Life as we know it has changed. It’s remarkably interesting. Shockingly distressing. Damn scary. People have died, are dying and will die. Jobs lost, businesses closing. Social distancing. Isolation on a mass scale.
Home workouts, personal reflection and endless Netflix fill your days if you’re not an “essential worker” And if you’re still working? COVIDs probably all you’re talking about. Conspiracy theories are abounding in the office.
“Blame the Chinese!” “
Blame the Devil or God (depending on your persuasion)!”
Take your pick. It’s someone's fault for ruining our lives right? For halting our plans. Stemming our hectic social lives? Cancelling our sports. Crippling our economy and overwhelming our NHS. The fingers are pointing out.
At world leaders.
At spiritual beings.
Always pointing out
Don’t get me wrong – we have to hold these people to account. There has to be proper scrutiny because we are in a crisis. This is unprecedented- and it is going to get worse.
Perhaps like me you find conspiracy theories fascinating. Perhaps you believe that Michael Jackson is still alive, Neil Armstrong was never on the moon and Disney Plus just happened to be released when everyone when into lock-down.
Or that the Chinese really were attempting to cripple Western economy. In the midst of a crisis however the assessment of “why this has happened?” is less important that the” what are we going to do?”
Maybe just for a second, it’s time to turn our pointing fingers inwards. To examine ourselves. To listen to what a worldwide deadly pandemic can teach us about ourselves. About whom we are. Maybe it’s time.
I’m certainly not the first to speak about this. Nor will I be anywhere near the most effective. But these are my musings. My fumbling reflections. As I try to make sense of our world and myself amidst COVID-19.
1. What is important to me?
Life is fast in 2020. Pre COVID of course. Time has seemingly been moving in slow motion lately. Can you remember back to when this wasn’t a thing.
Ah sweet memories…
Everything instant. You want it you get it. Instant food, instant social and relational connections. Instant fame if you can crack TikTok or Instagram algorithms. Instant judgement with every social media post. Instant football highlights. The faster the better. The more you can squeeze in the better. How much can you do is seemingly way more important than what you do. How productive
are you? How quickly are you losing weight, getting ripped or bulking up? This was / is (minus COVID) our world.
Pandemics soon slow things down. One in/ one out shopping experiences. Your Granny locking her back door. It’s 10 am and you’ve already cleaned the whole house, done two loads of washing and finished your bums and tums home workout. Twice. Well done you ;)
There’s just nothing to do. All the pillars that took up so much of life just aren’t there for most people at the moment.
Opportunity? It could be.
An opportunity to re-evaluate. To ask if we were doing it right?
The it - being life.
How were we doing life? Before COVID. Do we want that life back? Can we have it back? Or is this the reset button we needed. The chance to consider what’s important to us, what our non - negotiables are and who we want to be moving forward.
All big questions. No easy answers. Time to point inwards?
2. Social Media really is just a tool
“Social media is poison”.
“Social media is destroying our young people”.
“I’m so glad I grew up without social media”.
I have without a doubt said each of these statements since 1st January this year. Though I use social media a part of me hates it. Part of me hates everything it stands for. People receiving judgement from people they don’t know about things that don’t really matter.
It’s easy to just blame social media for everything. To blame Zuckerberg, Google or some other guy who has more money than my face has spots.
But I am social media. I help make it up. Though my contribution is limited I am part of it. I am part of the problem or solution depending on how you look at it. Social media is made up of people. Yes algorithms and aggressive advertising but people too.
You and me.
Social media is understandably dominated by COVID. Tens of sources of advice, hundreds of armchair medical experts and thousands of memes with varying levels of funniness.
But I gotta be honest social media has actually surprised me. More than that it’s rebuked me. But why should it have? Social media is people. People who have the capacity for selfless compassion and ridiculous kindness. Some of the things I have seen shared have been so powerful and informative.
Whether its uplifting songs from hospital theatres by NHS staff or major retailers finally putting people before profits, (at least sometimes) it’s been heart-warming. Food collections for the elderly and vulnerable. Cafés that have been forced to close down donating their excess stock rather than simply feeling hard done by.
These acts of kindness have challenged me to look inwards and ask well what the frig am I doing? I’m blessed in what I have, why am I not giving more away? My time, my money, my limited skillset?
So thank you social media.
No thank you people.
For reminding me that social media is just a tool.
A hammer can help build something great or smash someone’s head to pieces. The problem is not the hammer. It’s who’s holding it.
3. We will not live forever
I am going to die. I used to want to die. Or I thought I did. Right now I can definitely say I don’t want to die. Not today and not tomorrow. I’d be quite content to stick around for the foreseeable future actually. I have plans and ambitions. Things I’d like to do. To achieve. Things I’d love to see changed. Maybe get married and have kids or maybe not. Maybe make a lot of money or maybe not. Maybe live here. Maybe not.
I can’t say I’m particularly keen to think about my own mortality too often. Morbid though I can be it’s not the most enjoyable thing to be doing
I’m sure you’re the same. Death can be scary. Even if you are “ready” as your doctrine might suggest. Or maybe you’re comforted by your lack of doctrine and how you will just be “gone.”
I read this paragraph this morning and found it enlightening.
“There is still a widespread denial of death in Western cultures. Even old people try not to speak or think about it, and dead bodies are hidden away. A culture that denies death inevitably becomes shallow and superficial concerned only with the external form of things. (Tolle in “Stillness Speaks”)
Anytime someone dies it causes us to consider our own mortality. What if that statistic had actually been us? Would we have been ready? Would we have done everything we wanted too? Would we have hugged the right people? Done more good than bad?
Each of us will have to consider our own mortality in the days and weeks to come. When the inevitable does happen. When the curve does probably spike and the gloomy forecasts come to fruition.
Life really is too short. It’s a shame that it will take a global pandemic for most people to realise that. But we are where we are. If there’s a conversation you need to have, then do it. (virtually of course) If there are changes to be made in our lives then let’s make them where we can or begin to make them where we logistically can’t now.
Saying that life is too short is not morbid. It’s a reality. It could scare us into paralysis or it could shake us into prioritising.
May it be the latter.
4. This too shall pass
COVID – 19 is beginning to feel like all we have ever known. It’s becoming hard to remember how “good” and “easy” we had it just a few weeks ago. Anxiety levels are rising across the nation and indeed the world. People are understandably concerned for themselves, their families and their fellow human beings the world over.
But this is not all we have ever known.
Nor will this always be.
This is our now and of course we have to live it and act accordingly. But this too shall pass. This will end someday. Yet along the way we will lose people and it is right that we remember them and their families and show them the respect they deserve. Every war will have casualties.
If we are blessed enough to come out the other side of this then may we never take for granted what a wonderful thing life is.
May we laugh louder, hug tighter and run, walk or crawl to wherever we want to go with a greater sense of appreciation.
It’s gonna be a great day.
It is coming.
This too shall pass
Thank you for reading.
If you haven’t seen it already and isolation is getting a bit too much for you please do hit up this blog
If you read them both in one sitting then heck you deserve a medal