I’ve been tinkering around with this piece for my blog (http://adayinthelifeof51.wordpress.com/) for the last few days. There has been a funny version, a philosophical version, a warm fuzzy feeling version, and now this. I’ll keep going…
One of my objectives when I began writing my blog was to try and capture the “now” – what it is like to live through a global pandemic from the point of view of a mid-forty something Irish woman, a kind of social history, I suppose.
In the beginning it was relatively easy – there was so much change, and everything seemed so novel. For example, I took this photo of a hand-written sign tacked onto the side door of Grogan’s pub just a few days after the lockdown. It read: Following on from advice from the LVA regarding keeping social distancing in pubs and limiting numbers in pubs. We have decided to close from tonight (12:30am 14th March) until 29th March. Re-opening 30th March at 10:30am. Stay Safe Everyone! Grogan’s Management. It seemed insane to me then that a pub would possibly stay closed for two weeks. Two weeks!
In one of my very first posts, I described how I felt there was an incoming tsunami wave on its way, and that we were at the point where the animals had legged it up the mountain and that we were just waiting for the water to come crashing in – https://adayinthelifeof51.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/18th-march-2020/. Now I feel like the giant wave has come and gone – we have locked down and cocooned, our critical numbers have peaked and fallen, and we are coming out the other side. Only I also feel that I need to change the metaphor. Because a point about a tsunami is that it doesn’t do a world tour, hang around for an unknown period of time, and threaten to return if people aren’t super vigilant. On a more positive note, while we have no control over a tsunami, we do have potential control over the covid-19 virus, albeit in the form of a as yet to be invented vaccine.
A few weeks ago in The Irish Times, psychologist Maureen Gaffney wrote about the “now normal” as opposed to the “new normal”. And as how none of us knows when there is going to be a vaccine, the question has now gone from “when is this going to end” to “how are we going to keep going”?
So, that is my current question – how are we going to keep going?
I’ll spare you a “listicle” here: “100 things you can do to keep going”… There are enough of them out there. Besides, everyone I know has done something if not several things to keep themselves going – from kombucha brewing, to gardening, cooking and baking, working-out online, composing music, hand-painting postcards, learning new technology, getting broadcast on national radio, recording podcasts, performing online stand-up, writing plays, creating wall murals and wonderful window displays, reinventing businesses (including monetizing farm animals photobombing zoom meetings), launching and writing blog posts (ahem), and all of this while in some cases continuing to work from home and/or homeschooling and raising children.
Also, the vast majority of people I have spoken to in the last few weeks have described themselves as struggling, as having good days and bad days, as doing their best just to keep going.
Yesterday morning, my daughter while looking at the family calendar on the fridge, pointed out that she should have been doing English Paper 2 that day. She had handwritten in the full Leaving Cert timetable a few months ago. It had seemed so important. Mindful of the fact she might not want to be reminded of this every time she came into the kitchen, I suggested that she could turn to the next page. And so she did.
It is now July 2020 in our house.
We are keeping going.