides? 

I guess it is both, but the cravings for growth, for chaos, has been curbed by; relearning piano, learning how to paint, consistently practicing writing and blogging, learning new skills like UI and UX design (which I had never given time to before), learning new recipes to cook, achieving physical personal bests, and changing a habit from immersion in Television, to immersion in books. The last, being a proud moment, it doesn't sound very impressive now days to say, 'I've watched 30 seasons of TV shows this year', it does sound a little more impressive to say 'I read 48 books in the first 6 months of this year'.

With all that I'm working towards, I do feel satisfied that I've got enough potential chaos within my ordered routine, that I don't need to go looking for more chaos overseas. Which makes me wonder… Is travel or even just the desire to travel, a physical or chemical response that is requesting us to invite more chaos into our lives, to challenge ourselves, to continue to grow?


The Coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed our previous life patterns. We have become more ordered, or perhaps we have just lost key opportunities for controlled chaos, for growth, within our lives. 

Given there is a need for controlled chaos, that each day we need to find new ways to stretch ourselves; physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, even creatively.

What activities, goals, or experiences would you suggest to those who are in need of inspiration to satisfy their 'need' for greater controlled chaos?