COVID – Learning To Unlearn

So this little known (and hardly ever discussed) virus known as ‘’CORONA’’, has certainly rocked the world to its core!! No one person has lived through this untouched. No one person has had the same experience as the next. There must be so many traumatic and, conversely uplifting stories to tell. Would we even be able to quantify how much money is going to be spent and made by Hollywood on this little virus, or how many lifetimes it will be milked ad nauseam?? As we speak, I have no doubt that there are screenwriters furiously pounding away on their keyboards, producers, directors, agents and actors in heated and fervent negotiations.

For some, they have used the opportunity to improve their health and lifestyle, for others it has caused irreparable harm to their health and lifestyle. For many, overdue life changing and brave decisions have been made. Others were not given the freedom to choose. So much has been lost and so much has been gained.  It has given many of us the opportunity to breathe and reflect. Conversely others have lost their ability to breath. Some by necessity learnt how to make more money. Others were not so fortunate, and lost family members, jobs, homes and lives. Some have managed to adapt their lives to the circumstances, and continue on. Others have not.

In the beginning stages of this crazy situation, I had reasoned that this was our long awaited test. I saw this almost as an equalizer. Those that had might not have so much at the end of this. Those who did not have, might be able feel less like they did not have. Perceptions would change, attitudes would change. A bit dramatic perhaps, but I have always been waiting for our equalizer to arrive. I have just always never understood how it is possible for some to have so much, and others to have so little. Never made any sense to me. 

So, I thought that this was the big lesson!! The world would have to go back to basics.Well ….not so much. For the most part, those that had, still have, and those that did not have, now have even less. We saw employers, landlords, financial institutions, and people in general, show what they are made of. Some have passed with flying colours. Some have failed….dismally!! This was no equalizer!! If anything, there are now more unemployed, hungry, homeless and starving people. Was this a cruel joke??

Just listening to the discussions taking place amongst people makes you realize how few lessons have been learnt. Most especially when it comes to the thoughtless and unmindful people, who unfortunately are still a thing….. who would have thought?? COVID did nothing to transform these people into thoughtful or mindful. No….it is as if nothing has been learnt. The majority of their grievances are that they have not been able to have their holidays, go shopping, throw parties or have any other first world luxury they have been accustomed to in the past. The conversation is not how mindful they are of the starvation, homelessness and unemployment that our little friend Rona has caused. No, their concern is the crime that is bound to increase as a result of it… and only insofar as this is going to affect their lives.

Ironically these people now have lots of extra money to spend on holidays, shopping and partying, as they have been forced to spend less during lock downs, shut downs and all other downs!!

I need to mention something someone said to me recently, which is why I INITIALLY sat down to write this blog.

In the course of the ever present ‘’what this virus has only done to the world’’ conversations, the culprit of, literally the most tone deaf and ignorant comment I have EVER heard, said that she felt very sorry for those people who had financed luxury homes pre – Rona, and were not managing to make their repayments post – Rona. I was so gob smacked, that I assumed she could only be saying that to ridicule the uber privileged. So, once I had lifted my shattered jaw off the ground, I tried to establish if she was being serious!!! She then, unashamedly confirmed she was indeed serious.

HOW IN ALL THE PITS OF HELL, could she feel sorry for those people, when there were people out there with NO HOMES….is how I would have liked to have posed the question…. but I pulled myself towards myself, and through gritted teeth, asked the this question as politely as possible. Her answer was that ‘’those people were used to being homeless, so it was not such a big change.’’ Never one to smile and nod,  I then tried to explain to her, that she was a blithering imbecile bordering on a half-witted ass… the nicest possible way of course, and she still was unable to hear what she had said. It was then that I realized, if a virus that effected the entire world, turned it upside down and inside out, could not change stupid…who was I to think I could?????

Now, I do not stand here as ‘’She of all who is bighearted, socially conscious, selfless, giving and generous’’. Nope….on the contrary. I am always fully aware of the fact that I am none of the aforementioned, and could always do more!! But I would like to believe that I am also not mean, ignorant, selfish or indifferent!!

So when the initial COVID hysteria emerged, I immediately realised how fortunate our family was compared to so many millions of others. I constantly had this discussion with my children….you know…as good mothers do….creating social awareness. I became that person who never went grocery shopping without getting extra groceries…. for my staff that had worked in my business, which due to COVID could not trade……for the car guard in the parking….for the person I knew was way less fortunate than me. I just felt that it was the time for every person to step up. Believing either the situation was going to last a few months, or the world was ending, I just felt everyone had a duty to help keep their fellow man afloat through the little Universal glitch.

Then, after a few months, I realized…well naturally the world had not ended, but more importantly, my life was not going to ”get back to normal” for many months (or years) to come (if ever).

This ”new normal” that we are currently living through, has affected my mindset in two ways. Well way more than two, but for the purposes of this topic, I will stick to just two. I am not proud to say this out loud, but, hey….self reflection means self improvement … and we can all do with some of that!!

So my mindset went from….. for the next few months, the world just needs to hold each other up to…… OMG, this might last more than a minute!! Suddenly, I stopped buying extra food for the people who have humungously less than I do. Suddenly, I have started thinking selfishly again. Suddenly I am anxious about how I am going to navigate the financial effects of this crazy situation, if things don’t actually return to  ‘the old normal”. Suddenly, I sit here, on my totally privileged chair, in my totally privileged house, on my totally privileged keyboard, having just eaten my totally privileged breakfast AND WONDER WHETHER MY LIFE WILL EVER GET BACK TO WHAT IT WAS IN MARCH 2020???? Wow……how dare I????????

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