Lockdown Blues or Sweet Isolation?
My green conservatory project continued during the Lockdown and gave me something positive to focus on during a time of fear, mourning and uncertainty. My family put on brave faces and we respected each others personal space, but as the months passed it became difficult to remain positive. We all felt fortunate that we live in a lovely home with plenty of pace, but after a few weeks into the lockdown, cabin fever began to settle in. My go-to ‘feel-good’ activities are art and gardening (not always in that order) but how could I lure others into the green conservatory? The answer was a disposable table-top made from cheap Masonite board on which I drew a few images of coffee and tea-time treats with a permanent marker to get things started. And so began our ‘Sweet Isolation’ daily journal, my lame attempt to give the Lockdown a positive spin and allow family members some time to write down their reflections. It got mixed reviews but in time everyone took time to write a note or draw a doodle outside in the fresh air whilst enjoying a cup of coffee. I noticed that there was much interest in reading the journal entries of others too. I think the table-top journal offered a safe, non-confrontational and fun method for expression and empathy during the lock down.
South Africa has now reverted back to Level 3 regulations, although without a hard lock down, there still exists much apprehension regarding infection rates and the state of the economy. If we were a strained nation before, then the pandemic has burdened us with a weight of angst that none of us could have predicted. It seems that vaccine or no vaccine, we all have to come to terms with this threat and learn to live with it indefinitely. The moral of this story is, remember you are not a super-hero, find some time in your week to do something that’s enjoyable. Working harder does not necessarily translate into more security. I hear the pain and despair in the voices of others as they tell me their stories or complain about situations. Workers feel exploited, small businesses are drowning, students feel cheated, corporates are tightening down, whilst government pretend to have it all under control. We all seem to be personally defeated in some way.
What if we looked at the pandemic as an opportunity to reassess our quality of life? I remember sitting in traffic and standing in lines at the bank, those things have eased up a lot since the regulations. Who would have guessed that the curfew would bring a stillness to the bustling main road outside our house at night that was peaceful? Is it possible during this tumultuous time to find some moments of clarity about what truly matters to each of us?
Where are we on the World – O – Meter for 2020?
Their seems to be a word wide trend to embrace nature again, re-use our trash, live in smaller homes, reduce our carbon footprint and to eat fewer animals. This reaction is not a mere fad that will disappear in time, it will grow into a colossal social movement that will challenge the ways of old. Similar to social reactions after the war, when art reflected the pain of man’s inhumanity to man.
The World-o-meter ( See https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/life-expectancy/) lists the average lifespan of a South African as 64.88 years. It doesn’t seem like much time to live in a house that you settled for, pay a bond for 30 years, drive a car you can’t afford and eat processed food packaged in plastic that will long outlast your measly 64.88 years. It may sound harsh, but if someone at home affairs said ‘Welcome to what remains of your 64.88 years’ whilst handing me my first ID. I may have lived my life differently and made better choices for me, not just went along with what society dictated I should do. We always say 'Life is short', but visiting this site made be see that in black and white. I don't want to live longer, I want to live better!!!