I feel like I woke up in some strange dream that I can’t get out of. A bizarre version of Footloose, where hugs are banned, not music. A real nightmare for people who thrive on connection. It doesn’t always have to be a physical thing, there are people I am happy not to hug, but nothing beats a long warm comfy embrace from someone who truly cares about you.
Hugging just makes the world a better place and to distance yourself from, well… EVERYBODY. It’s hard on everyone but especially huggers. But I’m learning how to adapt.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am totally a cheerleader for STAYING AT HOME! I am embracing, STAYING AT HOME! I think everyone should be STAYING AT HOME if they can, where they can, when they can.
But I thank you all from the bottom of my heart, who are out there fighting this thing from the frontlines, all medical staff, grocery store workers, post office workers, pharmacies, teachers for a time and more.
Stay home. Stay safe. Save lives.
Just like the business around us who are forced to close their doors (to save lives), we too have to reinvent ourselves. Like the airline workers, they are being trained to help out in the hospitals-cleaning and changing bed linen. Or the café owner who is still in business by selling their yummy bakery goods at a table in the front of their now-closed café. Or the famous chefs, who are now selling their delicious pasta online.
So now I send my hugs and love solely via texts messages, FaceTime and phone calls. It’s a bit like everyone has moved to their own country or planet.
The worry is real.
It’s a scary, uncertain time. I tell my kids that one day they will be able to tell their kids about all of this. As we stay at home and shelter our little ones from the big bad frightening news on TV, it’s almost like it’s not real. Like the whole world is on an extended ‘staycation’. Especially if you are lucky enough to still have an income and not directly know anyone who has contracted the virus.
But each morning I watch the 6 am news headlines, while my family sleeps, just to see what world I have woken up to. The world is changing hourly. And I especially worry about my loved ones overseas. Two of my siblings are nurses and many other family members work in hospitals. They are on the frontline in a country which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases world-wide. I’ve heard their war stories. It’s not pretty.
Just three weeks ago, I was out to dinner with two good friends. We caught up and had burgers in the city (such great burgers). We laughed, we hugged, we sat together as our mobiles kept dinging with new information. This was the day after the Grand Prix was cancelled. I think that’s the first time I really noticed the panic buying, the NBA cancelled the rest of their season. The Melbourne comedy festival, The Yackandandah Music Festival, Sydney Writers festival, all cancelled. Every gathering over 500 people, CANCELLED.
Just two weeks ago, there were 198,000 cases of COVID-19 in the world with less than 8,000 deaths. Today we have over 785,000 cases and 30,000 more deaths today. This thing is silent. It’s invisible and it’s shaping our future by the hour.
Just one week ago, the walking etiquette was to smile or say good morning as you pass someone on the trail. Now when I go for a walk, I cross the street or if I have to pass them, we give each other plenty of room while trying not to offend each other. And nobody was surprised when they finally postpone the XXXII Tokyo 2020 Olympics until July 2021. All you can do is smile and know that these are weird uncertain times and hopefully this will all be a thing of the past come September. Yes, September, fingers crossed.
Are you family-isolating?
Try to give each other space inside the house. Share Netflix time or leave someone home alone while the rest of you go out on your nightly walk. For those of you who celebrate Easter, decorate your house. Do Easter crafts. Make bread together. Go on bike rides and take selfies out in front of all your friends’ houses and send the photo to them later. Learn how to make pasta. Treat this time as a gift of being together.
Make cookies and drop them off at your neighbours’ house. Ring the doorbell just to make them nervous and excited all at the same time. I can’t tell you the last time my doorbell rang.
Reacquaint yourself with all the little things that make you smile. Like, have a shower with your favorite playlist turned up loud. Start a gratitude journal and write 4 things that you are thankful for, watch an old movie that you love and try not to cringe when they stand so close to each other and know that someday soon we will be able to have dinners and birthday parties and gatherings again. But in the meantime, tell me what’s going on at your house? What you are doing to keep smiling during this crazy. Let me know, I need ideas…