Passionately paving a new path forward

Image credit: Rob Palmer

Sarah Wilson is a well-known former journalist and editor, TV presenter, activist and author. In our November issue, she shares with us her journey through the complexities of climate change, the pandemic and the lessons learned in getting back from a place of disconnection towards what really matters in life.

“I travelled the world for three years to write this book and spoke with as many different people [as I could],” says Ms Wilson about This One Wild and Previous Life, her latest book in which she refers to “the current sense of despair” uniting people at this time of global climate crisis and pandemic.

Throughout that three-year process, she says, “there was a common sense that we’re just disconnected from what matters to us”.

“I describe it as a bit of an itch because, unlike other big issues, say like a war where there’s, you know, we know who the enemy is – in this case, we’re kind of aware that we created this problem,” she says.

“It plays out in the mental health of children. It’s playing out in the way we’re all fighting online, what’s happening in politics – we can see it’s all happening and it’s making us incredibly despairing.

“I [want] to find a path through that overwhelm. We’re feeling overwhelmed by it all.”

She adds that she aims to help find a “hopeful path” to help us “feel less paralysed, like [we] can actually do something”.

Image credit: Rob Palmer

While the Covid-19 pandemic has brought strict restrictions and enforced measures necessary to curb the spread of a virus, changing life as we’ve come to know it, Ms Wilson describes the situation as “almost like an interruption”.

Perhaps a silver lining to the mass global disruption, she suggests, is that “it’s actually got us to stop and think”, which is something we need to “take advantage of”.

“I think that Covid and [the] many calamities that have come upon us have forced us to stop and they’re forcing us to think about what matters to us and what’s now redundant in our lives,” Ms Wilson says.

“Do we really need to chase a bigger home? Do we really need to chase a shinier car? Do we really need that second handbag?

“The planet is struggling [and it] will continue to have more pandemics, more economic recessions, because it’s struggling to deal with the amount we consume … we’ve got to consume less, and we’ve got to think about what our priorities are.

“2020 has provided us all with a wake-up call and also a pause and a reset opportunity.”

Ms Wilson points out that part of that wake-up call, for many of us, has been the need to focus on our health and the importance of developing “resilience moving forward”.

“We saw with the pandemic that if you have pre-existing wellness issues, such as being overweight or obese, or if your lungs are not in good shape, then you’re at greater risk,” she says.

“And I think a lot of people got that wake-up call.

“This is an opportunity to get quite serious about what matters to us, and also our health, so that we can be resilient and have the best chance of turning this ship around.”

2020 has been a tumultuous year, no question, and as the adage goes, nothing good comes easy, which perhaps can be applied to the work required to turn things around and to “forge a new path and find a new way of living”, as Ms Wilson suggests in her new book.

“My main thesis is that we need to come back to nature, and by that, I mean we need to come back to our nature,” she says.

“We need to come back to some of the principles of being a human that we’ve left behind. That includes being in nature and having respect for it … when we love something, we’ll fight to save it.”

Ms Wilson believes that while we’ve become disconnected from nature and our surroundings, we’ve also “become disconnected from each other” – and if Covid-19 has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that it’s time to reconnect.

“We’ve become a fragmented society,” she says. “We’re not used to cooperating, we’re not used to helping … so, some of the things that I share in the book are techniques for radical kindness.”

Image credit: Marija Ivkovic

According to Ms Wilson, “essentially, we need to reconnect with what matters”, which is something pharmacy assistants do within their day-to-day work and dealings with customers.

“Just as an example, in Holland they have supermarkets that have loneliness aisles,” she said. “So, people who’d like to have a chat can go and put their shopping through the loneliness checkouts … and have a chat.

“Taking the opportunity to connect meaningfully will just have such a great carry-on effect for both the retail assistant, but also the customer. We’re all craving a pause, and to hear that someone is caring about us.”

To read the feature in its entirety, as it is featured in the November issue of Retail Pharmacy Assistants magazine, visit:

Feature image by: Rob Palmer.