If everything were normal. Happiness, holidays and health.
We would have been sitting right this second on an Emirates jet starting our descent into Paris. We would have been looking forward to stretching our legs and would already be wondering if our rendezvous with our luggage at CDG airport would happen…or not. It’s just one of those things about Paris – CDG is not Changi and luggage conniptions are de rigueur (yet another French expression). However, a Paris summer awaits.
We would have probably finished drinking the stock bubbly in economy on the flight from Dubai and would have rested the headphones after at least 2 movies. We’d be starting to get excited, practicing our bad French, talking about the Boulanger and fresh food market at the end of our street – rue Pérignon, 15th Arr. – and about where we may head for dinner the next day…probably L’Antre Amis…our favourite local restaurant, barely a jolly stumble from our front door.
Instead we are sitting at home finishing a bottle of Pinot in front of the fire, processing the latest changes to the local social isolation policy, and wondering when or if things will get back to normal. We checked the numbers and saw Australia now has totalled 7118 cases and 102 deaths…France has 182,000 cases and 28,370 deaths…The earth has 5,584,267 cases and 347,613 deaths.
So everything isn’t normal and it isn’t going to be normal for quite a while.
Boo hoo, we missed out on our holiday and really, we’re not that fussed – we shouldn’t be fussed. We are alive, well and secure. For millions of people, what’s really on the table at the moment is a fight for life and livelihood, not just survival. Fighting the disease and its monstrous myriad of impacts. The answers to the clinical challenges seem mostly agreed (putting aside some whacky political and fringe interference and integrity issues). At an individual level though we need to be deliberate about a strategy. The heart of that will be to lock into a way of living which is safe and which is deliberately constrained by a commitment to simplicity and sufficiency. It’s time to get back to the basics for a while, and to be content with the good things that may bring. Less dependence on having everything – a quieter, and yes, a less social style of life. It’s OK to have just sufficient for a while. It’s certainly not the time for ‘more is better’.
So why are the crowds angry, why are the doubters denying the reality of the pandemic, why are the manipulators bargaining for exceptions to the rules and limitations, why is there global mood flattening and a surge in suicide? Sounds like grief.
Lots of grief. Grief for the loss of security, comfort, friends, loved ones, health, jobs. Grief which is so deep, that some find it hard to see a way to the other side.
But, if this is universal grief, at some point, with some help, should we not expect to reach a level of quiescence, then some acceptance; whilst still battling on?