A world with COVID-19, Australia

COVID – Lockdown 2.0

I do not know one single person that has tested positive for COVID.

NOT ONE! That includes all my family and friends across two countries. I don’t even know someone that knows someone that has tested positive for COVID. I feel so far removed. But the morning news on replay keeps COVID front of mind. The bare shelves at the grocery store keeps COVID front of mind. The fact that nobody is allowed in my house at the moment keeps COVID front of mind.

I am hiding inside my house as if everyone around me has it. If I breathe the same air, I will die. That’s what my reality feels like right now, again.

I joke, but I do know how serious this is. I’ve listened to the devastation its causing my home country via my favourite podcasts. Entire families killed off by this coronavirus. My heart breaks and I know I am living among the lucky ones—the frustrated ones.

<span>Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@honeypoppet?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Sandie Clarke</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/lockdown?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a></span>
Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Officially we are in a second lockdown, well for Melbourne anyway. Australia had 191 cases overnight a few days ago—America the overnight numbers soaring over 35,000. But 191 was too many for Australia, especially since most of those numbers came from Victoria, the state I live in and since that day numbers have risen.

Don’t get me wrong.

I support this lockdown.

I want an excuse to close the world out.

Stop letting people in.

Photo by Zohre Nemati on Unsplash

I’m an early riser.

My eyes open at 5 am, and usually, I am ready to start the day. But not today. Today I rose and went back to bed. Surprised my body let the sleep come again. I peeled myself out of bed close to 10.00 am, not like me. I had Vanilla Coke and lasagne for breakfast (don’t judge me), again, not like me. No morning walk, definitely not like me. It’s an off day. I’ve accepted it and so should you.

Nothing is normal anymore. Everyone feels it–an uncomfortableness that has spread right across the oceans.

Last week I was on a walk with a friend (when we were allowed to walk together), she took a phone call that she knew was coming. Her boss had to let her go again. Yes second time since COVID she was fired from the same establishment. She took it in her stride. She is beautiful and optimistic.

Now I am eating all the chocolate in my house. Everyone is panic buying pasta and toilet paper again. I need more chocolate.

The next six weeks we can only leave the house for the four following things…

  • To buy food.
  • Exercise.
  • Work. If you are an essential worker.
  • Taking care of the elderly.

They are pulling people over again but, this time the tickets are $1600.00 on the spot fines, not the $1,000.00 like before.

Schools are not officially closed yet, instead, they have extended the school holidays by one week. Teachers are due back next week to get organised, back to remote learning. Everyone knows it: some happy, some sad. I don’t know what I feel anymore.

My son’s sports have been so off and on that, I don’t even know what day it is.

Photo by DICSON on Unsplash

During the first outbreak, I became a statistic of COVID, back in April. I’m a number among many other people that make up numbers. I’m not ready to share just what that is yet. But it’s been my reason for keeping the covers over my head, eating too much chocolate and lasagne for having breakfast.

Be patient with me. I need to be patient with me.

So it seems COVID is here to stay. COVID is our new normal. So chin up, take a deep breath in and let’s move forward. WE GOT THIS! Or at least that’s what I tell myself and what my friends have been telling me.

One thing for sure, I have enjoyed this much slower pace of life.

A world with COVID-19

Confessions of a ‘Sad’ Serial ‘Non’-Hugger

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.

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

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.

Photo by Raj Vaishnaw on Pexels

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.

CANCELLED

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.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

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…