I’m home alone! My husband has gone to Derbyshire with my son to spend time with his parents. He’s enjoying time with them and getting support so we can work during this coronavirus turbulence.
It feels so lovely to have space and time by myself and also a bit strange.
Like I experience the time alone is more enjoyable when they’re close by and when the experience of being alone is so fleeting. A week to myself, I hardly know what to do with it. But I’m sat here on this Friday evening with a cup of tonic (I’m avoiding the gin whilst this crisis is in progress) and reflecting on what I’m learning, feeling, experiencing through this moment of uncertainty and volatility.
So, what am I learning?
Here are some thoughts I’d like to share with you.
I touch my face all the damn time!
I didn’t realise this until I’ve started to follow the guidance of not touching my face and realising every other second that my fingers are on it.
On my cheek because of resting against my hands while I think, on my lips as I consider what I’m going to do next, on my eyes as I rub them with tiredness.
My hands are always on my face and it’s such a difficult thing to change this habit so I’m not passing on any infections to myself or other people.
I get it, I truly understand the fear of people who are rushing to the shop to stock up on things that they don’t really need.
More rice, more pasta, more bread, more, more, more that isn’t needed.
Whether it’s the remnants of my anorexia which means that I’m fearful of being hungry or just the panic of feeling helpless and fearing for the worst so wanting to protect myself with a fully stocked larder.
I feel the fear and want to get swept up in the pandemonium.
I don’t do anything beyond perhaps buying a tiny bit more here and there – making sure we’ve got some pasta, some rice.
But I get it.
I also feel sadness and anger at shelves being swept clean at the shops and those on low income or working too many hours to care for people being left with nothing.
But I get it.
I also can imagine myself in a different life, being someone who buys things and sells them at at incredibly ridiculous over inflated cost. I hope I wouldn’t be like them, but if I had been born into their life, suffered their hardships, took a few hard turns…I can imagine a reality where I was in their shoes.
I still feel angry at them and despairing at what they’ve done and are doing.
But it just seems like we are dividing at a time that we should be coming together,
I see this moment in time as one that could shift us fundamentally.
We could look back on this time and, despite the hardships and the unbearable pain of loved ones dying, find a cause for celebration.
This time could be one where we did a hard life audit and saw that we were on the path to wreck and ruin. We could turn to ways that are more sustainable for both us and the planet.
Who would’ve thought a few days ago that the aviation industry would come to a standstill? That the government would be paying people unable to work to keep roofs over their head? That neighbours would reconnect to support each other in solidarity.
We’re living through unimaginable difficult but with the ripest opportunity to completely re-imagine our society.
The German Prime Minister was talking about the need for a universal salary for people, countless lives will saved through the reduction in pollution across the world. We’re seeing the value of those who are caring for us – NHS workers, charities and supermarket staff working their upmost to protect and serve us.
I see this is the moment where we could pivot – where businesses could be given grants to get back on their feet but with terms around environmental growth. Where people, used to having less for a while, stop buying so much.
If only this would come true.
I can’t quite believe it possible though.
I also feel helpless, because I don’t know what me – one person – can do to bring this change into being.
Sure I can petition, leaflet, protest.
But what power do I have?
I have the power with you, dear friend, sharing my thoughts and maybe impacting you in some small way – and you, in turn, influencing others.
But I’m unsure of what impact this can ultimately have.
I don’t know if this is all just too little, too late.
I saw a picture of how long we’ve been on this planet in the whole history of the world in a great book I read called ‘Active Hope‘ – if the history of the world was made to fit into a 24 period, humans exist in the last 5 seconds. And if the history of human life was made to fit into a 24 period, the industrial revolution would feature in the final 20 seconds of the day.
Humanity as we know it is a short-term blip on this planet Earth.
That part fills me with hope – we can change, our way of being isn’t written in stone – but I also feel that we might just be a blip on this earth. A race who will disappear.
And it makes me sad for Jenson. It’s not what I want, but it’s sometimes hard to see a way forward.
I’ve started a mutual aid group on my street – you might have one near to you. It’s where residents come together – obviously not physically together – to support each other.
It started through me feeling hopeless and useless, but wanting to do something. And so I put a little note through everybody’s door on my street to say that they can contact me in an emergency – I was willing to walk dogs, pick up shopping or have a phone call for those who are isolated.
And from that has sprung out WhatsApp groups, messages of kindness, group donations as people request clothes for emergency foster care children and share things like books, DVDs and laptop chargers with each other.
I’ve learnt there are a surprising number of animals living on my road, someone who sings beautifully, a plumber, nurse and several teachers…
People who have never spoken to each other have started connecting and planning street parties (post coronavirus), coffee mornings are you come out into your front garden and wave at each other, who knows…we may have a singalong at some point.
But it feels lovely to connect.
Great to get to know each other.
Hopeful to think about what we could be if we knew more people, connected more, used a social resources in a different way.
I’ve seen what could happen if we stopped living just as individuals or a small families and instead got to know people on the street. Helping out each other, trading things, sharing gestures of good will and random acts of kindness.
We’re strong when we stand in solidarity with each other. Regardless of beliefs, political views or backgrounds. We’re all sorts of people living side-by-side, more connected now than ever before.
And it wouldn’t be a coronavirus post without the amazing memes I’ve discovered through my far more digitally connected friends.
They are incredible!
So from the darkness of my hopes for humanity to the lols of coronavirus memes, I’m sending you wishes that you and your loved ones stay healthy and well during this time.