Of course we all hoped that the advent of a new year would change everything. Or at least a little thing. Something.
In reality, we woke up on the morning of January One to find that in fact nothing had changed.
All the planetary stuff is still there, and planetary, and all the personal stuff is still there, and personal. These two genres meet and greet each other with the 2021 incarnation of the infamous 2020 “lockdown”, which in 2021 we are going to call the “lockdown”.
Hmmm. The “lock” part may be good in its capacity to lock out, slow down or otherwise limit the spread of the virus. The “down” part is also a potent force, to bring down lives, livelihoods, and hearts and minds.
There’s no real prep for it. Schools don’t have any classes called “lockdown preparation”, “lockdown etiquette”, “lockdown troubleshooting” or even “lockdown superstardom”. Maybe they’re coming.
It is a challenge for everyone. Just that act of pulling down the “to do” list from the fridge door, and replacing it with a “to don’t” list, can be humiliating.
There are many folk out there who for years have dreamed about all the things they would do if only they could get away from the office or the workplace for a decent amount of time. These folk suffer a self-esteem implosion when they find they are struggling in lockdown, with nothing to do.
Then there are the folk who find that their lives are similar in lockdown to before lockdown and after lockdown, with their screens, their booze and their pizza. If the virus has selectively spared these types, and the earth is inherited by them, the virus has definitely won.
Years ago, I took a job in a very remote scientific outpost. A group of just a few dozen was cut off from the rest of the world for months at a time. It was so difficult, because you suddenly realise that all those peeps and props which keep your life in balance, are not there. Whether it be a cherished belief, a cherished wish, or a cherished lover, you will find that you will lose stuff, and it will hurt, and not hurt good. And that will mean grief.
One guy, a pessimist of the third kind, kept reminding everyone that it wasn’t that different to a prison – “you have regular meals, a small library, an exercise area, and relative freedom to move about, within the rule that you cannot leave”. He was right, but he drove everyone crazy. His pessimism was just like a dangerous virus. You had to know and accept that you would lose things, and that you would gain other things. As it is in life. As it is in lockdown…
In lockdown, you need to be an OPTIMIST. It’s the only way!