Looking back on some photos of happier times only a few years ago, I was struck once again about how different our lives have become. Whatever part of Australia or the rest of the world you live, you are somehow affected by the impact of coronavirus. Even if you are a staunch ‘anti-vaxxer’ or a ‘conspiracy theorist’, you will still be affected by this pandemic. Even if you adhere strictly to all of the government rules and guidelines regarding mask wearing, lock downs and social distancing, you still have no guarantee this virus will spare you.
How do we live amidst all of this? Whether greatly impacted by job closure, family separation or financial losses — or if you are only mildly inconvenienced by some of the rules, we are all still impacted. Many are unsure of whether vaccines available are safe. There is vaccine hesitancy. What happens if we cannot beat this thing? Do we die of Covid-19 because we fear a jab in the arm, or do we do what we are told.
Sure, we can book a holiday, but will we be able to go? Border closures, travel bubbles all can change at a moment’s notice. I have twice tried to see my sister in New Zealand and both times we have had our plans thwarted.
I see a loss of that spark of joy, that anticipation of something to look forward to. My little granddaughters have had birthday parties cancelled. That is probably only a small thing compared to the misery of many, but it does mean our world has changed.
We wear masks. I cannot tell if someone is smiling behind the mask. We sign in with QR codes. Going into a shop becomes a bit of a mission when you are also wielding a walking stick and logging in and out of QR readers with foggy glasses from the mask. I know, first world problems. What I am saying is that our world has changed and I am not sure if it will ever be the same again.
Once upon a time Australia was one big country. We loved it that way. Sure, we all lived in different states, but now we are separated by borders. What does that do long-term to our Australian identity? So far we have not copped what other countries have dealt with, but with the current situation, especially in Sydney, it is very concerning.
I have to find some joy amidst all of this. One of the joys I still find possible is getting out into nature for a walk. We can still do this — whether masked and only with a family member — at least it is still possible. I am grateful for FaceTime where I can at least see the person I am talking to. It is not quite the same, but it is something. I can still see a friend at an outdoor café for a coffee and catch up. Simple things like looking at the sun set or rise, watering my plants and talking to them, stroking a pet, sitting in the sun or reading an uplifting book can help with perspective.
Covid-19 has changed things. We are a little unsteady on our feet, not sure what to brace ourselves for. We Australians have faced many challenges in our country’s short history, but the Aussie spirit always seems to get us through, stronger and tougher than before.