Almost a week has passed since New Zealand lifted itself out of COVID-19 alert level 4, bringing with it a slight reprieve from the most restrictive times our nation has ever seen.
Never before, and maybe never again, will an entire population come to a standstill in the way it did throughout the month of April. Never again will the majority of us with the smarts required have the opportunity, perhaps even time, to think about how we really feel about the crazy thing we call our lives.
So what does it all mean for the future? Whilst times are still uncertain, if the state of national lockdown taught us New Zealanders anything, it should be just how lucky we’ve always been.
Access to the environment, to our friends, to our work. Most of it wasn’t given a second thought by most prior to all this. Those same old roads, footpaths, lakes and parks, places of work, coffee shops and the people outside of our little circle that we spend the majority of the time trying to please or convince.
Oh, and those glorious takeaways! We sure as hell missed those!
We missed it all during the course of the national lockdown. It tested our mental health, our relationships, perhaps even our very lifestyles. And honestly, it’s about damn time.
The ones that were quick to try and break the rules were class examples of selfish, immature and ignorant. The ones that complained to all that would listen on social media about being stuck at home with nothing to do suddenly realised how meaninglessly frantic their typical day-to-day lives were prior to lockdown, you know the lives where social commitments and keeping everyone in your outer circle matters most? Yeah, those ones.
It all kind of makes me feel happy to be a socially challenges introvert with a very small circle of friends. I didn’t have to miss a whole lot during the lockdown, I had what I needed right there with me (partner, cats, food etc).
Thankfully, the smarts of most shone bright and we managed to do enough to have the restrictions eased somewhat, allowing us to now enjoy some of those basic pleasures like getting a coffee or going out for a quick fish.
The easing of lockdown also allowed some of us to see close family for the first time in over a month, something I personally am very thankful for.
The tone of this blog may bring out a rolling of the eyes depending on your viewpoint on the world around you. But I do implore you, if you couldn’t use this time to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself some important questions, you’re probably missing the bigger point here.
The point is, the majority of you reading this are privileged, you really are.
I know, it sucks to have that pointed out, but I’m not talking about privilege in the terms of materials. I’m talking about privilege in terms of the options you have in the world around you, many of those options were taken away during the lockdown and it forces you to deal with, and make the best of, the things you actually had on hand and not the things you could get.
Do you feel me? I guess in a roundabout way, what I’m really trying to say here is use the experience of COVID to appreciate the little things in life a little more. If you don’t appreciate those you shared your bubble with, ask yourself why.
COVID should have taught us all a lot of things in all honesty. If it didn’t teach you anything, you’re proving my point.
But don’t worry, there is still time.