In March, when the world began to shut down we all watched in fear as we distanced ourselves from one another. We tried to figure out how to continue life with our new normal of staying at home. The kids studied remotely, we shopped once a week to decrease time spent out of the house, we cooked all meals at home, office work became home office work and we left only to exercise. At the time, getting outside felt like a time for stress relief from all of the crazy going on. We passed one another on the footpath at a nervous distance with small smiles at seeing and connecting with another human.
Our lockdown ended, our numbers of corona virus almost non-existent. Schools reopened, shops and gyms too. I noticed little to no social distancing at our local shopping centre – it was as if it never happened. The only lingering reminder of the past three months was the doomsday announcements that played on rotation at the shops alerting people to stay safe, keep your distance, we are all in this together. This grim reminder that the war had not been won.
Melbourne’s numbers are now higher than ever. Three weeks into reopening the spread started here again. Another month on and we are between 200-450 daily. It’s small in comparison to other places, I know – but it has everyone worried. I’ve noticed that people here tend to do what they are told – unlike in other countries. We were told to stay home, so we have. We were told to keep 1.5 metres apart, so we are. Today they’ve announced mandatory face masks or face a $200 fine – people will comply. I am very grateful to be in a place of sound minds.
We went for a walk with the kids on Friday. It was a crisp winter day but the sun was out and it was glorious. What surprised me about our walk was just how many people were out on our local river path. I felt like I was on a movie set, it seemed surreal to see so many enjoying walking, cycling, kicking a ball with their children. All socially distanced and all happy. I don’t think I can recall a time where I’ve seen so many, fully present and enjoying the pleasure of something so simple as time together outdoors. It was beautiful. It felt different to the lockdown before where it was all tense, this felt like gratitude for life. Maybe it is just me reflecting on my own change but I would like to believe that we as a community are growing and learning during challenging times in remembering what’s important. I would like to think so. Anything positive out of 2020 would be a win.