One

©careerusinterruptus

Hoo boy, you know it’s Interesting Times when you don’t know what to write. Where to start? Where in the mid-cyclone wreckage of March 2020 to even begin?

On the one hand: COVID-19. Jesus. You don’t want to hear any more about that. I sure as hell don’t.

On the other hand: #theKindnessPandemic. #teddybearhunt. Adopt A Healthcare Worker. Brilliant stuff, all of it. Genuinely giving of hope that there may be a chance humanity isn’t as fucked as I tend to think it is. Look at us, reaching out. Look at us, giving. Helping. Jacinda freaking-god-love-her Ardern. It’s out there, people. It’s our job to breathe life into it, and people are stepping up.

©careerusinterruptus

On the one hand: staying at home. This one actually doesn’t suck, for a bona-fide, card-carrying introvert. Except…

On the one hand: being quarantined with 2e kids, one of whom thinks this is the perfect opportunity to prove he can live on Minecraft alone, while the other one is extremely extroverted and rocking a serious nosophobia.

On the other hand: Operation Ouch, Horrible Histories, Steve Backshall, Mark Rober. Look how the latter have stepped up, bless them. Darlings. Our viewing cup runneth over. Online libraries, concerts, audiobooks being made available for free. Extra plugs for Hardball and Mustangs F.C. You know your kids’ viewing is brilliant when the household adults are keen to watch, too. Thank all the stars above for the ABC. Science and the arts – the finest endeavours humanity has ever produced – are keeping everyone alive and afloat, right now. Pray they all recognise and remember that. No, stuff prayer. REMIND THEM.

Hardball. Image Source

On the one hand: trying to care for 84yo deaf, demented mum, who still lives alone, whilst maintaining social distancing. She can’t hear if you’re a llama away, no matter how you bellow. Bellowing is no way to communicate, anyway. And she needs hugs, dammit.

On the other hand: my wonderful sister, connecting Mum to the internet, lending her an iPad, showing her FaceTime with the grandkids. My kids putting chooks on their heads for her amusement. (The chooks, tolerating this and not pooping in the house!)

© careerusinterruptus

On the one hand: the ramifications of the global economic recession that surely will follow. This one… god. This one is going to be hard.

On the other hand: the forced slowdown, the unprecedented technological connections (see above), the immediate evidence of environmental improvement, the slow seeping public awareness that we can be – no, we must be – a society, rather than an economy. Citizens rather than consumers. The chance, as a society, to rethink our entire value system. To recognise this for the test-run that it is. To cast aside any leadership that sees us solely in terms of our economics in favour of one that sees us first and foremost as humans. To remember what it is we actually, truly, need, and be content.

©careerusinterruptus

I’m not as angry, right now, as I was at the start of the year. (Although, bloody hell, if you talk to me about how our government is handling this…!) I’m still scared; only a heartless fool isn’t. Every afternoon, about 4pm, I’m flooded by a horrid visceral dread and the need to go lie down, hide, cry.

But this is not more than it was before, it’s just more acute. More obtrusive, more in-your-face, more, RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, but – and this is really fucking important – it is no different to where we were before. We’re in dress rehearsal for the real shit that’s coming and so far, we’re doing okay. You’re doing okay. Go. Use your strength, your intelligence and your creativity, and practice kindness like your life depends on it.

One love, one blood

One life, you got to do what you should

One life, with each other

Sisters, Brothers

One life but we’re not the same.

We get to carry each other, carry each other

– U2, One

Pause for a moment

This is a gratitude post, because the climate and Mum and the Federal election and the climate and Alabama and the climate and Murdoch and the climate and no sleep and oh, dear God, I cannot even bear to think about it. So.

1. Last night, my lovely sister took the kids out for dinner so the Skeptic and I could go celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary. There have been many, many times in the past seven or eight years where I wasn’t sure our marriage would last another day, but fortunately we’d been together so long already that I was pretty confident it was just a phase. A long, crappy phase, to be sure, but a phase nonetheless, and I’m glad neither of us have quit trying to get back to how we were. That we both still want a future together. That is no small thing and it keeps me going.

2. I am grateful for the hours the Skeptic and I put in out back yesterday. Now that I’ve built the gate to keep the vandals out, he spent a couple of hours cleaning poop, feed and feathers off the patio and I could finally plant: kale, spinach, rocket, peas. Oat grass in portable beds for the girls. Dirt under the fingernails: best therapy there is.

3. I am grateful for the girls at the cafe where I write on a Sunday morning. They know my order; they always have a smile and a chat.

4. I am profoundly grateful for U2. Yes, I know: wankers. But they always, always make me feel better, especially when overwhelmed by global despair. I also appreciate, more than you can imagine, the technology allowing me to bluetooth music from my computer directly into my hearing aids while I work.

5. I am grateful for the homeschool group where my kids and I have absolutely found our tribe, the teachers and their kids being absolutely cut from the same crazy cloth. Wise, wry women and weird, wonderful children. It feels good knowing I’ll see them on Tuesday.

6. Last, but far from least, I have the best friends. I’ve rewritten this paragraph twice because the more I thought about it the more I had to appreciate: from Abbie letting me bounce bonkers business ideas off her (“So crazy it just might work!”) to Andrew lending me Factfulness (which promises to save me from the global despair) to Belinda volunteering so much for the Greens, to her son Sebastian doing so much painting, to Kirsty coming to help clean, to Sharon starting a group to make Boomerang Bags to Jo and Suz and the acceptance and encouragement they’ve offered with parenting, writing, homeschooling – my friends are everything you could possibly wish them to be and then more. Considerably more. They don’t just keep me going, they show me the way, and for that I am more grateful than words can ever say.

There. That helped.

How about you?