It’s crazy how life has changed in the space of two or three short weeks. The government has officially banned us from going out, but we should have been doing this earlier anyway to help reduce unnecessary deaths. But now we are here. Now we live in isolation. Now we can’t see family and friends.
And I know it’s hard, really I do. I have a toddler and a baby. That combo is never going to be easy when you’re asked to stay indoors for months on end. But I think it’s hard for everyone…
For the single gal at home on her own day in day out
For the single parent of one or more children
For a couple who can’t hang with any of their friends
For a family going through a divorce
For an elderly person or couple who can’t see their children
For parents of children of any age
For the pregnant lady who is freaking out right now about her unborn baby’s well being
For single dudes who really want to hang with their mates
For those struggling with their mental wellbeing
No one is getting an easy ride. Everyone is feeling the pinch. Everyone who is abiding by the rules.
And I get it. It’s the only way to stop this virus and get us back to some semblance of normal sooner rather than later. But we don’t have to like it.
I’ve been going through a range of emotions from exhausted and unsettled, to strangely calm and focused. I realise now more than ever that routine is the only way I’ll survive this lockdown. Routine for me, for my toddler, for my partner, and even for our baby who knows no different.
For me, knowing that I’ll get up, have breakfast, have a coffee (I could kiss my Nespresso machine Every. Single. Day), get dressed, workout (thanks Joe Wicks), shower, and then start some more formal playtime and structured learning with my little one… provides my mind with stability. It tells me that I have things to look forward to. That if the sun is out, we will go out to the courtyard and stretch our little legs for a bit a few times a day. That I will have a lovely lunch with my family and enjoy the fact that I can even sit at a table and eat my lunch that way every day. How lucky am I. I don’t walk for miles each day to get my water. I just turn a tap on. I hit a switch and my laptop charges and I can play educational games with my child. I mean, this really isn’t the hardest place to be right now.
And yet it is still strangely discombobulating.
The world as we know it has completely changed. When you walk past a stranger in the street, you almost want to give them a shifty look as if questioning, ‘are you the culprit spreading Covid19’. It’s stupid to think like that and yet one can’t help it regardless. And then when you hit the park and see two strangers walking in your direction, suddenly you side step them a safe 2 meters away like a weird air Tango in Strictly Dancing, only this time, you don’t touch your dance partner for fear of getting penalised…with death.
So yes, it’s a confusing time.
But the routine helps me to avoid the strangeness and find safety and calm in the [family] solitude. Routine after all, grounds us. It gives us some way of knowing what is next. Of having something to look forward to. And to help us not spend all our time on the couch binge watching every box set that Netflix or Amazon have ever released. I reckon even those amongst us who aren’t big TV watchers will have consumed dozens of television shows by the end of this.
And routine helps our minds know that order is still around even when the world seems manic.
Our Earth is breathing for the first time in years. With aeroplanes and transport largely coming to a grounding halt, our Earth has a chance to restore itself. It’s a strange kind of fairness really isn’t it. We have treated it so badly for generations, and then a virus that hurts us allows it to gradually start to restore itself.
And in the same way that the Earth has time to find its balance, I feel like this gives humans everywhere a chance to find their balance too. A chance to find a new way to be at peace. A chance to get close to those we haven’t had “time for” recently. A chance to pick up a meditation routine and try it daily. A chance to exercise every single day and get the heart pumping. A chance to find our voice in writing or morning pages. A chance to learn a new skill.
This discombobulating, messed up, crazy period in our lives will later be but a flicker in time. But right now, for everyone everywhere, it is everything.
And there probably won’t be a single human unaffected (perhaps only those who already live alone in forests - I imagine they’ll be pretty safe). No one is safe from the mercy of this virus. No one gets to use their money to avoid it. We have seen Princes and politicians get it, celebrities and doctors. It makes for an even playing field everywhere.
Yes, this is a war, but a war on us, rather than ones we have created ourselves in the past. I wonder if the world realises it is actually time to lay down building guns and nuclear weapons and use that money for restorative purposes. To plant trees where the fires devastated livestock and forests in Australia; to build communities up where floods have wiped out homes and hopes in third world countries; to donate money to organisations that help stop deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest.
Yes, a lot could be said about this war. And a lot could be done. For the first time ever, I feel we as a race have a chance to come out of this war and do things differently. My only question is will we?