The Lockdown Rollercoaster
Slowly Revealing The World’s Truths
– Andrea Knight
I bet all the thrill seekers finally met their match with the lockdown rollercoaster. This is the scariest of them all, so many emotions, feelings and thoughts. Only a dim light at the end of the tunnel guiding you towards the end with a silver of hope. Then, suddenly a thought about the end… the end of lockdown, when life returns to normal, is your normal really what you want?
We followed China’s experience closely, hoping that it will prepare us. I quickly realised it was only a matter of time until we would face their reality. For once gaming had an upside, familiar with the game Plague? Well, only to find nothing prepares you for what you haven’t yet experienced, especially when you’re not really in control. In the first few days of lockdown I had a million thoughts running through my mind, a new routine, finding my feet in this new reality, whilst completely being consumed by uncertainty. For the first time I was grateful to be in South Africa, with a true leader that acted swiftly and put our lives above money, wow!
The love for money, the root of all evil. I never understood this, until I started paying attention to the effects of lockdown and the lack thereof. I started following the news, watching the leaders of different countries closely. It had become evident that money was more important than people’s lives, when lockdown was merely a word some people heard of. This got me thinking about the role of money in my own life. The things I spent my money on and how little meaning it had, how saving it for a day that takes you by surprise when you possibly might have no income would have been a better investment. No income, the common trend nowadays you spot when reaching out and having conversations with those around you. You are more aware of just how little some people have and how easily others can donate because they have so much! For the first time, the ones with less are not so worried, it’s been their reality for far too long and they don’t have much more to lose. Notice how those with less are always smiling and seem genuinely happy, I think they have a secret…
When essential workers were the only ones able to work you think about the jobs that really matter, suddenly adding value meant more than titles. I think this borders on selfless devotion, when you consider the very low salary essential workers earn for the number of hours they are sacrificing. Not only in terms of working hours, but when catching a bus or taxi at 4 am in the morning to ensure reaching work on time. They expose themselves to a virus that we know very little about and possibly risking their lives. Should we not be prioritising taking care of them? Afterall, they are caring for us.
Loyalty, one of the traits we look for in people when employing, however when the tables are turned, is it just a word? Some companies try their best in doing the right thing, but I’ve heard about the dodgy things other companies are doing to get out of paying their employees, because they can’t work and are running out of annual leave. Sadly, the world as we know it capitalizes on the fact that you are lucky enough to have a job, happily accepting the very low income while freely giving away your time/life because you’re the breadwinner for your family.
We all know life is short, however easily forgotten due to the rat race we call life. Never thought it could be even shorter when unexpectedly life as you know it is no longer an option. Before lockdown, it was the experiences that counted, in terms of attending shows, festivals, markets, traveling to local places and spending long hours at the spa. Like many others, I thought this was the very definition of living. Until, I figured out what it was about those things that made me feel alive. Fully embracing the experience – mindfulness. Connecting and socialising with others. Music, really listening to music. Being out in nature, noticing the things around you. Sharing and discovering new things. Things that not only I, but you started to take for granted! We are so eager to fill our diary with all kinds of appointments, because it meant we’re living, being successful or whatever story, you told yourself.
If only we start adding things to our schedules that bring us joy. Something, you only really notice when there aren’t any social pressures and you can unmask and be and do what makes you happy. The best part, the smallest and most meaningful things are often free! Surely this is that secret I was referring to earlier… It’s easier now more than ever to connect with others, however we are too busy with other things. You are consumed by work, you prioritise meaningless things over which matters most because of the pressures of society. This becomes crystal clear when we suddenly start noticing the beauty around us again, nature, the importance of time with family and friends. We learn to appreciate things like looking at the stars with a loved one, sitting down and having a meaningful conversation whilst enjoying a homecooked meal with the fresh produce we happily received when our online order finally arrived!
You realise what has been missing when you find yourself not wanting lockdown to end, because you’ll lose the time with loved ones, your pets and yourselves by filling your life with appointments and things that serve little to no purpose. Lockdown has been a necessary roller coaster for many, the exciting part is that we now get to choose our new reality based on what we learnt.
Lockdown has re-opened my eyes to the things that are important in life. In short, family and friends, selfcare, time (giving or receiving). Money is a value, but provides no value. Value, not only in how I might add value to the life of others but more importantly what and who adds value to mine. How gratitude really can turn what we have into enough. Most importantly, it helped me face the truth of the major gap between who I was and who I would like to be. I’ve realised not only how out of balance my life was, but how out of balance the world is! Society might not be so accepting of the newfound lockdown you, but in all fairness you will never please everyone. The best is to live your life the way you see fit, it’s your life after all and you only get one shot at this.
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