2022 might be a tipping point. As we emerge (in some form or other) from the pandemic, we realise just how skewed realities have become.
Out reliance on technology during the pandemic will lessen. Our reliance on TV will diminish. Our reliance on structured norms, even going to the office, will diminish.
Our lives are different.
Of course, the technology industry did us a huge service, keeping us in touch in ways that would have been unthinkable in previous pandemics. It also triggered and accelerated emerging trends, slowly but surely, without the kick in the pants that the pandemic has brought about.
2022 might well be the year when that trend slows, and we regroup, take a view and work out what is fundamentally important. What the new reality is and what it means for the value of, well, everything from politics to tech stocks, from real estate to tourism, will be re-examined.
Governments worldwide are deciding that with testing and effective vaccines, Covid will become endemic, not a pandemic, and travel restrictions will increasingly lift throughout 2022. It will take a while for consumer confidence to return, but it will be a beginning.
It may not get back to pre-pandemic levels (we may never do that). Still, conferences will be better attended, travel for holidays, and visit family and friends will increase, and our reliance on technology will lessen.
Instead, 2022 might see our return (for some) to being irritated by technology, not forgiving it for almost anything because, well, you can actually see your mother in Australia or your aunt in Austin, Texas. For others, it will mean that they can live in a ‘safer’ digital world.
What impact this rebalancing will have on the value of companies (Apple hit $3 trillion!) is something that we can also guess at, but it certainly seems that tech stocks will not remain at the dizzy heights they have achieved during the pandemic, with valuations at already bubble popping levels.
2022 might indeed be the year that we can see old friends and family, for many, the first visit for years. That will change our perceptions of many things – politicians, technology and the priorities that govern our lives.
Let us hope that the rebalancing is a good one.
2022 might be the year that starts the most significant long term change for a very long time.
A bit like waking up from a coma.