The Pandemic has made us all grow up… Again

Happy Anniversary! Actually, I don’t think ‘Happy’ is the right word. Acknowledged Anniversary! Yes, that seems more appropriate. Two years ago, Boris Johnson announced the UK would be going into Lockdown, in an attempt to ‘flatten the curve’ of the Coronavirus spread.

Britain was, of course, late to the lockdown. I think BoJo was counting on The English Channel to protect us, ignoring the fact that Heathrow is one of the busiest airports in the world. One or two cases quickly became 20 or 30, which quickly became exponential growth. I went from wondering what lockdown was to wondering why we weren’t doing it. On March 23, the UK went into Lockdown. The initial timeline was for three weeks, which was quickly extended to 12.

It was an entirely new experience. (As an adult, at least; I was grounded a fair amount as a teenager.) It was as if the whole world took a break, and only after realised how much we needed it.

I would like to acknowledge here that I was Lucky. With the furlough scheme, my needs were met. I paid my bills, I had stable accommodation, and I live alone. If I were in a flatshare situation, someone might have gotten hurt. I started Blogging. Daily facebook posts for the first year, then I added this glorious outlet a year ago. It’s funny how having to stay in physically made me reach out more virtually.

So here we are, two years into a global existential crisis. One would think that two years was long enough for the world to learn some lessons. These are the lessons I would have liked the world to have learned.

  1. While we are many nations, many peoples, we are One Planet, One Species. There are crises, like a pandemic or climate change, which threaten us all. There’s no such thing as ‘someone else’s problem.’ We all survive, or no one does.
  2. Our rights must be measured equally to our responsibilities. The best example is Masks. The mask does not protect the wearer, it protects others from the wearer. Everyone wearing them means we are protecting each other, putting others first. It’s the Golden Rule all over again. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (You don’t breathe your germs on me, I won’t breathe my germs on you.)
  3. We either need competent, intelligent political leader, or we need political leaders who are able to listen to competent intelligent people. Knowledge, Education are the greatest gifts you can have. Ignorance may be blissful, but it’s not safe.

I don’t think the world has learned these lessons. We have learned other things.

  1. Money insulates you from everything. There is no concept of “Enough money,” there is only “More Money.” Over the course of the pandemic, the richest people got exponentially richer. The poorest got further into debt, the number of people in poverty increased. Governments worldwide are completely blind to the words “Wealth Tax.” Because they place greater value on the people who them money versus the people who give them votes.
  2. Temper tantrums are an effective means of getting what you want. More and more, people are willing to abandon dignity and personal responsibility if it means they get their way. Hurling abuse at service industry workers has become, if not entirely acceptable, a lot more common. Hello, Karen.
  3. It is possible to live in an entirely fictional world. You can choose your news sources, your social media bubble and when someone contradicts your view, you can cry ‘fake news,’ or ‘deep state’ and ignore what you don’t agree with.

But maybe there’s some hope. Maybe there’s some lessons we can still learn; things we can still do.

  1. Call out hypocrisy where you see it. Like the people who won’t wear masks because it their body their choice, while moving heaven and earth to take away a woman’s autonomy over her own body. Also, calling out people who clutch their pearls at being called racist, while supporting racist policies.
  2. PAY ATTENTION. The news is happening all the time, don’t let it sneak up on you. At the same time, learn to compartmentalise. I can’t do anything about the war in Ukraine except keep up to date. I can do things to protect myself from the cost-of-living crisis, but I need to know what prices are increasing next.
  3. Stop electing leaders for their ‘Personality.’ Donald Trump got elected on a platform of ‘Make America Great Again’, because no one asked the follow-up question “How?” Boris Johnson, while a good, if buffoonish figurehead in good times, has been a disaster in these times of crisis. Because he slavishly follows the opinion polls to tell him what to do, he never acts to avert a crisis, just reacts when things have already gone badly. Maybe next election, pay a little more attention to the less charismatic one, who needs more that 5 words to sum up his agenda. He might have actually thought things through.

It’s like we all have to grow up again, relearn the lessons about what it means to be an adult. When I was a kid, I thought being an adult meant I could do whatever I wanted. Not True. Being an adult means doing what you have to, or facing consequences. It feels like we forgot that for a while.

Being a grown-up sucks.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s