So… here we are coming towards the end of March and I think it’s safe to say that the last couple of weeks have been very different.
I don’t know if it’s just me, and I will admit that I am not known for keeping up with local, national or global affairs (I definitely fall into the ‘ignorance is bliss’ train of thought), but the coronavirus seemed to come at me out of nowhere. This, along with the fact that I hadn’t really engaged with what was happening globally, has left me shocked at the pace at which my life (and I am sure - your life) has changed within the last two weeks.
When I think about the change, it is less about my personal circumstances and more about the changes for society more broadly. The lack of social interaction, the lack of convenience, for many the lack of choice and feeling of autonomy which has been lost. The forced sense of enclosure, for many the forced inactivity - where people are vulnerable due to health or those that find themselves temporarily or permanently without jobs. For me this translates as a lack in purposefulness, a lack of motivation, of knowing what to do for the best - for those I love, for myself and for my community.
I often feel that the admin work (which I recognise I am privileged to be able to do from home - and continue to get paid for doing) is pointless. This feeling is aggravated further when I think of those who continue to risk themselves to keep us safe and healthy; those in the food shops, the delivery drivers, the teachers and of course our GPs and NHS staff - the soldiers who will, on our behalf, win this war. I am immensely grateful and immensely proud of these people, but I can’t shake the sense of ‘what can I do?’ and ‘should I do more?’ I then find that I feel almost paralysed by my own inaction - not knowing what to do and seemingly waiting to be told what my next step should be. I wonder if others feel the same.
Now I realise that so far this post feels a little bleak. My temptation is to apologise for it, but the reality is there are moments, hours and days when I have felt bleak. I have felt lost and overwhelmed. I have felt sad and confused. I have felt lonely. I have felt that there are people who need me who I cannot reach out to in the same way I usually would and I often feel an immense sense of obligation - to put up with whatever is required of me, because it feels so small compared to what some people are being asked to do. So, I won’t apologise. There is a lot that feels bleak. However, there is also a lot which provides me with positivity, with hope and brings a smile to my face. I have spoken more to friends and family over telephone and video call than I normally would and are getting creative in a bid to entertain one another! I have seen people using social media to bring people together at a time when we feel a little disconnected. I have seen people make themselves available to support those in their community and individuals working incredibly hard to deliver key services and communications. In short, I get a sense of our humanity, our humility.
These circumstances we find ourselves in are unprecedented, we are all individually faced with our own unique situation, our personal challenges and our own range of feelings and emotions, so I want to say - loud and clear: whatever you are feeling is valid (and that includes if you are feeling okay, positive or even if you are not feeling anything much at all). Find the time to take care of yourselves and those you love - there really isn’t a right answer (except maybe - stay home).