With Victoria at zero cases for over 30 days now, Australia with zero cases excluding international travel and an odd outbreak, being out of lockdown and free to travel outside Melbourne, we drove to NSW to experience a change of scenery…and to put money into the bushfire-hit towns. Before we left, I reflected on what I had gained from the (8 month) covid period, what I had missed and how I wanted to live my life as a result of this traumatic period.
8 months sounds long…but WW2 lasted 6 years…and that followed the Depression, which didn’t really end till the war arrived some 10 years later. We’ve had it easy. And, with a large house, our own garden, beautiful suburbs, family close by, good technology, good health, lots of friends and interests, we had it much easier than most. Also, attacking life, being positive, helps to see that there were many positives from this period, for me at least. They include:
- Improving My Tech Use and Using It.
Spotify, Netflix, Stan, iView, Facetime, Zoom, apps, Google and YouTube have made so many possibilities available. I now use Spotify for my morning exercise routine and Netflix, Stan and iView for streaming series. Not radical, but a big change for my life. Facetime, Zoom, Whatsapp and Google Meet have enabled friend and organisation conversations more than before, with Facetime by far the best for me and Zoom great for multi-member conversations.
I’m not a big app user, but Trickster for bridge with friends and croquis café for life drawing have offered new opportunities for enjoying these activities.
Overall, these elements of technology, plus my willingness to engage in new options, have made significant positive changes to the patterns of my life, and I want them to continue.
2. A Slower Pace of Life
Our lives were ‘busy’. We liked it that way. But covid slowed us down, showed us what we valued and what we didn’t.
Observing nature in our home, in our area, has provided much greater joy than previously (we loved it, but didn’t have the time to appreciate it). Seeing each day, week, month, season unfold, observing and enjoying the changes, has given us as much joy as if we were travelling to new and different landscapes.
Taking time to cook and prepare food instead of just rushing a meal to get to another event or activity has meant we’ve enjoyed food even more than if we were eating out. We haven’t had the people to converse with over meals, but we’ve enjoyed reflecting ourselves on the flows of the days and weeks.
Walking – critical for daily exercise – enabled us to enjoy others’ local gardens and parks. Cycling – which I took up again last year for the Great Vic Bike Ride – has become a regular weekly activity. It provides a different experience from walking, but you still appreciate the small details. Who’d have thought I’d be a bike rider at 70…
FOMO’s departure is also positive. In fact, so few people are doing anything interesting or different, that the reverse is true – FONH. Fear of Nothing Happening. Mostly conversations have been around covid, covid and covid. Enough. The climate emergency is more important.
3. Buying Less
Never a great shopper, I haven’t missed the lack of retail. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it! I don’t even miss the coffees that seem so critical to everyone else’s life. I don’t want much retail to return…except Bunnings, Gazman and a few others.
- No Travel to Different Landscapes
Nice though it has been to stay at home, I have missed travel. The travel I like is to walks and views in landscapes, not to cities or man-made building. We jumped in June when we opened up prematurely and had 2 lovely weeks in the country. We have returned from a similar week at NSW beaches. I can handle being limited to travel within Australia. I don’t ‘need’ to travel internationally any more (I’ve been lucky already). But I do feel a ‘need’ to travel somewhere to see and experience different landscapes.
2, No Experience of Live Sport
I’ve enjoyed watching lots of live sport on TV, especially on our new large TV. But I do miss going to games – basketball, football, tennis, athletics, golf and more. There’s something different about being there.
3. No Brainwork
Strictly, this is an age issue, not a covid issue. But the lack of organisation operations, the lack of focus on virtually any social or political issue unrelated to covid has been a real downer for me. I can’t just sit and enjoy life, friends and family. To me, there’s much more to life than acceptance and bread and circuses. I need brainwork.
4. No Arts Experiences
Pre-covid, we had a full life of arts experiences – movies, theatres, music, writing, festivals, galleries and more. Most arts organisations seemed either reactive or lacking the skills to provide online offerings. Exceptions were the UK’s National Theatre Live, an Australian comedy stream and odd other events, notably (for me) Sydney Dance Company. I’ve had mixed feelings about this. I haven’t missed many ‘average’ events, but I’ve really missed those events which led to challenging and thoughtful discussions about the event – the performance, the acting, the playing, the writing, the idea, the innovation. In a slower life, I still crave some art, but I don’t want as much as before. I plan to choose more carefully…but that’s difficult when you have to buy before review or for a one-off event. I know what I missed. I know who reached out to me. I’ll choose with more care.
I plan a slower life, carrying forward the new positive activities and skills. This requires dropping other events. I’ve found myself carefully thinking now, ‘Do I want to do this and why?’ The crunch will come when I have to say ‘No’ to ‘normal’ pre-covid activities or events. We’ll see!