What a very strange time to be living through!
When I first wrote this article in early 2020 (I’m updating it for June 2021) who would have thought the pandemic would still be as devastating for so many people, more than a year later.
I have been very fortunate indeed in being unaffected; I live in a quiet rural area and apart from not seeing close family, working days feel strangely normal (if there is such a thing). Sure, I have missed meeting friends and clients for coffee, and a pint in the local, and of course my family. My 2 year old granddaughter has started her life in a very unusual world and hasn’t met various aunts and uncles yet.
But I haven’t lost anyone close, my health and that of my wife and family is good, income is up, expenditure is down, and – so far at least – I’ve been able to find plenty of work and entertain myself enough so as not to be going stir crazy during lockdown.
I started posting about this on social media at one point, thinking that I wanted to add a few positive vibes, but then I read some interesting threads about such posts coming across as “smug” or “uncaring” from people who have not been adversely affected, which gave me pause for thought.
It’s a difficult balance, but I did decide after some thought to not post anything on Facebook along those lines, and to try and step back from much of the dialogue that is taking place. I do care, and I don’t feel smug; but I do feel very fortunate.
Much of my work in 2020 was for an NHS charity. It brought me to the periphery of a world I cannot even pretend to relate to and it brought me into contact with some incredible people, previously largely unacknowledged. People in the fortunate position I am in can contribute of course – financially, as volunteers, by adhering to the rules about social distancing and travel, by doing our best not to add to the strain the NHS is already under – and now by nurturing a new respect for the people that deliver so many things that we take for granted in more normal times.
We can also spare a thought for other front line workers too, the families living in crowded urban low quality housing, those who have lost loved ones, those who are really lonely, those affected by mental health problems, or are vulnerable through underlying illness and worried sick. We can try and support or protect those facing domestic violence whilst restriction are in place, and many more.
I am very grateful for my own fortunate position but I don’t take it lightly. I hope that the upsurge in compassion, charity and caring that we have seen over the last 18 months will prove to be a lasting legacy for those that have lost their lives to Covid-19.