You know, I don’t mind the staying in part. I like ‘going out’ but I’m not the outdoorsy type anyway, (too many allergies). I love being home with my family and the fact that we, (my partner and I), are both at home all the time right now spending quality time together with our son is a blessing. I like being able to mostly dictate our own sleeping patterns. I like that I have been able to sit for a bit a little more often and get some writing done. I like that we can binge-watch all the shows we wanted to catch up on. I like that I can play all those old X-box games a bit more. That we can read. That we are probably eating a wee bit more healthily. That we don’t need to constantly worry about how we look every day and that we don’t feel like we’re missing out by spending time doing any of this because everyone’s in the same boat.
We’re only a couple of weeks in and all of this stuff is semi-positive, so I am trying to think of it as a sort of good(ish) thing to keep the spirits up, I really am…but this is for the long haul it would seem, and this has still already seriously impacted upon myself and my family and been pretty difficult to come to terms with, quite aside from the endless worries about people dying and catching it ourselves.
To be honest this had looked set to be one of the best years of my life. I was getting married. I was finally graduating uni. I was going to hopefully be moving into a job doing something I cared about afterwards and possibly we were moving home. I was planning on getting back into gigging, (I used to be a singer), over the summer. I was, (well, still am), convenor of my local Green Party branch and was preparing for my upcoming Holyrood election campaign. I was going to get down the gym in prep for our wedding – get all fit and healthy etc. Watch my son begin his time at youth theatre when he turned three. Take my soon to be wife on the honeymoon of a lifetime to Italy. We had parties and holidays planned. We had a life to live.
Now the wedding must be postponed. We might not even get to graduate. We can’t meet or do much pro-actively offline as a branch or as a party. I can’t do the gym thing. I can’t go on honeymoon/holiday. The pubs/clubs/weddings are all closed and cancelled so gigging’s out the window now, and it doesn’t look likely I’ll be getting a job in what I have just trained in for 4 years, (or in anything really), anytime soon, as places aren’t exactly hiring at the moment.
Yet, these are ‘first world’ problems, and we are lucky. We are lucky to be able to even have a place to live where we can shelter from the viral storm. We are lucky to have Gillian’s, (my partner’s), part-time wage still coming in and the last remnants of student loan payments. Lucky that we haven’t yet caught the damned thing, lucky that none of our close family or friends have and more than lucky to have each other.
It is worse, of course, for those who are leaving college/uni right now with no back-up, no support and no real home to go to. Harder still for foreign students stranded in a country on lock-down for what could well be months. For those who have lost their livelihoods and/or are crippled in debt, knowing there is no way that they are ever possibly going to be able to get it back/pay it off any time soon if at all. Terrible for those for whom social isolation really means isolation – stuck alone in a flat themselves, (they have no idea anymore how long they will be able to afford), with no friends or family around. Even more terrible for those who have already lost loved ones and have then had to worry about whether anyone will in fact be able to come to their funeral, (or, indeed, how they will pay for it).
Yes we have social media, we have telly and most of us have information and distant contact access via phone/skype etc. that folk never had in the days of the plagues of centuries past, (they didn’t have hot water or flushing toilets either), but that doesn’t make any of this OK or that much easier to deal with. In some ways, it can make it harder. There are no bombs and there are no marauding hordes, (unless you count the loo roll hoarding panic shoppers), but this is still the toughest thing that most of us here of any age will ever have faced socially and economically and we can no longer pretend that we can fight it with courage, hard work and a ‘can do’ attitude.
Individuals cannot solve this and our current economic system never will. Even our hard-right Tory government has been forced to admit to the failures of modern-day capitalism and its complete inability to handle a crisis. It is the proof, if ever it was needed, that we are all inter-connected, and that only by working together and looking out for one another can we ever hope to survive and thrive as a species. A new world must emerge as we step out into the sun once more in goodness knows how many weeks’ time. If not, then this is just the beginning of the horrors that await and the widespread destruction and heartache which will be wrought by the climate crisis and the corrosive global slide towards oligarchy which it is now imperative that we drastically reverse.
Yes it has messed with my life, badly, and I too am unsure how we will afford to live if this goes on for too long, but I am one of the luckier ones. Never take for granted what you have. When we all climb out of this mess a lot of people’s perspectives will have fundamentally changed forever. As will, (we must hope), a great many other things.
Scott S Bevan