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This has been a hugely shocking and disruptive time for all of us. We will never forget it and it will be written into history as a significant world event.
While it feels relentless and never ending right now, with even the most privileged and stable of us feeling uneasy and like nothing is guaranteed, one day all of this will be over (thank goodness) and I really hope that there are some things I will remember (besides the facts that I will embellish for my grandchildren haha).
What’s really important.
I am privileged enough to be able to say that it won’t be money. I’m not saying it’s not truly life saving/changing. I’m saying that right now I am just going to be grateful if we get through this with our health and our loved ones being well. Because a lot of us will lose out financially and our economy is/will be suffering right now. At the end of the day, we as humans will get through this and so many people will rebuild because we are smart, creative and resilient.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be significant negative impacts from this that will need working through but hopefully we will value our physical and mental health more than we might have before while working relentlessly towards our material goals.
I have been thinking about this lately because as lucky as my family is, we have still had to consider the worst case scenarios in so many aspects of our life together. It really puts things into perspective.
I really believe that a lot of us could be left with nothing but the bare bones on varying scales of hardship and I tell myself that whatever happens, we (my family) will figure it out. I feel privileged enough to be able to believe this with my whole heart.
I hope we will all remember to be selfless and vigilant with contagious illness from now on.
Before the coronavirus there were every day, ‘good’ people everywhere (you can name a bunch of them that you know and love – let’s be honest) who went out when they were sick. Who would tell you when you met up that they’re at the tail end of a horrible gastro outbreak in their home (and you wished you could just run away without seeming rude). The people who would value turning up at work with a cold or the flu over the health of their colleagues so they could prove they were a productivity hero (not true) and whose bosses were jerks and expected them to turn up.
Those who would be coughing and spluttering at the shops when they didn’t need to be there. Touching everything and basically being gross.
Now that there is a deadly disease that we have no vaccine for, most of us are suddenly doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Our communities. We are remembering to better our hygiene. We are self isolating when unwell. We are thinking a lot more about our exposure. We are being careful about where we go. We are telling unwell people to stay home and not go to work. We are finding our voices when we want someone to keep their distance (rather than just sitting there feeling awkward and uneasy about someone’s reckless decisions).
I hope that after a vaccine for Covid-19 is found, we will remember this for the flu, gastro, common colds etc etc. I hope that those who wouldn’t have vaccinated themselves or their kids before this will start to realise its importance. I hope there will be more work support for parents whose kids are sick so that they do not feel tempted to dose and dump their kids in school or childcare. I hope that those who have compromised immune systems or just have a bad year with contagious illnesses do not feel scared for their jobs and that alternatives like working from home etc are more readily available as options (we have all proven that while it may not be preferred we can all make it happen at the drop of a hat).
I hope that tired stay at home parents won’t send their sick kids to school because they’re just so “over them” being at home. That we will realise how resilient we are and why we need to stop being selfish.
Being stuck at home for an extended time really sucks but I’m lucky and I have support. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world for me. I’m stronger for this.
This is a very personal one for me. You may relate or you may not and that’s OK.
I just found a blog post in my drafts folder that was never published. But it was written about me finding January to be a difficult month of the year, because the school holidays seem to drag on and it feels like my social life really hits a lull for some reason. Happens every year. During that time I get anxious. I get worried that I have no friends or no life. I worry about whether I’m doing enough with the kids to help them socialise or whatever. I freak out in January is what I am saying. I get very irrational about it all and weirdly lonely and I’ve been trying to work on that every year.
Well, March/April 2020 me is like HOLD MY BEER, JANUARY KEZ. YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’! And you know what? March/April 2020 me has risen to the challenge! With the pressure to socialise or keep up with the Joneses taken away, it has allowed me to really re-evaluate and I think I’m doing OK! My kids are developing and growing well, despite 2020’s best efforts. I am doing much more video chatting, check ins with loved ones, etc than I ever have. Everything has been put into perspective (see above for remembering what’s important).
Moving forward I want to remember that my kids deserve more credit than the January me gives them for being resilient in the quiet times. I want to remember that I can reach out more and find creative ways to be social. I want to take the pressure off myself even when I’m not forced to.
I hope everyone else will remember that video chatting and checking in regularly is still an important tool in connecting (so I won’t feel like a weirdo for wanting to continue it).
I hope we all remember to value our ‘essential’ workers.
I think we take for granted the people who never stop. Who keep working through just about everything. The risks these people take to ensure the human world keeps turning. Everyone from doctors, nurses and other medical staff, to supermarket employees, delivery drivers, takeaway outlet employees and the people who empty our bins every week.
I hope that people will value their local small businesses more and continue supporting them.
I hope that we will realise that stay at home/work at home parents have worked bloody hard to flatten the curve because we can and because we want to. In some families, if it wasn’t for us, we’d be screwed.
I hope that those in really essential work roles within bigger business will be treated with the respect and the pay they deserve, rather than being exploited.
Fuck it, I just hope we all remember everyone in society plays an important role. I hope we will learn to value every individual who does the right things to help our communities thrive. I hope we will remember that every person, no matter what their income or job title is, has a story and that they matter. We are starting to think more about how our behaviour affects others and I hope that people will continue to show each other respect, whatever walk of life they are from.
I hope we will be a less shallow, selfish and entitled society.
I also hope we’ll be able to find forgiveness for how some of the people around us have handled this situation. It can be hard to look at some people the same again after they share a wacky conspiracy theory or ignore all of the directions we are given to try to keep people safe, for selfish reasons. I try to not be too judgemental but I admit there have been moments!
Some people have handled this situation more gracefully than others. I will try to have empathy. Even if I have to show it from waaaaay over here while they are waaaaaay over there.
Most of all, I have been moved by people’s answers to polls on the first things they will do when this is all over. I thought I’d say silly things like “get a hair appointment” (trust me – it will be well needed) but my heart just keeps saying, “visit my grandparents” or “hug my parents” or “go to the shops and buy what we need without fear”. I think a lot of people feel the same. It’s the simplest things that fill our cups.
I am sending love to you all.
What do you hope to remember from this time?