It’s the end of the world as we know it. A short essay by Lesley Whelan

The title is from one of my favourite REM songs. A very catchy tune with a sense of doom to the title but so upbeat it always makes me feel the opposite! The ‘ As we know it’ is the key part here and could not be more apt for where we all find ourselves now.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel we have been catapulted completely to another dimension? A bit like our world as we knew it has been smashed up into tiny tiny pieces and we are somehow wondering how we put it all back together again. I feel as if we are now living in some sort of fragmented reality and someone is at the controls making all the next moves. Is there something at a higher level sending us a hidden message here. Are we being woken up to a new reality?

Rewind back to January and February and although Coronavirus was mentioned and in the news, it wasn’t really here in Ireland so for me anyway it was a case of ‘ ah we will be grand’ Ireland is tiny and we won’t really be bothered with that. Sure are we not all invincible?!! Life for me was about the Mon to Fri gerbil wheel of working and parenting, meetings, appointments, meeting friends for swims and walks, not a care in the world! At the same time though when I see it written in front of me, it was very automatic living and behaviour but sure that’s what we are all used to isn’t it. We like a system and the order that comes with it!! but maybe a little bit too much.

It is only now with everything going on and us forced out of routine that it is really becoming apparent how automatic we can be with our behaviours. This out of routine is difficult it is challenging and for most if not all of us it is highly uncomfortable. I am finding some days in the past week that I don’t know if I am coming or going and can only let my mind go so far as otherwise catastrophising kicks in.

We are now faced with literally daily life being turned upside down, the system we are used to has been well and truly paused and like a scary movie, we are not to sure we want to see the next scenes. To me this has been really phased. First we have schools etc closing and how will everyone be entertained, then the crazy panic buying and the worry of being at home for so long but now I can feel another giant shift. This next phase is a strong worry that people we know and love will be sick and in some cases very sick. People are already sick and we know it is going to get worse before better. Your health is well and truly your wealth and never has this phrase been so true. Nothing matters now in terms of status, money, things we have or don’t have if you don’t have your health. All barriers have been broken down and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you live.

I have asked a few people in my close circle do they think we will all be different from this? I want to ask anyone who reads this the same question? One side of my head says yes for sure we will be so grateful to get back to normal life and we will value people in our lives more, reduce the hectic pace and all of that but the other side of my head is saying…hmm I don’t know, will it be a discussion point for the rest of 2020 and then slowly we revert.

From what I have seen and heard though over the past couple of weeks, I want to keep my answer as yes. In some ways we will have to be different, there will be no choice. I want to learn from it myself, learn what is core to my life and what falls outside of that. I am going to look at sitting with this thought for the next while and really examine what is important to me in my life and yes routine will hopefully come back and everything with it but maybe we all might look at it a bit differently.

I think this pause has been sent to us on purpose and without getting too deep about it, I think each and everyone needs to figure out what that means. We will all need to support each other in so many different ways than ever before and I think we are up for that challenge.

I want to finish by saying that I am thinking of everyone, this is a hugely challenging time so make sure to find those small times when you can to do something feel good and maybe have a think about what is important for you and your life and let’s try rebuild all these pieces together. How amazing would it be to sustain this togetherness that has come to the fore these past weeks well beyond this time and make it our new reality.

Lesley x

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