I was 15 when the war came to my town. I have just finished my first class of high school and sent my first article to a IT magazine, the second one, that was already agreed upon, was never sent, as I had no place for my computer in the basement where I lived with my family. The whole summer and autumn of that year.
Such disruption in the life of a teenager is a horrible thing, but it was much more horrible for my parents who had to go to work every day even though there was shelling taking place constantly. Sleeping in the basement and “going above ground” during the time in a day when there was no danger, meant that life almost stopped for me, but the worst was that we didn’t know how long it would last and what the outcome would be, as we were afraid that our town and the whole part of the country could be occupied.
On September 17th 1991, one of thousands of grenades that were shelled to the city hit my house. We were in the basement, no one was injured, but our living room was destroyed. The same day, when the shelling stopped, we started to clean and fix up the room. Furniture was destroyed, but after a day or two, although empty, it was livable. I was astonished that on the third day my parents bought a completely new set of furniture and placed it in the living room. We were in the middle of the war, but they were sure that we won’t be hit again (and in retrospect, they were right).This was the right spirit.
Even in life threatening conditions, life did not stop, there was not a day where the basic shops weren’t open. There were no shortages of power, water, gas and even petrol in special conditions where the town was encircled from 3 sides and the front line was literally on the city borders.
In difficult times it is important to stay calm, listen to advice and to try to make life as normal as it can be.
Schools were closed and reopened only after the armistice that came in the summer the next year – kids were able to finish their classes in two summer months and were able to continue normally in September of 1992.
Of course, times of isolation could not compare to the times of war and we are now 30 years in the future from the first part of my story. Internet and telecommunications are connecting our home-islands, and many of us are able to to work from home. Everyday life is changing in many ways, but many of us can still be productive.
Regular meetings, teleconferences and online interactions are crucial to be able to keep going. Keeping in touch with work teams is important to ensure that work life is as normal as is possible under these circumstances.
I’m having a small ritual with my working colleagues daily – 15 mins of sharing a cup of coffee at the start of each day and we are doing it remotely.
So how do you get through it?
By staying positive and by carrying on as best you could. Connection with everyone, choosing the right tools and continuation of your tasks should make this disturbance easier. For some, this time could even be a starter for creative works and new outputs. At the end, workdays should look as normal as they could, even though the times we live in are not.