Updated: Apr 6, 2020
It's day 9 of Self Isolation and like many I am adjusting to the new normal. Trying to figure out the silver lining or if I am going to run out of toilet paper before that magical rainbow of hope appears.
Switzerland where I live has been in a state of an emergency for just over a week, but my home land is New Zealand, a long way from where I am. In NZ they are just starting to come to grips with what feels like a surreal reality based on what has happened here the last few weeks.
Covoid-19 is a global pandemic, taking lives, and devouring the economic blue print of what use to afford the privilege of simply walking down a street without fear of getting sick. New Zealand has just reached a level 3 state of emergency with level 4 approaching this Wednesday.
Before human kind were self-isolating, social-distancing, scrubbing hands tirelessly, panic buying, shoving people for hand sanitizer and stabbing people for toilet paper... Like many we were about as far away from this global crisis as you could possibly comprehend.
Basking in the sun on an Island in the Philippines enjoying the end of a 3 month holiday travelling the Caribbean Europe and Asia, watching the sun rise and set each day. I was in a bubble feeling loved overlooking Chocolate Hills, swimming in beautiful reefs with turtles, fish, snakes, coral and whale sharks… My mind was free, passionate, hopeful that my adventurous spirit wouldn’t land me in hospital again as it has done before. Still not ready to work… A couple weeks later I flew to Lapland and I was on a husky sled tour, trying to avoid dog shit splatting into my face, but loving every minute of it… apart from the shit. I was with my partner looking forward to Christmas and the arrival of the new year, where good things were planned, finally settling down in Switzerland for the foreseeable future. The feeling was magic, and 2020 was for all intensive purposes going to be a good one.
Another couple weeks passed having confirmed a new job I then decided with my partner to lap up my last ounce of freedom and booked a trip to New York, we took full advantage of shopping in Macy’s, 5th Avenue, and gallivanting around the city, watching Phantom of the Opera, Tina Turner, dancing in night clubs, and inhaling food whilst sipping cocktails on top of the Empire State Building… gazing down towards the concrete jungle in a twist of hope and belief in a life with my partner in crime conquering the world together. A week later we would land on the tarmac in Switzerland which finally started to feel like my home away from New Zealand, beginning a new job, learning how to simulate into a different culture, operational systems, business processes, language, communication, and for the first time in years I felt challenged and settled. It was as perfect as it could possibly be...
On the 16th of March 2020 I went to work as the impending state of emergency swallowed the nation during a government announcement the day before… I was concerned mostly about how I was going to organise myself working from home, I was planning logistically how to transfer my office to my home, contacting my mother in-law, only to find out that later in the afternoon during an emergency meeting that I lost my job because of the economical climate and downfall caused by Coronavirus.
All I felt was shock, sadness, compassion and hope for the company, but not for myself…it was a strange and peculiar feeling.
3 days later I was sitting up restless in the wee hours of the morning, my partner snoring away in his usual dreamscape, exhausted after arriving from Finland on the last plane before the boarders were closed, his contract cut short, and I was feeling (and still am) anxious with just how disappointing the last 9 days have actually been. My disappointment however is targeted at the collective state of our humanity, my own humanity included… who are we really? It reminds me yet again (and perhaps will do the same for you, too) just how we as human beings in Western society take our privilege and position for granted, and now seem to be reverting back to a time where our basic needs to live and survive take precedence beyond anything we could have anticipated.
Humans have never been super incumbent creatures and we never will be. Luck is contingent on provisional situations, undefined, and whimsical at the best of times. We have scorned and poked fun at other people who by circumstances have endured, cultural, religious, racist, political and personal sufferings, deeming people to react out of vulnerability.
Humans who have abandoned their homes, countries, families in an attempt for something other than the experience they are living through. Similar to what we think we are living though presently. Unlike ours, their fate was physically apparent, bombs blasting, guns held to heads, lined up and being beaten, stabbed, raped and held captive or worse watching those they loved being murdered. Ours is pending. We now have the time to take a long look at ourselves introspectively and wake up from a discourse of the fake sense of security our privilege has afforded us. There is and always will be a greater lesson from this.
Our stride depends on the grace we give our planet, how far we go depends on what we do in order to wake up, the answer is in the way we look to others for help, and who we give our help too. Money seems to be the only common currency our generation understands that has leverage to create power and freedom, but it’s not true.
Your power is you, not what you have, or don’t. Thinking with figures and business, is a casualty that does not and will not save you from yourself. The hysteria, the racism, the political agendas, the economic downfall, the fact humans think they have power due to wealth or a fancy education does not make you better than someone else, it makes you more fortunate. It is the choices we make every day to be more conscious and more evolved, none of those decisions are exclusively made with our brains, they are made with our hearts. Who are we really? What are we made of?
I visualize the masses of human discomfort forced too think deeply right now, what do my actions make me in the role I have to play on earth, what positive impact do I really have? Who am I in a situation of disaster, panic and unpredictable mayhem? I was 8 years old when I first experienced this question during a boating accident, stuck underneath it, turbulent rough seas right out in the open waters on the East Coast of New Zealand, there was an air pocket underneath the capsized vessel, I was lucky otherwise if there wasn’t, I would have drowned... I managed to get out, and could hear my mum screaming, my dad diving under the boat trying to find me, they were relieved to see me and there friend who was with us that day shivering and scared trying to crawl on top of the capsized boat for buoyancy. In the end we were all lucky that someone from a long way was watching us with a telescope in his home on shore, he seen what happened and eventually we were rescued. If he didn’t see us... we'd probably all be dead or at least tried our best to swim a very long way to shore. The bizarre thing is I wasn’t scared. Being fearful will not help a situation, finding solutions and controlling our own behaviors is what we can control.
Luck is circumstantial, preparation for a situation is smart, a cure paramount, but the lesson is an introspective one, what is this situation here to teach us about ourselves, our humanity and each other?
Covoid-19 will not discriminate, it emphasizes our endured social inequalities and vulnerabilities. How much we collectively fall will be the direct result of each and every one of our actions. It is time we all wake up.