I guess there is no need to mention the fact that we are living in extraordinary times. We are daily bombarded with the news of another person that has caught COVID-19, is struggling with it, or has just passed away as a consequence of it. It feels like we are reliving each day only with changing numbers and names. Days melt into one, and I caught myself last week, not knowing whether it was Wednesday or Thursday. Holidays that had been planned months or even years ago simply are not happening, much to the chagrin of all involved. Parents are struggling to work from home if they have not been furloughed or even have lost their jobs. Children are challenged by the fact that they have to be indoors most of the time despite the beautiful weather, and playing with friends is a no-no. It all seems so surreal, but there is hope.
I believe that in a few years we will be looking back at these days and talk about the time we went for a walk and they could hear the birds singing. We will talk about how empty the roads were and how, after three weeks of being stuck inside, we had started to adapt. We will think back to when we were not stuck on the road on the way to work, that we had nearly two hours more sleep and that the stress levels were quite different.
We will look back and see that all the great things we had planned to do, like learning the piano, a foreign language, starting to paint, or reading the big pile of books we have next to our bed, started off. That we never finished it because the busyness of work-life sadly stole our time and enthusiasm after a while. We will look back and think of friends or family we lost and remember in fondness the stories that made them our friends and heroes. We will look back and think we will never have another time like this.
It seems nearly sacrilegious to look at our present-day as fortuitous, as a time of healing because we know that there are millions of pe
ople around the world, struggling bitterly in various ways.
But it is also a period of healing, and I don’t want to rattle off a long list of examples where nature is suddenly able to repair and recover like the dolphins that can be seen in Venice because of the clearer and quieter waters. Big cities are experiencing lower air and noise pollution than they have had in a long time. This is a perfect example of how the sacrifice of our freedom to rush around, suddenly gives those with severe respiratory conditions or trouble sleeping because of noisy planes shuttling overhead or traffic passing by suddenly a fighting chance to survive this epidemic.
We are all in this together, more or less experiencing the same frustrations of not being able to see, visit, and support loved ones. The distance is an act of love, of respect. We will appreciate the closeness after even more and will actually be looking forward to seeing relatives, friends, and colleagues we weren’t so sure about in the past.
This is a time of realising that we have time to do so many things we have never done before because we are limited. I believe we will not have anything similar in the near future again. We can now look at the relationships we have and realize that we are better together, that we can get on, that we will survive this and that our mind has a moment to breathe instead of rushing around.
Let us become aware of the opportunities for they are unique in extraordinary times.