It’s an odd, odd feeling, writing to you from inside quarantine days.
When we thought about our goals for 2020, I don’t think many of us thought we’d be at where we are now: on lockdown or close to it, unable to leave the house for fear of infection.
A month ago, I still thought Coronavirus was a joke, a hyper-inflated sense of panic. I had no idea that soon, we’d pull our children out of school, stay at home with religious fervour and change the very fabric of our life. And yet, here we are.
What strikes me is how incredibly resilient and adaptable we are as humans.
After all, that is our saving grace, the thing that has made us survive as a species as long as we have. New information? Sudden new way of existing? We will feel all the feelings: anxiety, overwhelm, fear. And then we’ll get on with adapting almost instantly. It really is an incredible thing to witness. Things I thought were impossible two weeks ago are possible, and what’s more: I’m ok. I’m adapting.
Now I should say: I know I am remarkably privileged. I am white, I live in a developed country, I’ve already homeschooled before so don’t have much of a learning curve, we have plenty of savings we can live off, and my businesses are already well established online.
I know that this time is deeply stressful and filled with pain for many: financial uncertainties, being under-resourced to homeschool and/or work from home, the huge loss of lives, the economic downturn and the massive stress of our health systems and health workers.
And yet, here we are. Humans, doing what we’ve always done. Adapting.
As Glennon Doyle would say: We can do hard things.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my ancestors lately.
For most of us, our grandparents have gone through times similar to to this. They lived through wars and great depressions. They went without and they lost humans they loved. And they carried on.
And I think: they can do that. I can do this. It’s in my blood.
And I’ve been thinking about our ancestors before them.
How throughout human history, there has been all manners of calamities and fuckups and pandemics and droughts and famines and freakouts. And yet… we’ve continued on. All of us surviving well enough to birth a new generation and bring them into the world. Our ancestors have a 100% survival rate. Isn’t that fucking remarkable?
I think about my ancestors when I work out how we’ll manage these times ahead. I think of them when I look in the fridge to see what will go off next, what needs to be used up beforehand, what meal I’ll invent next. I think of them when I plant new seedlings and I ration out the eggs.
And most of all, I think of them when I plant two new citrus trees, and I call them Marion and Audrey after my grandmothers.
They’ve done hard things. I can do this.
I think maybe just maybe this is an opportunity
Here in Australia, we cannot get groceries delivered currently. Many grocery stores have shortages, and there are rations on many items.
And so I – and so many others – turn to what we should have been doing all along. We order fruit and vegetable delivery from our local farmers. We eat less processed food out of pure necessity. And we plant seeds to make our own gardens – so much so there’s shortages everywhere of gardening supplies. We buy chickens for our backyards in such great droves that there’s now a 3 month wait before you can get them.
This is Australia panic buying our way into self-sufficiency. The thing we should have been doing all along. For our health. For our environment. For our own sweet souls.
The world seems quieter right now
There’s no place I need to be. Nothing I need to be doing.
I water my plants. I make up meals to use what we have.
For lunch, there was a perfectly ripe avocado, some wilting tomatoes, a sad carrot and spring onions. I fry up the wilting shit with garlic and herbs from the garden. Toast some 2 day old bread, put the fry on top with sliced avocado and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze that’s been rolling around the bottom of the fridge. It was the best thing I’d eaten in weeks. I should have been doing this all along, I think to myself.
My kids are at home, and all the pressure is off. Don’t need to get them to school. Don’t need to make plans to see anyone. No appointments. Just sweet, quiet emptiness.
It feels like we are living in a different era.
A couple of days ago, me and the kids spent the morning riding around our yard on bikes, then laid out an extreme hopscotch obstacle course. And I watched my children play, and there was nowhere we needed to be, and nothing we needed to be thinking of, and I thought: this is a very 1970s childhood right now.
I don’t want this to be over
There’s an odd and aching feeling in my chest. Of how, when you are on holidays, you love it AND you’re always counting down what you have left of it. You know it will be over one day, and it will all be just sweet memories.
That’s how I feel. I want to hold onto these sweet, quiet days ferociously.
I don’t want these days to be over too soon. I want this time to change me, indelibly, so the me before quarantine and the me after is unrecognisable. I want this time to work its way through me and re-centre my life. I want it to show me what is tender and possible and right.
We sit on the verandah this morning.
I’ve made french toast out of that half-stale bread and extra eggs.
“Honey,” I ask my husband. “Can I pick your brain about something?”
He leans back in his chair, stretches his hands behind his head and says:
“Go right ahead. I’ve got nowhere to be but here.”
All my love,
P.S. Stay safe and stay home, my dearest loves. Let’s get full on 1800s up in these parts. And let’s celebrate the fuck out of our health workers and essential workers. They are, indeed, angels on earth.