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Lockdown reflections (last day of level 5)

I dunno about you, but my social media feed has been full of angry South Africans over the last 48 hours. As the country moves to lockdown level 4, the ventilation of pent-up frustration after five weeks of being couped up indoors is now making its way on to status updates: everything from cigarettes and alcohol to the education department’s meeting of schools going back.

For those who don’t know, we’re allowed to exercise in the morning between 6am and 9am. That’s been the cause of much angst – people insinuating that government thinks that the Coronavirus “rests” during that time.

Sigh. And face-palm.

Thankfully, one of my friends posted a wonderful reprieve:

“I have never jogged in my life. But Friday morning I’m gonna be out there. Just running and screaming into the Abyss.”

She’s hysterical. And beautifully honest.

I’ve considered a couple things these past few days. After a week of lockdown I blogged about trivial things like exercise and beard growth…

(Incidentally, here’s the progress pic.)

…as well as questions around what the world looks like amidst and post-Covid19. Some of those questions included:

  • what does it look like to work from home?
  • how do we actually put food on the table?
  • How do we get around issues of limited resources, communication from home and a completely different work schedule with kids in the mix?

Well I’d be lying if I said it was easy. The slower rhythms of family and work have been good, I will admit, but I haven’t understood them properly.

One nugget of wisdom came from Graeme Codrington. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

If you think we’ll be back to “normal” soon and haven’t heard yet, I’ll let you know: this is another few months – at least – of disruption. In fact, I don’t think we’ll return to any type of normal this year.

The world we lived in used to sprint. It’s still trying to sprint, even though it can’t sprint anywhere. And in the process, I see how we are depleting the reserves needed for the long haul. Resources, like empathy and appreciation, have all but run out.

I’ve fallen into the same trap. For example, as far as some of my work goes, I have fallen into the trap of trying to churn out the same amount of content online as what I work in a normal day. I’ve realised, all too slowly, that very few have the capacity to listen and absorb what I (or anyone else for that matter) does in a day or in a week. (Case in point: see if you can watch your way through the whole of this 17-minute video from before Covid-19.)

Another thing that’s happened is everyone is rushing to get set up online… I have resisted the frenetic haste to get set up with digital cameras and sound, for three reasons:

  1. I have no spare cash lying around for that, which solves the issue temporarily. Lol.
  2. There’s something to be said for the “first shall be last and the last shall be first” when it comes to technology… often the teething problems get sorted out if you wait a while, and in addition to that, equipment becomes cheaper as time goes on.
  3. Who’s to say digital consumption won’t evolve past video in its current form? For me, the best, most meaningful engagement I get is from written content.

The final thing I’ve been trapped with in my own head is that I have had days where I have forgotten that learning is this beautiful life-long process, not the daily deadline that has to be met. Being a home-school (or Corona-school?) dad has been wonderfully revelatory for me in that way: some days my kids nail their stuff and their work with crystal clear focus and attention; and then other days they just can’t see the wood from the trees… same diet, same routine, mainly the same external factors… but I’ve realised they’re young and they’re growing beyond what and how I tell them to. In other words, they’re growing regardless, there’s no need to rush it. Tomorrow is another day, and we needn’t kill ourselves if every box wasn’t ticked that I thought needed to be ticked. There are other things that happen in a day, and those things need to be appreciated.

Like I said, I haven’t understood these slower rhythms. And judging from other angry South Africans online, I don’t think they have either. We’re trying to keep up (read: trying to sprint) with… what exactly? The world is not going anywhere fast. It’s evolving, at marathon pace. Best we extend some empathy towards each other as well as ourselves, and breathe in the new world as it comes to us, and pace ourselves accordingly.

Donate towards the Great Deep.

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