Be grateful for perspective.

It is safe to say we collectively have a touch of Coronavirusfatigue. It’s all over our television broadcasts, our social media, our print media. We are texting about it, chatting on the phone about it, FaceTiming about it, Zooming about it. It has impacted every facet of life from work to shopping. Socialising to exercising. It would be nigh on impossible to find a single person on our planet who is not impacted by this little protein wrapped killer.

It is quite easy to feel sorry for oneself when the world tips upside-down and you can’t even buy toilet paper unless the planets align. I’ll preface my upcoming blurb by clarifying I am not remotely a hippie, although I respect that way of thinking amongst various others. What I’m about to say isn’t revolutionary. But I find the thought process below helpful if things feel fraught. Particularly as isolation becomes the new norm.

Be grateful for everything that has gone right.
Look at the big picture and find perspective.

External gin drinking space within my diminutive chateau where one can ponder in isolation.

Psychology instructs us that every experience and resulting emotional response we have is valid. We feel what we feel. Our individual challenges and fears should not be diminished because they are less grave in magnitude than another person’s trauma. This philosophy is of immense value in therapy, particularly for people who discount major pain in a way that is detrimental to their healing.

However, there are also circumstances where we need to get a grip. Reach outside our self isolating walls and take in the big picture of collective human experience and suffering. ‘Year of the Pandemic’ seems as good a time as any to practice that technique.

Be grateful for everything that has gone right.

That’s enough about me. What do you think of me……. 😉

Looking at events within my own life quite a few things could be classified as having gone wrong. Not an ideal childhood, very abusive marriage, loss of my old job and career. On paper that’s a bit of a crap sandwich. Have I had the odd day where I’ve whined, “Oh for the love of GOD”? Well yes of course I have. I wryly commented to someone the other day that everything has culminated spectacularly in a world plague. It’s the grand finale. Yet, that’s where the field levels out and there’s a unique opportunity to examine how things have played out overall. As the world is tipping over, how on balance many things have unexpectedly ended up going right. Some people call it practising gratitude or perhaps counting blessings. I like those two terms but .. excuse the crass terminology .. I also rather embrace the phrase ‘pulling your head out of your arse’.

These are ways I have pulled my own head from my posterior region at key moments.

I learned a lot from the negative aspects of my childhood – including being content in my own company and developing certain forms of resilience. Whilst I would have preferred not to have had the challenges I experienced, I may have missed all those formative lessons that are coming in very handy right now.

My marriage was a long and traumatic path but it also taught me a lot. Being abused made me examine my childhood and seek out professionals to unravel what had taken place there; and subsequently what was taking place with my then husband. I learned I was strong enough to leave. Be grateful for everything that has gone right. If I had not left when I did, I would now be trapped with my abuser being watched, controlled and frighteningly isolated. I am grateful for where I am every day and never more so than now. The relief is absolutely palpable. The plight of anyone in a domestically violent home during this crisis fills me with horror.

After a distinguished career in professional theatre, five months ago that particular phase came to an end for me. At least in the the form it had been for well over two decades … you can’t really keep a determined thespian down. Where I might have remained unchallenged or stagnant for the rest of my working life, instead I have been motivated to study. I continue to do so and my inner nerd loves further education. I quickly found a new branch of performance and a little niche. Yes, the work I moved into has been clobbered by COVID-19 like many other industries, but that will pass. I am excited about what I might do and what opportunities may arise next. What could have been viewed as a sad thing has perversely opened up a whole new world of potential skills and people. A wrong has in fact gone very right. Enforced time in isolation is providing scope to think further outside the box. What can be achieved and created after we recover? Sitting within four walls is the ideal time to get more studies under the belt. (My inner nerd is delirious). I am grateful for all I have in life right now that makes that possible.

Gratitude for my fur family, two of whom are seen here in annoying mode 🙂

Look at the big picture and find perspective.
The world is in an utter mess. There’s no way to avoid that fact. This pandemic is the biggest health crisis to sweep the world in 100 years (excluding the very nasty glitches of SARS, MERS and Ebola). It is the greatest economic hit since the Great Depression. The Queen is about to address The Commonwealth for only the fourth time in her extensive reign as everything goes to hell in a hand basket. (Things have to be grim for Lillibet to make ‘the speech’). Mr. Trump is making a disturbing hash of things and Europe has been utterly hammered. puts out daily stats on disease numbers, recoveries, testing and related facts. Many of us are already at saturation point but it makes for sobering reading. As I write this there are 1,195,371 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. The U.S.A has chalked up 277,491, Italy has 119,827 and Spain has 119,199 but those figures shift constantly. Australia sits at 5,544. Disturbingly, these figures are only as accurate as the testing undertaken and some nations have no way of charting the progress of the disease and no real way to protect or treat many of their people. Indonesia and India are prime examples. Estimates sit at about five million infections worldwide at this stage of the pandemic.

The figures are sobering as to the gravity of the crisis. They are also sobering at a personal level. They should serve to wake us up and gain perspective on our personal situations.

It’s another removing head from derrière moment.

As I write this I am perched on a comfortable chair in my comfortable Australian home. A country that is making (despite our many valid political criticisms) a concerted effort to keep us all alive and in one piece at the other end of this world crisis. I have a nice little home in which to isolate myself. I have food, alcoholic beverages, hot and cold running water, electricity, plentiful entertainment, three beloved pets, a nice bed, medications and the prospect of monetary welfare to see me through. I have a computer where I can see my friends via the wonders of technology, a mobile phone. I even found some toilet paper when I last went to the shops. Praise be.


Indulged dog hogging my nice bed during pandemic…

None of the above is negating the fact that everyone is doing it tough. Job losses, loneliness, uncertainty, money worries and anxiety. No-one is feeling as though things are going particularly well right now. I personally find taking a breath and assessing what you actually have and where you actually are can do wonders. No-one wants to deal with Centrelink (what’s that all about) nor cobble together a sketchy financial survival plan. No-one enjoys sitting on the couch wondering when the hell they’ll work again and how all that will actually come back together. But we can all rejoice we have that prospect. Thousands of dead will never have that luxury and many thousands will be displaced and desperate across a virus ravaged world. Waiting a few weeks for Centrelink to get it together and scrounging for loo paper isn’t that bad.

Looking at my own industry of many years. Losing scheduled gigs as a performer is a disappointment and a financial black hole. I am in that boat with a myriad of others. As artists we absolutely shouldn’t fall through the welfare cracks merely because of our mode of career. That would be manifestly unfair. Or the future cracks as things are restructured on the other side of the pandemic. That being said, we shouldn’t scream disproportionately like spoiled children that we have lost everything. We certainly shouldn’t whine that our various arts companies are owed automatic salvation. Each should earn their new fate by their merits. No one sector is more worthy than another. Some industries will be more vital than our own as the world recovers and it would be nauseatingly Narcissistic to view it otherwise.

The world is facing reorder in a way we have never seen and we can’t yet view how it will pan out. We are passing through a remarkable time in history. A time when it’s natural to not feel everything is okay because it isn’t.

Gratitude and perspective. For the most part we are lucky people housed in a very lucky country.

Fingers crossed we all have a lucky outcome. Stay safe. xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s