I was thinking about writing a post today about all the positives in the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, and then I had a moment of contemplation about how that might go down. After all, people are dying, people are alone, they are separated from loved ones and they are facing major financial crisis. Those things may not be happenning to me, but they are happenning.
So is it right to ramble on about how I have been on so many lovely nature walks and rekindled my passion for playing the guitar (badly?). That I have redecorated my downstairs toilet and potted on my seedlings?
And yet, when I spoke a couple of weeks back of finding it really, really tough here trying to juggle work and home schooling, feeling claustrophobic and that personal space is a distant memory, I was reminded by someone that I was in a very privileged position and to count my blessings.
I guess, at this strange old time, emotions are running high, people are stressed out, and no one really has the manual. You are damned if you do, and you are damned if you don’t.
What I realised pretty quickly is that no two people seem to be having the same experience.
The stay at home Mum who is used to being home with her kids, but is with zero adult company or respite for the relentless demands of pre schoolers.
The working Mum who is trying to juggle it all, laptop in one hand, screen time rules thrown out the window with the other. Trying to cram in wholesome activities between meetings and feeling like she is failing in all roles.
The couples, separated by lockdown, or thrown together in a heightened test of a new relationship like some kind of weird Big brother style reality TV show.
The single parents, spending alternate weekends alone, but more alone than ever before.
People who struggle with their mental health at the best of times, facing the reality of living through a global pandemic, whilst being told the one thing they need more than anything is contraband; Hugs.
Grandparents, desperately missing their grandchildren (and children too I guess), and parents missing them even more desperately.
Those who are bored to tears, and those who would give anything to have enough time to to feel bored to tears.
The elderly, the pregnant, the vulnerable and the poor, all facing many more weeks of isolation, adversity and fear, whilst the rest of us are raging that we would kill for a Nandos.
The key workers, who are bravely facing the challenges of Coronavirus head on, away from their loved ones, and surrounded by people complaining that their families are doing their head in.
Those who are finding it tough to try and work remotely, and those who have lost their jobs, with no idea what happens next.
There is always a different perspective around every corner, and in a time when it is all to easy to compare yourself to others to use as a big self beating stick, perhaps this is a time to compare yourself to others to appreciate how much worse things could be. I dunno, maybe even saying that is wrong?
What I know is that home schooling has been a new experience I never want to repeat. I wouldn’t mind working from home every now and again, but I miss my office and my colleagues and I find it tough to focus and be industrious working reduced hours with two kids calling my name every thirty seconds. Sometimes I feel somewhat jealous of those who are furloughed, and then I feel scared of the idea of no structure for weeks on end and being cut out of my work loop. I don’t even know what I want.
I was over zoom video calls by the end of week one, but I’m also very grateful that technology is keeping us all ticking over. I wouldn’t have done a disco yoga class, family quizzes, a virtual panic room, networking event or sparkly bingo night without it. And those pandemic memories are priceless.
But I have learnt to play the guitar again. I have summoned the superhero powers to maintain chairing a meeting whilst having pens torpedoed towards my head. I have kept alive some plants that bring me pure unadulterated joy in their colourful spring blooms.
And between the moments of frustration and comparison to others on social media, I occasionally see something that makes me smile – a reflection of my own feelings, and that tells me I am not alone.
A friend messaging me to simply day what a shit day they have had, it feels somewhat leveling to know that actually everyone else isn’t acing it through the pandemic like Mary Poppins.
It is okay to celebrate the positives, to keep smiling and focus on the little things which make us happy.
And equally, it is important to be honest and share your lows as well as your highs, whatever and however trivial those lows may seem to others. It is through the sharing of both sides of the coin that we look after each other and remind ourselves to laugh and to cry are both perfectly valid human emotions.
Most importantly, now is a time to be kind to each other and respect differing opinions and circumstances. To live and let live, and to support each other not stamp each other down.
Because today was both good and bad, as will tomorrow be, and probably the day after that.
And that is okay.