23 April 2020
Social Distancing in Cumbria
Week 5 – 21/04/2020
by Vic Leader
Thirty-five days without being with any of my family except my wife. When she asked me whether I was feeling sad or otherwise emotionally disturbed by the lockdown, which I am not and she is increasingly, I realised I’d gone into my “ice” mode, my neutral self. We humans are incredibly adaptable. The world I inhabited just over 5 weeks ago is no more, how far that is temporary remains to be seen and is not concerning me because I am focused on now. I am following the scientific, and my own, advice. Staying at home, using my time to do new things and think.
I am not trying to tell anyone ‘how to’ or ‘what to’ do, but prompting some thought about ‘what’ and ‘how’ we might improve.
This week has featured much about value. How we value healthcare workers as opposed to celebrities. How billionaires ask for government help and whether those with little are getting it quickly enough or at all. How do we value anything? At basic level the more we want, the higher we value it. That applies at both a personal, group or even state level. And it is not fixed. So how we will value healthcare, for instance, after COVID19 remains to be seen. In my view we should be insisting upon far better crisis planning. At government and top business level the pandemic is not a surprise. It was long overdue, and ‘plans were laid’ long ago. They just were not enacted, or at least not sufficiently.
So how do we value a country? Basically, the higher the GDP the richer the country; that is the theory. However, we know from recent exposes that GDP includes items that are harmful and excludes some that are of value to citizens. How do you value care? For a favourite uncle, a new-born babe, a known criminal? How do we value fresh air? Not at all, only the various ingredients we introduce into it to make it harmful to us, and others.
The pandemic has affected most countries of the world. It is a rare (valuable?) moment. We have a common enemy. There is some consensus. It would be positive to use this moment, say at G20 or UN level to reconsider how we value human activity. “How we live WITHIN nature” might be a theme to help guide such review.
Returning to my here and now, how am I coping? The first week was the toughest. Most of my life routines wiped away. I have created a new infrastructure, starting with basics: get up, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bed. Simple but an important backbone for the day. Add cooking, household jobs, staying in touch with people, my hobby. You see how it works. Everyone of us is different and the structure will be different, so these are only examples. Create your own, substitute it for your ‘normal’ one. Fretting makes life a real grind when you can’t follow it through.
That’s enough, stay well, my friends, stay strong, be positive.