A lot of people are finding it very difficult to deal with the pandemic. Where I am based it has been extended again longer than we thought and the restrictions are tough. I got picked up with two policemen in the middle of quiet wood when out with my son one weekend and a dog. The escorted us home and demanded we hand over all our id for checking. I was a vulnerable person, that would have felt intimidating.
The over 70’s have been told expect to stay indoors until the Autumn here. Older friends of mine are feeling sick with worry that they will have to wait for months to be allowed out of their own homes for leisure and walking activities. None of us knows when it will end or when we will be allowed to go out and about into normal life once more.
I have been lucky to have my 20 year old son staying with me during the lockdown. He has been able to be with me, help in the house, cook meals and be the one to go out and get food provisions. I can continue with life without too much disruption.
I have found that I have more hours in the day for myself to read, to write, to rest, journal and to organise things. With the internet and online calls, it has been possible to stay in touch digitally with some of the people I need to connect with.
As my son is here with me at home, we are connected daily and I am forever grateful. Without him, my story would be very different and much harder. I have heard stories from people I know who are struggling with little ones, experiencing fear and a lot of anxiety about how long we are here for and what will happen to them economically and for their businesses in the coming months.
I do believe that we will all see the world vastly differently when we get out of this lockdown. We will think more carefully about where our food comes from, what the source is for the things we buy and ask more questions about the sustainability of our lifestyle in general. We have gained a sensitivity to ask more about how things arrive to us.
We will now question how much we need to travel. We have learnt how to get by without the need for extensive international travel. As a population, we will likely pull back from completing unnecessary air travel for health reasons and for climate reasons. Previous patterns of air travel may never return to the levels that we were seeing before.
Many have enjoyed not having a busy commute to work in long lines of traffic in cities. We have realised that a lot of meetings we rushed to before were unnecessary and now the idea of taking flights or cars for working has been stopped for now. I’m not sure it will go back to previous levels. Now people have experienced the benefits of working from home, they won’t want to rush back to their offices or places of work for time-wasting in lots of unnecessary face to face meetings and dealing with office politics each day.
People have not been experiencing FOMO (fear of missing out) as there is nothing going on out there that we are missing out on. Most are in the same situation of staying home. We find the streets eerily quiet, concerts are cancelled, our clubs are not opening, the bars and beaches are closed to all. There are stories of policeman arriving in boats, arresting people who are walking on coastal walks around our island of Ibiza.
If you were to predict a year ago that the whole world would quickly turn on the breaks and be forced to stay home and not leave for weeks on end, we would not have thought it was possible, and yet that is the reality that many of us are now facing.
We are learning what it is like to not have to be social with other people, not to be going out to eat or drink in cafes and bars, learning to cook food at home buying food locally sourced.
All the new routines and habits we have been asked to adopt have helped the planet to rest, to reset and to regrow without the pressure of billions of humans endlessly consuming and travelling. The Earth is experiencing a retreat of its own and from what we are seeing of reports from around the world, Nature is, of course, winning and doing well out of this experience. Wildlife is returning where they had disappeared previously. Creatures who have not been seen in years are coming back again. Cities are experiencing less smog and pollution from the reduction in manufacturing and human activity. LA is smog free for the first time in decades and many other cities too.
We need to pay a lot more attention to mental health at this time. For men, women, children and the elderly, it is red flag time. Many people are feeling the pressure of being made to stay home and coupled with the fear of getting ill and the uncertainty around income and job security, we have a recipe for some serious mental health problems arising.
The work of the doctors, nurses and people on the front line have rightly come into the spotlight. The irony of our political leaders who recently voted against pay raises for nurses and doctors have fallen ill and were dependant on these people to save their own lives. Let’s hope and pray that we will never again underestimate the value of these incredible souls working on the front line of the medical and emergency services.
We must keep an eye on each other, look after each other and reach out to those at-risk groups. Let’s support our local charities, food banks and initiatives to help those having a challenging time and struggling with covering the basics at this time of the pandemic. And there are many in this situation.
We will come out clearer, more appreciate and gracious after this. We will realise how lucky we are with what we do have and we will be living more consciously and more awake on this planet. Let’s hope that we will grow with others to be more attuned to grace and gratitude towards Nature’s bounty around us and being free to walk in our own neighbourhoods. Let’s never take it for granted again.
Stay well, stay safe my friends.
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