As we head to Diwali, COVID-19 imposed restrictions are also ending in two of Australia’s largest states, and there is promise of resuming normal life. Strange to be analysing ‘normal’ and ‘not normal’ life, but then the last 18 months have been, well, largely strange.
We have all been living a life of suspended animation in which we seem to be moving, but not going anywhere. Both Victoria and NSW have gone through extended lockdowns, with Melbourne holding the grim record of 264 days of cumulative lockdown over a 570-day period. Sydneysiders had 12 Local Government areas under curfew and other strict lockdown measures. And let us not talk about interstate or international travel.
So, what are some the takeaways of the last 18 months?
- First up, Carpe diem, or ‘Seize the day’. Do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, that thing that you thought was too expensive or too time-consuming or you were too old for. Don’t put it off for another day.
- Don’t take family and loved ones for granted. There are way too many stories of near and dear ones taken from us by this deadly virus. Life is unpredictable; build and enjoy good relationships.
- Set time aside for a hobby. Our professional lives give us strict regimentation. Being in work mode even after clocking off, is a recipe for burnout. To create balance, develop a hobby that allows you to relax. Find an activity that induces a flow state, that feeling of being so immersed in an activity that you lose track of time.
- Appreciate science. It was science that stepped up to the mark in the recent health crisis, and in less than a year, managed to research, trial, and approve a number of vaccines to fight this virus to amazing results.
- Value the givers amongst us. It’s amazed me to learn how ordinary the pay scales are of our healthcare workers, educators, and others who work to increase the quality of our lives. Perhaps it is in their calling to make the world a better place and to give rather than to take, as compared to other professions that are more take than give. My respect for those on the frontlines of this pandemic.
- Cherish your friends. Friendship networks sustain us through adversity. While we’ve learned now to live with virtual social networks (having added Zoom only months ago), it is vital to maintain real relationships beyond those WhatsApp emojis, Facebook likes, or 280 characters or less on Twitter. To physically meet and greet, exchange ideas, debate serious issues, discuss frivolous matters, share creative endeavours – these are healthy aspects of social relationships.
- Trust the governments at all levels to act as shock absorbers at times of crises. After all, they can print money, and they are aware of their power to help their constituents. Even if their goal is to win votes and retain power, for those in need, the government’s capacity to roll out grants and incentives should not be underestimated. In fact, if they demonstrated their power during the financial crisis in 2008 and COVD-19 in 2020-21, then they can unleash that capacity to create momentum should they decide to take on climate change.
We each have our own takeaways and memories from the last two years of intermittent lockdowns; what we value and treasure remains a very personal journey.
READ ALSO: Uniting the latte and shisha divide