A Century Of Reflections

With the uncertainties of 2020 came the inevitable avalanche of epiphanies of self-awareness. Suddenly, we were forced to slow down and digest the unfathomable; we are not everlasting. Terrifying, right?

This ostracizing truth bears more sincerity than our society can handle. It begs the ultimate treadmill of questions; first and foremost, have we been living life as authentically and purposefully as we could be? 

Flashback one hundred years. 

It’s the roaring twenties. People are living life to the fullest with extravagant parties, interlacing elegance and wild in one delicious evening of flapper dresses and natty suits, dapper hats, and eccentric headpieces. They’re in recovery from the miseries of a global flu pandemic and have now been struck with prohibition. A golden era dimmed bronze with a new set of social restrictions. It’s a time to rediscover, reinvent, restore, regain...re-everything. 

The 1920s thrived in the consequences of being bold and loud. They took up space sporting dropped hemlines, heavily embellished wide-legged suits, and grand innovative ideas. It was the age of economic fortune and cultural explosion as women gained the right to vote and attend universities. While the creative visionaries of the 1920s lived intrepidly, they redefined the meaning of luxury. The Jazz Age was more than an orchestra of elaborate cocktails, it was an ostentatious decade of sophistication, romanced with desires of self-fulfillment. The happier and healthier people were, the fuller their lives felt. Luxury was a lifestyle, not just an array of beautiful things.

Flash forward one hundred years. It is time to fall back in love with the finer things in life.

We started the year with the calamities of COVID-19, followed by isolation and a series of frustrating (though necessary) social restrictions. Like the 1920s, we too are presented with the opportunity to reinvent a modern way of living.

During this time of heightened fear and anxiety, we’re also reconceptualizing the meaning of luxury to create mesmerizing moments to look back on. We’ve thrown on the rose-coloured glasses and are ready to embrace all of life’s greatest intricacies, to help us navigate this new era of perplexity. In the wise words of the late, great L'Wren Scott, “luxury is a state of mind.” To become the best version of yourself, you must consider who you are and who you want to be. Luxury is capturing every essential moment as families start spending more time together, friends reconnect, lovers rekindle, and individuals pursue paths of self-discovery. 

As we explore luxury as a mindset and the notion of capturing every beautiful moment of our lives, we must consider how we are equipped to do so.

We must ask ourselves, is 2020 an alarm bell warning us of the cracks within our relationships in our communities, loved ones and selves? Are the debacles of this year urging us go back to basics and relearn how to be present and mindful in our everyday lives? Is it enough to live through our screens, regardless of how well they keep us connected with the world? Is 21st century technology enough to get us through these trying times?

Or another pressing question, what is our intention when it comes to being present with ourselves and others?

In the 1920s, when the phone rang off the hook, in that loud and obnoxious, but magically nostalgic fashion, the receiver picked up with a “hello.” There was no screening the call. No voicemail to later find out who called. Certainly, no instant messaging to revert to instead of a call. When the receiver picked up the phone, the intention was to connect with whoever sat on the other end. Conversation was purposeful. Time was set aside for a moment of connection. 

One hundred years ago, being present was normal, while today it seems like an indulgence to have somebody’s full attention. It sounds beautiful, the thought that time is a luxury. Back then, people sat with their loved ones, huddled around a radio player, listening with intention to the stories being told. There was no pausing or rewinding. Space was held for the storyteller through static speakers. 

Such forms of communication were new lifestyle luxuries that today we take for granted. In today’s pursuit of power and knowledge, we consume as much as we can as fast as we can. We dizzy ourselves with saved tabs, fast paced video clips and quick conversations. Coffee to go, nose in our phones, always onto the next. So much so, that it can feel like our time is stolen when we are faced with real-time moments.

Have we lost the meaning of being present? 

The steely qualities of our 2020 reality have offered these riveting moments of self-reflection. Much like the exuberant, innovative culture of the roaring twenties, we are entering an age of mindfulness and integrity. Under the umbrella of this shadow in time, we find ourselves reassessing our priorities more than ever before.

Just as the roaring twenties reinvented their modern age by living flamboyantly, it’s our turn to redefine modernity with setting new intentions. It’s time to restore patience and create intentional moments with our communities and loved ones. The practice of presence begins with each of us individually.

Be present in your every moment. Embrace the warmth upon entering your house in the dead of winter. The satisfying sound of a button clicking. When you receive a letter in the mail - and it’s not a bill. The smell of your first cup of coffee in the morning. The taste of that second cup of coffee. Breaking in new shoes. 3am heart to heart conversations. Stepping on a crunchy leaf. Falling in love with a stranger. Falling in love with yourself.

While 2020 has opened the door to creative innovations, the year has also welcomed a series of [re]discoveries. We’re learning to place our physical and mental wellbeing on a deserving gold pedestal. We’re reinventing ourselves in hopes of becoming stronger, better versions of who we were before these strange times. We’re learning that time is a virtue that we often forget in our hectic lives. 

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen people find beauty in questioning societal norms, challenging and reawakening the meaning of prosperity in everyday life. While the 1920s shared similar ideologies, however outdated their versions are in present day, the baton has been passed on to us to become the next inhibited, innovative generation. All eyes are on us. One hundred years from now, how do we want people to remember the 2020s?