by Jon Biddle
Personally, I am week two in to the lockdown, and how has it been for both Sam and I?
The government, on the face of things, seem to be there to help us, I think Sunak said “we will do whatever it takes.” But that isn’t necessarily correct. It turns out that the furlough payments won’t be available just yet, and the self-employed are being left out in the cold for a while yet. No doubt, when this will be all over, the self-employed will have to pay for the deficit made by the “we will do what ever it takes” statement, something tells me that this statement will come to haunt the Chancellor of the Exchequer in years to come.
So, the money coming in for the HMRC, being able to pay the bills, the economy saved, and all I have to do is sit this shit out and hope that it doesn’t affect me, my wife or my children that live in London, which is the Chernobyl of the coronavirus outbreak.
Well, if I am honest, I am more than qualified to be in lockdown, ten years in the military, I am used to being isolated in more austere locations and being messed about; I am also as you know a medical professional, so my knowledge of infection control and infection vectors is probably at a level of deeper understanding than most. So I have this, this won’t be a challenge. You should consider a rural tour of Northern Ireland, spending days on end living in ditches and eating frugally, food that ‘backs’ you up like you have no idea. Being wet for six months, being shot at, blown up and spat at by the locals. Three months stuck in my house, with my wife who I adore, Netflix, a full fridge and soft bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, really, life isn’t so bad. We are tough, taking the time to spend three hours at least apart from each other. Sam in her office, while I sit in my writing room, writing, editing and learning. We should stay ahead of the psychopathy curve and not want to stab each other any time soon. As much as we love each other, we both need to have our own mental space to see us through the day, we’re both not ignorant to this fact.
So, I sit and watch the news, trying to see through the current narrative of catastrophe, doom and gloom. I get it, this is a tough spot, but we have all become ‘so’ entitled in this life. We ought to unpack this disaster and find your own narrative. It’s an opportunity for you to change your life, like a re-boot. You have at least three months to start a new hobby, start an online course, write that book you have been promising the world for the last twenty years. Bill Gates was right. He has been saying this was coming for years, I remember the TED talk a few years back, and thought ‘jog on mate,’ and put his insight down to him becoming a little eccentric from all the money that he has, but how wrong was I, and how wrong was the world. But like he said, this is the great corrector, the virus will make us take a step back, catch our breath from the insanity of what this world has become and take stock of what we should now do as human beings.
I had a chat with a colleague of mine, a trauma nurse of nearly 35 years. She loves her work and lives for it. But during these times of lockdown and her own body letting her down, forcing her to stay home with an underlying condition that places her in the at-risk category, she realised that the Home-life isn’t so bad. In fact, she loves it that much, when the crisis is over she’s cashing her chips in to become a housewife. If I had told her this six months ago, she most probably would have punched me in the mouth.
So I guess the lesson here is that your home and your family are what’s most important. If you are struggling, reach out and connect. If you’re at home twiddling your thumbs, start a course, there are literally thousands of on-line education courses that you can do right now. Start that hobby. Amazon is still sending stuff, so get that hobby going, you have no excuses now, now the coronavirus has forced us into a pace of life that has made us test the very things that are important. Theres a New York entrepreneur that I follow on social media, Gary Vaynerchuk. He said on his Twitter feed “this is the pause you need to push.” That simply means you now have no excuses to follow through on your dreams, literally zero excuses to make. So use this time productively, don’t waste a second during your isolation and lockdown.
One thing is for sure, at the end of this, how different will the world be? Will we be travelling like we did? Will we focus as much on work as we had done? Or will the pace of life slow down to appreciate the better things that life can give us?
A thought comes to me often as I have tried to make sense of this world throughout my adult life, is there must be more than just the alarm clock starting the treadmill of the ‘job,’ and how spending 50 hours a week away from your family was ever a good idea, like who the fuck thought that shit up. It just makes little sense. And now humanity, without prejudice, is forced to take that step back and try to figure out what is important.
I wish you well, with all of my heart, no matter how you feel, this will pass. Like everything, the calm will return. But when that does, you owe it to yourself, your family and to humanity, to make those adjustments and find the root of yourself and become the person you’re supposed to become, not what society thinks you should.