It is the 6th of May 2020 and here in Mauritius we are still in lock-down mode. We started with 2 weeks, it was extended to 4, which was sort of expected, then to six weeks which was rough but nonetheless we sort of saw it coming. The double whammy came last Friday night when the Prime Minister of Mauritius announced another one month of lock-down, taking us right past May, possibly, hopefully, resuming some sort of normal life on the 1st of June. We heard the rumors, we read it on social media, it was dismissed as fake news and which meant when the announcement was finally made formally it was that much harder to process.
Emotions ran high, discourse on social media got nasty in places. Depression set in for those who’ve already suffered the consequences of weeks without pay. Life is not normal anymore, things are in disarray. Rules are inconsistent and punishment for transgressing said rules doesn’t fit the crime. Some disregard the rules in any case, living life as nothing has changed. Speaking out on Social Media is not an option as living in another country makes you vulnerable to locals telling you to go back to your own country if you don’t like the rules. It’s not as much as not liking the rules but surely there should be some consistency and some protocol in place. I’ve found that what’s good for the goose is not always necessarily good for the gander so rather be safe than sorry.
By extending lock-down with another month they have added another 31 days, 4.42857 weeks, 744 hours, and 2678400 seconds to our involuntary house-arrest to beat Covid-19. Is it worth it? Having people go hungry. Having people lose their jobs. Having the economy collapse? That is a very personal opinion and not one you want to publish online as logic and polite discourse seems to have left the building. Everyone has an opinion these days and very often you dare not disagree.
We are bombarded with information. Some say it is the end times as set out in the Bible, some reckon it’s the start of WWW3, some are warning against One World Order which to me comes down to option one. Truth is, I don’t want any more information thrown at me. My brain is fried trying to make sense of it all. At the end of the day, what will be will be.
I believe things happen for a reason. What is the reason for lock-down? I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball and even if I did, I cannot see into the future. I cannot make any calls on whether this is to control us or to legitimately eradicate a potentially dangerous virus. don’t know what to believe in the sea of information that threatens to engulf me most days. Conspiracy theories abound. Is 5G the reason we get sick? I don’t know. Is all this happening so we can be chipped and tracked? I don’t know. Is Covid-19 designed to take over the world and change us into little robots as opposed to free-thinking, democratic people? I don’t know. Do I believe the numbers? Do I believe what the media tells us? Which media do I believe? I don’t know. Who’s lying and who’s telling the truth? This alas I also don’t know.
What I do know is that I am tired. What I do know is that most days I am a mess of emotions, I am angry at times for not being able to go out and move freely, sadness for the hungry among us, sometimes I just am. Some days I can find the happiness and calmness inside me and just enjoying being in my home. Some days I am just ambivalent as I potter around the house. Some days, as an empath, I feel all the pain and frustration that is shared with me daily. I try and speak to others daily, whether it be a friend, acquaintance, or a family member. Everyone has a sad story to share at the moment. Each one traumatized in their own way. Each one of us trying to just get through the day. I can keep up a brave face but sometimes inside I am crumbling in sorrow for the people I deal with daily. What I also do know, there is almost always someone worse off than me. It is not something I take comfort in as my heart goes out to them but it is a reminder of how good we still have it despite the conditions we’re bound to at the moment.
I can bemoan the fact that I am not allowed out, I can bemoan the fact that my daughter is far away in SA, I can bemoan the fact that hubby is going to sea and we’ll only see him at the end of May again, I can be pissed off that I cannot move without a permit. Or; I can choose to be thankful that we are still healthy and safe, I can choose to be happy that my daughter is with family and looked after, I can choose to be grateful that my husband still has a job and can earn an income and I can choose to be still; knowing we’ve still got a roof over our heads
We can list all the negatives; financial ruin, people that are going hungry, kids missing school, people with mental illness not being able to cope with isolation, an economy on the brink of collapsing, people dying of Covid-19 and also dying of other illnesses. Or we can try and help the ones going hungry, we can reach out to someone with a mental illness, we can support a local business to keep the economy turning over, we can choose to think positively, creatively and find solutions and not just focus on the negativity and problems. Let’s also try and spare a thought for the front-liners. The people that have NO choice but to get up and go on each morning. Support them in any which way you can. Whether it’s by clapping at a designated time, playing music, saying a prayer, lending a helping hand or just saying thank you.
What I do see at the moment is that there is a lot of positives that we need to grab hold of and hold on to. More people and companies alike have realized that working from home and spending more time with your family is possible. People have started connecting more. Families have been able to spend some time together, cooking together, learning together, bonding together. Some people have applied this gift of time wisely and learned a new skill or read that book they haven’t had time for. The list is endless.
Something I’ve learned in my 43 (almost 44) years on this earth is that once lock-down is the following will be true;
- life will never be the same again, yet at the same time it will, pandemics come and they go, corona came and eventually will either stay or leave, I am not sure we can control it at the end of the day
- We will never forget lock-down but we will, we are creatures of habit and creatures with short-term memory, it will always be there but eventually life will just go on
- some will take a lesson out of this and some won’t, it is just how life works
- Our front-line workers are our heros, the people that were out there for you and me
- Toilet-paper will always be an essential item
I am just as guilty in seeing the downside of lock-down and looking past the positives, surely if someone had to ask me yesterday I could have given you a hundred reasons why it is only bad. Lock-down in Mauritius has been very hard. Draining on the emotions. We’re only allowed to shop twice a week on allocated days and according to an alphabetical system. We are not allowed to go out otherwise, no walking, no jogging, no driving anywhere else unless it’s your day to be out or you have an emergency. I’ve started circumventing the NO exercise rule and started to walk to the shop on my designated shopping days. Even if I just buy a loaf of bread it means the world to me to get out and breathe. Later in the day I take the car and do my proper shop. I’ve focused on seeing how and where I can help others and twice a week I shop for my neighbors too as they don’t own a car. We’ve not had electricity in our kitchen for 2 weeks before lock-down started so we’ve been operating without an oven for almost two months now. We’ve been working around that problem by baking in the slow-cooker I brought from South-Africa when we relocated here. It works a treat. Our pool pump stopped working 3 weeks ago, I’ve been learning how to manage the pool with acid and chlorine, not ideal, but it’s keeping it blue until we can sort the problem. These ways of thinking creatively shows that we can make a situation work for us if we take some time to think of a solution that works for everyone.
Having said all that I can honestly say that there are times during lock-down that I have belly-laughed more in a day than I’ve done in a year. I’ve connected with more people daily, touching base, and just checking in. Memes will never be the same. Inside jokes abound, everything is funny, we all have a skewed sense of humor at times. I’ve certainly made my share of inappropriate jokes, shared my perhaps unpopular opinion, ate more snacks than I normally would have ( I have no idea why?), and drunk more alcohol than was probably necessary. I don’t think in the greater scheme of things it matters. It is all about personal survival, how you do it is not important, that you do it is what counts.
In the meantime, the only advice I can give you is to take some time off social media(haven’t been able to do so myself but one can try), stop believing every little thing you read. If you have to know what is going on ensure you do your research on believable, trusted sites.
Let go and let God. Fretting about something we have NO control over and cannot change by ourselves just elevate our stress-levels and makes us anxious. I can probably write a book about it. When I am stressed it manifests in my body and my fibromyalgia kicks in with a vengeance. There are NO pills for that. I need to decompress and get rid of whatever is stressing me out. No mean feat.
So remember; when you are stressed out and anxious your immune system takes a hit. When your immune system is down you are prone to getting sick. So take a step back and try and keep your fears in check, take care of your mind and your body, exercise and keep healthy, if you need someone to talk to make sure to reach out. The rest will take care of itself.
On a last note; keep up the social distance when and if you are out. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Keep safe!
*photo not my own, used from Canva