Following the so-called roadmap to reopening the Victorian economy, this week I was sorely tempted to vent my anger and frustration at the situation we find ourselves in Melbourne – a situation in large part due to the failure of the hotel quarantine programme, which has been identified as the source of the community transmission, and the consequent devastating impact on the aged care and health care sectors. (Unlike our politicians and civil servants, I refuse to use the term “settings” – “settings” are what you use on a microwave oven…..). I was going to describe how our current Federal and State leaders decline to take specific responsibility for their respective Administration’s mistakes, while continuing to treat the citizens of Melbourne like a political football…. Instead, I decided to be more hopeful, and reflect on some of the positive aspects of the continuing lock-down.
First, most of us are still here, and most of us remain healthy – and although I have not socialized with family or friends for 6 months, I can still have Zoom calls and virtual drinks.
Second, despite the lack of social interaction, thanks to “no contact” front doorstep drop-offs, friends and neighbours have provided small gifts such as home-made bread and home-grown herbs and vegetables.
Third, on-line shopping has got a lot better, despite some of the shipping delays – on the downside, I probably won’t be in a hurry to revisit bricks and mortar retail….
Fourth, by not eating out, and by not using public transport, I’m saving money – some of which is being redirected to small luxuries such as dine-at-home restaurant meals and domestic gadgets.
Fifth, my local green space, Yarra Park is thriving, because the lawns are not being used as a car park several days a week – it’s actually encouraging more people to use it for its original purpose of public recreation.
Sixth, courtesy of the 1-hour daily exercise regime, on my walks I have been exploring parts of the City that I thought I knew well, often discovering new historical aspects or architectural features I had never noticed before (and all within a 5km radius of my home, of course).
Seventh, when I do venture out for food shopping, thanks to the limits on numbers, the supermarket is less crowded and the experience is actually far more relaxing than when having to shop in normal peak hours.
Eighth, the enforced and extended work-from-home regime means I have come to appreciate my domestic surroundings, even though it can get a bit claustrophobic being cooped up most of the time.
Ninth, I have found time to finish and release a new album on Bandcamp (thanks to the few generous souls who have actually paid to download it!).
Tenth, notwithstanding some testing days, I find that after nearly 25 years, my relationship with my significant other has proven to be remarkably resilient.
So, on reflection, I can think of far worse situations and locations to be in. I know I will get through this, and although things will never be “normal” again, I think I will have re-set my personal priorities and regained a sense of what is or isn’t important. It’s been a hard lesson (and continues to be a challenging experience), but hopefully it will bring long-term benefits.
Next week: Revisiting Purpose