A writer, a life, a city · Thoughts

Temporary

“The new, albeit temporary, normal,” I wrote.

I am hopeful. I believe this is temporary. There will be a permanent “new normal” where we will find ourselves on the other side of Covid-19. It’s not what we have now, but it might have some aspects of this new-but-temporary normal, integrated to the old normal. Part of our present daily life will be relevant and useful in the future.

The [Christian] Bible says that there is time for everything. I believe that.

 

FREEDOM

Some people ask about freedom. I don’t think freedom has been taken away. We are free; there are only some restrictions. These restrictions are for the greater good. Of course, I write for and about my world. And, if we want to look at specifics and say we are not free to move, shop, and do business as usual, in general, it hasn’t been forever or always that we have no freedom. It isn’t that we are not free, period; we are not free to…《fill in the blanks》.

People are working. People are exercising. People are eating. People are entertaining themselves. At home.

People are connecting with their people, albeit virtually for their extended circle. For their immediate family, friends included, if their friends are family, they are with them during this lockdown (or quarantine for others). You and I, we are people.

In South Africa, and probably in all other countries in lockdown, despite this lockdown, we can go out and buy food and medicine. We can go out to get essential goods. Essential services did not come to a halt. My colleagues who can’t work from home have permits to go to the office.

 

ECONOMY

What is happening is a change within the economy. The economy is suffering, no doubt about that. However, there are some industries that are thriving during these tough times. We don’t even have to read this article, this article and others.

Some industries will adapt. Technology will play a crucial part in the new normal, as it does now. Watch YouTube. Working from home, I rely on technology and connectivity.

There are losers, we know. The travel and hospitality industries are suffering tremendously. But, they have been thriving in the last few (several?) decades. I would suppose the same for Hollywood. Yes? No?

There is a change of hands.

Thankfully, we will find new ways to thrive. We will make some adjustments and we will persist.

 

LIFE AND CHOICES

FOR NOW

My household chooses not to go out at all. We are on our 9th day of lockdown in South Africa and the only one time we left our home—that is outside of the property, beyond the yard—is to go to the estate’s main gate to collect the delivery of our online grocery order. Our residential complex does not allow non-residents to enter our gated community at this stage.

This, the current situation, is temporary. It will pass. Only if and when we allow our governments to be authoritarian in a permanent basis would it be so.

 

ECONOMY AND FREEDOM VS LIFE

This is my view. It is based on my own life, on my household. I acknowledge that this is not the same for everyone. I maintain—it is my opinion alone—it is difficult to think about economy and freedom at the expense of life. This is for me.

There are differing opinions. An example of a contradictory stance was that of the USA. It was obvious from the government’s initial response that money (economy), and politics even, came before health or life. I think that has changed now… a bit.

 

FEAR

Fear of? Uncertainty? Unknown?

We don’t know how far our governments and their armies will go. But, we are the people for whom the governments exist. What will we allow? If “what is” is not for the good and benefit of the people, would we, the people, allow it? If the people, however, want freedom that is to their detriment, what should we and our governments do?

We don’t know how long this coronavirus will last. We don’t know a lot about this coronavirus. We turn to the WHO and our Health Departments. We wait.

Personally, my only fear is contracting the virus. I’m almost fifty and I have high blood pressure. Also, as a kid, I had weak lungs.

 

WHAT IS THIS REALLY ABOUT?

Outside of the life-and-death issue, or even just implications on health and health facilities, what is this really about. What are some of us struggling with? What are we resisting and fighting? What do we find almost impossible to accept? Where we are now isn’t the ideal situation. What we have now is not what dreams are made of.

But, I understand it: this new or present life of limitations. I was raised in the 70s and grew up in the 80s. I graduated from university in the early 90s. For 25 years, I worked my way up to where I am. I grew up as one of the children who were used to discipline, rules, delayed gratification, and the like. It is not that difficult for me to adhere to the current restrictions.

Granted, it is for me, and for me alone. I would guess there are a few of the likes of me left. I can only imagine, and I feel bad for, those who have lived their lives in a different world.

But, again–

We are humans; we can adapt. We grow. We evolve. We thrive, ultimately.

Unless this is like the time of the extinction of the dinosaurs; then, the economy, fear and freedom won’t be relevant either.

15 thoughts on “Temporary

  1. Curious perspective from the US. If there had been even the slightest bit of informed or rational leadership at the national level shown months ago, we could have been far better prepared. Instead, we’re stuck with but marginally competent reaction to the inevitable unfolding of an unstoppable, slow-motion train wreck. And a large part of the population remains wandering on in abject ignorance, fueled by the mixed messages coming from the nation’s government.

    Fortunately, some states took more proactive approaches, at least trying to encourage the individual behaviors necessary to soften the blow. Regardless, in a couple of weeks, we’re going to find out here in the US just how little nature and mathematics cares about politics or individual opinion. I feel deeply for our health care workers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am with you. I feel you. I have family and friends there in the US. We were supposed to be there ten days from now. In New York, then Florida. We don’t know when we can reschedule. I am watching the numbers. I know the USA is a massive country. I understand the population is huge. The number of infected people is “insignificant” looking at the whole, for many, but for me, it is still a hell of a lot of people. I don’t even think it’s about numbers. It’s just about life. It really was a good thing some states were more proactive and took it more seriously than the President did.

      I watched Donald Trump in the early days, when there was only about 200 people infected in the whole country, horrified at times. Incredulous. I questioned what I was reading and what I believed from what I was reading because of what the US government, and people around me for that matter, said about this coronavirus.

      When I became truly aware of what was happening, I was concerned, ahead of all the people in my circle here in Johannesburg.

      At first though, in February, what I knew was it was only in China. My initial reaction to SARS-CoV-2 consisted of a bad joke about China’s population and how the virus is affecting the number.

      Then, it was out of China. I read that the older population was more vulnerable. I remembered what I read about the baby boomers and made a joke about nature’s response to the boomers’ desire to live and be young forever. It didn’t even bother me that I have a 72-year old mother, perhaps because the virus wasn’t in the Philippines then.

      Then, it hit home. The virus was going global. I read people with underlying medical conditions were at a higher risk. I have hypertension.

      I felt terrible for the people of Wuhan when I realized how serious this coronavirus was even then. I watched a documentary by an Australian network. I started wondering about our trip, but everyone around me thought I was ridiculous and overreacting. I said I was just worried because of the trip. I didn’t want to be labelled crazy, or uncool.

      By early March, we were part of the statistics. The young people were rather insensitive though. I accept selfishness; there is virtue to selfishness, but I thought a little bit of consideration would be good. The young people were (still are?) not thinking about those at high-risk, looking at fatality.

      We then find ourselves here. I am very happy that our President has been decisive. He is currently showing great leadership. What’s worrying is we were waiting to be told to do what’s right, like in the UK, when the pub owners were waiting to be told to close doors. They knew staying open and having patrons socializing was not good for social distancing but they remained open until they were told.

      I am confident though that we will learn a lot from this misfortune. It is just disheartening to think about the price we are paying…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Early on, I think Taiwan called it right. They dealt with a 2003 SARS outbreak, and like your last paragraph, learned much from the experience. In addition, they have competent national-level leadership and an established health care infrastructure. South Korea was slow to restrict cross-border movement, but got their act together as soon as they realized what was happening. Mass testing of virtually everyone has allowed them to identify outbreaks before they spread. And Singapore seems to have done fairly well, though I can’t honestly say how.

        This all said, the US had a great deal of opportunity to watch what was happening elsewhere and see what was and wasn’t working. We could have had the means for mass-testing already in place, properly screened arrivals, and had at least basic medical supplies already stockpiled. And this was, in fact, all being being proposed months ago. But the message from the top seemed to be that if we all just ignored it long enough, it would go away. And no one, save a few governors, had the fortitude to call it what it was (and still is). I quit watching the morning briefings because they were so utterly ridiculous and uninformative. It was just too painful to watch the stupidity, knowing that there are people who take it seriously.

        Japan… I just don’t know what to say. I have family there. I think there’s a certain fatalism in Japanese culture that has allowed the government to remain passive.

        At least it will, inevitably, pass. And when it does, I hope that people will take away some better values and attitudes about what’s really important in societies.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, that is the light at the end of the tunnel: inevitably, this, too, shall pass. I am going to put it out there that humankind will come out on the other side as better beings than we are now.

        We will watch what happens, but not every morning 🙂 nor every night, as I used to. I hope and pray for the best.

        (I haven’t been following how things are going in Asia. I know though that South Korea has been handling it well. The numbers in other Asian countries don’t seem to be as worrying as Europe’s numbers, which is good because our health care systems in Asia are not on par with the first world countries…? Japan should have a good health care system. And Malaysia and Singapore, no?)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the unknown future that I am looking forward to. I am excited, as the positive me wins over the cynic.

      I hope you are well and keeping to the social distancing rules to stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am happy to hear that you are well and inspired. Good materials abound and it’s a pleasure to read the results of your taking advantage of them. 😀 Keep it up.

        Stay safe.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good stuff Anne, you have have written from the only truthful place that any of us can write from: our personal space on the planet. Thank you for a sober assessment of our situation in South Africa.
    I enjoyed your website – easy to navigate and interesting. Blessings to you and your household.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Sir Peter James. I appreciate your kind words. They always mean a lot to me.

      I wish you more blessings, too. All the very best.

      Like

  3. Great to read your views on the situation! We may differ on some of the items but that’s why freedom is freedom – to allow us all our own thought spaces!
    I’m wondering… have you seen the Saffer Worldwide magazine yet?
    https://online.flipbuilder.com/ufgm/djmt/mobile/index.html
    We’re always looking for different perspectives… and mostly upbeat pieces with photos.
    How about sharing your unique views, please? I’m sure many would love to get a glimpse of a different/ objective view from South Africa.
    Thanks too for your continued support of OMBH… it is appreciated!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi AJ. Thanks so much for reading. I especially appreciate your comment.
      I think differing views are imperative for growth; they stimulate us to think outside of our normal and we learn from others. A healthy debate and discussion is good for all of us. 🙂
      I had a scan through the magazine and it looks fantastic. I’m going to read the contents and I would definitely love to share my views.
      I hope the new normal is good to you.

      Like

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