Hopefully by the time you read this it is already over, but as I write this Victoria is in the middle of a “circuit breaker” lockdown in an attempt to curtail the spread of new cases of COVID-19. Whatever your views on whether this lockdown is justified, and who is to blame, the news of the lockdown has been greeted with mixed emotions.
Melburnians especially can remember the long, drawn out lockdown measures of last year, and the news of this one—as short as it might be intended to be—have caused a genuine psychological shock, not to mention the financial impact it has coming over the Valentine’s Day weekend.
Here we go again?
Part of this is born of “lockdown fatigue”, but there is a real dread that this may end being a repeat of last year, where it seemed like the lockdown lasted forever, and we missed out on so much that we took for granted. From the lesser loss of social interaction, to those denied proper weddings and funerals, no one wants to go through that again, and right now we just don’t know how long it might last. It’s the uncertainty that is hanging over Victorian heads the way the smoke of last summer’s bushfires crept through the city.
We either learn from history, or are doomed to repeat it
But, as much as it is hard not to focus on the negatives of the last lockdown period, perhaps the tonic for what ails us to think about the things that got us through, and take the lessons so hard earned and use them to make this time a little easier. It might be remembering the way our communities pulled together and the interactions we had with people on a street that somehow became richer than what we had known before.
It could mean taking the time out from the rat race that is forced upon on us, and using it for self improvement, whether it is going for walks or reading that book we’d always meant to. It could be using video or phone calls to check in on people and see how they are doing, not letting the physical distance prevent us from coming closer to one another in other ways.
Freedom is a state of mind
Whatever it is, we need to remember what we learned last time. We can’t control the restrictions that coronavirus puts on us, but we can control how we respond to it. We can focus on the things we can't do, or we can apply our minds to discovering every last thing, new or old, that we can do. In the end, our physical bodies can be locked down, but our minds and hearts are as free as we will let them be.
David Goodwin is the former Editor of The Salvation Army’s magazine,War Cry. He is also a cricket tragic, and an unapologetic geek.
David Goodwin archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-goodwin.html