This week was very much a continuation of last week. I hated this week as much, if not more than last week.
This week the Tasmanian government reopened the borders to interstate travellers, which brought a lot of anxiety for a lot of people, even though it had been announced several weeks ago, presumably to get people used to the idea.
I can only speak for how I feel, but I’ve seen and heard enough comments on social media, in the news and at work to be fairly certain I’m not the only person who feels anxious and distressed about it. Not only anticipatory anxiety in the weeks and days leading up to the day but also hyper vigilance after it knowing that the virus may be in the community any time now.
I know that a lot of what’s happening in all the areas of my world that are upsetting me (it’s more than covid) is beyond my control, and I know that I need to bring my focus back to what I can actually influence, which at the moment isn’t a lot.
In particular, I can’t control what other people do.
The Australian prime minster insists that the government needs to stay out of people’s lives in terms of imposing restrictions and health rules, which seems like an entirely reasonable approach to managing a global pandemic that has no end in sight, right? Ahem. This bizarre statement came even though the World Health Organisation continues to highlight the need for wearing masks, hand hygiene, ventilation and social distancing. It seems unfathomable to me that the need to get vaccinated has been pushed as hard as it has (which is obviously necessary) but other measures to reduce the virus spreading are being seen as personal choices.
That would be okay if people’s personal choices didn’t impact on other people’s health and safety, but they do. If that were actually a logical argument, why would we have speed limits?
(As I was writing this, the Tasmanian government had not made a decision about masks, but on Sunday announced mandatory masks to apply from Tuesday. Cue the “we can’t keep living in fear” comments.)
My view is this. We have spent the past almost two years being told the virus is very bad and very scary. Remember, it’s a global pandemic. It’s a health emergency. Five million people have died worldwide. That’s five million people with lives, hopes, dreams and people who loved them. Our brains know this is a frightening thing. To then turn this around and expect everyone to relax about it and no longer fear the virus goes completely against what our brains have believed for the last two years. Yes, some people are perfectly fine with it and that’s great for them. But some people are still very frightened for themselves or for vulnerable family and friends. Our feelings about this are just as real as those of the people who are happy to have the borders open. Everyone adjusts in their own way and their own time. No one way of dealing with it is the right way and there is no deadline here.
I have been distressed and I am anxious and worried and scared. I’ve been using as many resources as I have at my disposal to manage these feelings, but the one thing I won’t do is to try and make them go away. I’ve been focusing on accepting how I feel and on trying to release things I have no control over, which is most of the things at the moment, including decisions on public health measures and things that other people do or don’t do.
I’ve developed my own plan for the things I can do that will make me feel safe as possible when I go out. I know that in most of the places I go, I have control over three of the things the WHO is recommending.
So right now, my plan includes keeping away as much as possible from areas where there are a lot of people, making sure I sanitise my hands, and wearing a mask pretty much everywhere, even before the mandate was announced.
I know some people aren’t doing some of these things. This makes me uncomfortable, which is one reason for the avoid other people as much as possible tactic, but I can’t control what they do. I can only control what I do and how I react to what’s happening. To help with this, I’ve cut back on reading the news and social media, especially comments that are disrespectful and unhelpful for people who feel like I do. They just fuel my discomfort.
Ultimately, doing whatever I can do is all I can do. The rest I must get comfortable letting go of so that I can use my mental bandwidth to look after myself.
21 for 2021 update
Two weeks to go, so many unfinished things!
The 30-day voice course (thing 3)
I worked through Day 5 of the course and then got a bit stuck.
Kramstable’s videos (thing 8)
I worked on the edits that Kramstable pointed out on the finished video and have given it back to him for a final check and any last cuts he wants. The plan is to have it ready for viewing on Christmas day.
My mother’s story (thing 9)
I worked through one of the interview transcripts because I have around ten that I haven’t looked at yet. It was a big job and took a lot longer than I thought it would. I use the Otter app, which transcribes up to 30 minutes in a free plan (recently reduced from 40 minutes) and it does a reasonable job.
Sometimes, however, it delivers gems like this, which was part of a conversation about Mum and Dad’s honeymoon. “We went to New little fuckin around a bed.”
This is obviously NOT what Mum said.
Any guesses as to what she actually said?
21 for 2021 summary
Things completed this week: 0
Things completed to date: 5 (1, 11, 17, 18, 20)
Things I progressed: 3 (3, 8, 9)
Things in progress I didn’t progress: 9 (2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 16,)
Things not started: 4 (12, 15, 19, 21)
What else did I do this week?
What was the best thing about this week?
I got a random card in the mail, unsigned, with a card for a free coffee and the message “Hope this brightens your day”. That was a lovely, unexpected surprise and I have absolutely no idea who it’s from.
I guess that’s the point!
Thank you, random act of kindness person, whoever you are. I’m grateful for your lovely gesture.
What I’m reading this week
Wrest Point: The Life, The Times and The People of Tasmania’s Hotel by Graeme Tonks and Mark Dibben
Rustication by Charles Palliser
Fearless Writing by William Kenower
Know Thyself by Stephen M Fleming
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Days I went for a walk in the morning (Goal = 7): 7
Days I did my morning planning routine at work (Goal = 4): 0
Days I did my post-work pack up routine (Goal = 4): 0
Days I worked on my art (Goal = 2): 5
Days I read a book (Goal = 7): 7
Days I did yoga stretches (Goal = 7): 0
Days I had a lunch break away from my desk (Goal = 5 work days): 5
Days I went for a walk or did other physical activity in the afternoon (Goal = 5): 5
Days I shut my computer down before 9.30 (Goal = 6): 6