Let’s break it down,
We’re on what feels like day 295 of a lockdown that has no clear end date in sight,
We’re antsy, we’re frustrated and we’re not OK.
Trapped inside the houses we’ve mortgaged our souls to afford, and we want out.
Living in confines with the person we told the celebrant we would live happily ever after with, but not like this.
This was not in the brochure.
Things are different, and what was once normal, is now a distant memory.
And this new normal has brought with it some startling revelations.
Like the realisation that our partner is a really, really loud mouth-breather,
That our cooking skills are severely below par,
And that the downtime we’d all been hoping for, isn’t as much fun as we’d imagined.
We’re scared, we’re unsure, and feeling like we’re in the dark,
All of which can be a dangerous mix that can turn the world in on itself,
And instead of banding together as a human race, too often it seems like we’re fracturing apart.
But within these dark times, there is always light,
And for every fight in the supermarket, and for every person that wants to use a global pandemic as a racist blame-game,
There are boundless acts of good happening too, and in times of crisis, the good, the positive, and the kind are the things that will get us through,
And if there is any good that can be found from a pandemic that has ravaged our world – it’s certainly not a bad thing to be on the lookout for.
There’s so much of the bad being aired every second, beamed directly to our phones and TV’s and consumed instantaneously, that to look after ourselves we need to find a balance and some good to consume too,
For it’s the good that will help us solider on and make it out the other side.
Because in these times of crisis, we begin to see what is important, and what we rely on to get us through,
Our minds clear, and we see through new eyes the good that is around us.
The people and the things that give us strength, that give us hope, and brighten our hearts just as much as they brighten our days.
The people who bring us a smile,
The people who makes us feel safe,
Those who put themselves last so they can help others first,
The people who lace up their boots and leave the safety of their homes, eager and willing to play their part,
And those working tirelessly to get the world back on track.
Whether it’s the neighbours we can rely on;
For a wave and a smile from across the street,
Or a conversation across the fence.
The TV, music and movies that entertain us,
Helping us escape the daily fear we’re confronted with for a brief reprieve.
Or the people and the things that make us realise that our lives and our world is worth waiting for, and worth protecting.
So whether it’s a prayer, or thanks,
To God, another entity, or no-one at all,
Whoever it is, whatever it is…
We give it to the workers,
To the kind people,
To the selfless,
To the diligent,
To those who pick us up,
And those who keep us going.
And to John Krasinski while we’re at it.
To the people who have shown us good hearts, rather than showing us division and angst.
Those who gave us something to look at, to laugh at, to share with friends.
The artists whose work we’ve streamed more than ever before,
Realising only now how much we rely on these people to escape, even just for a moment.
To relax a bit, to unwind just a little, so we can wake up and face the fear all over again the next day.
To these people, we say thank you.
When the dust clears, and our world heals, I hope that the new lens we see the world through is one filled with a renewed sense of love and clarity.
I hope that at the end of this, we can see who the real essential workers are.
The people who keep our world turning when everything else stops.
The people who work jobs that pay a pittance, who are the ones we rely on most in these times of crisis.
I hope that we can see our friends and our family as essential cogs in our happiness,
People who enrich us, and more than anything else, bring real and true love into our lives.
I hope we can see that even strangers can be sources of comfort, and sources of kindness.
To see that we all have the ability to shape people’s lives, and that even the smallest of acts can reap the biggest result.
So let’s make sure that these acts are those of kindness and not of division.
And in a time when we’re worried about what is contagious and what it will do to us,
Know that not everything that is contagious is bad.
Because kindness is contagious, and it’s essential that it is something that we spread faster than any pandemic in history,
And a world devoid of kindness will do just as much damage as any virus.
Our bodies react to seeing good and doing good, so we get back just as much as we give.
Science shows us that giving and receiving kindness has such a positive effect on us,
So we need to give it out freely, and be unabashed in enjoying the effects we get from doing so.
This situation we’re in is not something that many of us have experienced, ever.
Being fortunate enough to live in near-peaceful times, it’s come as such a shock to have our day-to-day lives impacted so severely by an unseen threat,
Our everyday freedoms taken away, and danger spreading throughout our communities.
And with that, what we have come to know and expect from our lives has changed dramatically.
Isolation has taken away a part of our identity, the interactive part.
Whilst the part of ourselves that we are when we’re at home remains,
In the scheme of things, spread across a regular twenty-four hour day, who we are at home is such a minor part of our lives and who we are.
We’re also people who work,
We’re colleagues sharing an office,
We’re members of a community,
We’re children who see and care for our parents,
We’re siblings, aunts and uncles, grandchildren,
We’re friends who bring joy to others, and rely on those special others for our enrichment and joy.
Not being able to see my family; my grandparents, my parents, cousins, and my niece and nephews,
It feels like a part of my soul is locked away,
A part of me that I’m not me without.
Seeing them on FaceTime helps, for a bit,
We’re so lucky that whilst the face-to-face is on hold right now, we have social media and phones,
That give us the ability to see each other, hear each other, and help each other through these times in whatever way we all need most.
But as we’re more connected than ever before, having our loved ones right there, without being there, can be even harder.
Having them at arm’s reach through a phone can hurt. Knowing that they are so close by but we can’t be in the same room as them hurts even more.
Having nephews and nieces at such a developmental ages, we’re missing words, steps, and hugs,
I’m missing something that I pride myself on so heavily,
And that’s being Uncle Mike.
That’s being a present, attentive, and caring uncle – and being FaceTime Uncle Mike just isn’t a part of my long-term plan.
And for the first time we’re also seeing our parents and grandparents as fragile,
Seeing their age as a risk-factor,
And the world as their threat.
And for the first time, the way be protect them is to distance ourselves from them,
The way to be there for them, is to not be there for them.
Fighting every urge to see them, because we know that we are shielding them,
Battling our engrained perception of what a good child and grandchild is,
In an attempt to wrap them in cotton-wool until this is all over.
But, hard as it is, I’d much rather be missing them than mourning them,
And I’d much rather be bored inside than be in a hospital bed.
The risks are real, and be them large or small, they are risks that have consequences I am not willing to live with.
Because we’ve been tasked with a role to limit the spread of this insidious disease,
And our role is simple: to play our part – because we’re lucky to live in the countries that we do, and this is our fight for them.
But the battle isn’t just for the times that we find ourselves in now,
The battle will continue on long after a curve is flattened or a vaccine is developed.
The biggest fear I hold is that when things go back to normal, that we won’t ever go back to a normal that we recognise.
I fear that keeping your head down when walking the streets will be our new reality,
That a distrust of other people and a desire for expansive personal space will be the new normal,
And that touch will forever be deemed an unnecessary risk.
I miss hugs, and kisses on the cheek.
I miss the ability to show affection without words.
For a guy who doesn’t know how to do those bro-handshake hug things, I even miss them too.
I miss the world
But that’s what we’re protecting by removing ourselves from it for a bit.
We want to go back to normal,
So we’ll do our bit, fight our fight, and earn back the life we love.
Because every once in a while humans rely on each other,
And it’s not often that we rally together against a threat that cares not for country, race, or religion,
One that doesn’t care about your bank balance, who you love, or what you do,
With so many other invisible enemies and threats out there that threaten every country, we can actually use COVID-19 to our advantage.
We can use it to galvanise us as a human race.
And so we need to turn our fighting away from one another, and turn to the threat that faces us all,
And maybe when it is all over, we can see the power we have when we work together,
And maybe the fights we have against each other, may not seem so important after all.
Help’s always at hand:
Lifeline – 13 11 44
Headspace – 1800 650 890
BeyondBlue – 1300 22 46 36
Qlife – 1800 184 527
1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732