The other crisis
You felt it coming.
We all did.
A week into quarantine, the walls got stern, the world got quiet and you wondered – could we ever emerge from this the same?
Predictions started swirling, every pundit suddenly privy to the whisperings of the COVID crystal ball.
Sure, we might be saving ourselves from a hyper-communicable disease – but were we exposing ourselves to something much worse… ourselves?
You see, we weren’t built to be alone.
Tribal creatures, through and through, our DNA is wired to crave community, connection and the great comfort these things bring us.
We are social by nature and by nurture.
And so the looming months looked more like a prison sentence than a civic duty.
Articles started coming out.
My own favourite author predicted the ‘mental health crisis‘ that would await us before the end of all this.
Turns out I fucking hate puzzles
Isolation started to get tough.
We collectively began to pace and paw at the doors of our houses.
The days became sharp and pointed. So did our tongues.
We bought a puzzle – turns out I fucking hate puzzles.
The morning walk of the dog around the block became the only ray of sunshine in the day – and heaven forbid if rain clouds dared to interfere.
But quietly. Cautiously. Without fanfare or announcement. The slow life crept upon us.
Suddenly we’d been gifted time – the same present we’re all given every day that we repeatedly forget to unwrap.
Those 86,400 seconds we throw away, as though we can ever get them back again.
The hours you’d spend in transit, in lines and with people you probably shouldn’t – as though they were worthy of the precious minutes you gave them of your short little life.
Every video and phone call suddenly felt that much more important.
And damn if you didn’t make more of an effort to make and take those calls – they became your only link to the outside world.
And so I noticed – I began to breathe more deeply in this space.
In this great in-between.
It seems we’ve all been desperate for this.
We’re more resilient than we give ourselves credit for – even the science says so.
Funny how the universe gives us exactly what we don’t think we’d ever want and yet it turns out it might be the one thing we all need.
I don’t know what the world will look like next month or next year.
Our memories are short and our patience even shorter.
Will we be able to hold onto some small morsel of this shared magic?
Will you call you mum more often – and turn on the camera so you can see her face?
Will you work from home more days of the week now – so you can spend those extra moments with your kids, your dog, your partner – yourself?
Will you spend more weekends at home – because you know you can make your own fun there, without spending a dime, using up precious resources or looking any different?
Or perhaps we aren’t meant to remember this.
Perhaps it’s just this – a moment in time, we will point to and laugh at and make funny memes about.
I hope not.
I hope we learn.
I hope we grow.
I hope we change – if not for our own sake, for the planets.
And so I’ll leave you with this thought:
If the world turned back on tomorrow – what would you keep from this COVID life?