It wasn’t until last Saturday night that I truly reached my plateau.
It was 8:30pm and I was in my bed, alone, after a carb-heavy meal. I found myself watching the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and Nikki Webster’s standout performance (she is a true Australian icon and I won’t hear otherwise, pandemic or not).
But it was in that moment that I felt a hole; seeing the global crowd together, excited, united. I miss it terribly.
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Like most Australians, I’ve had an interesting pandemic experience.
From completing a Swedish master’s degree entirely online, working from an office for a total of 3 days in the past year and not seeing my father and siblings in Spain since 2019.
I miss my family, my friends, my colleagues and feeling like myself. And, I am not alone in feeling this.
I also recognise my experience has been relatively sheltered too: I am 30, single, no children with a stable job.
I have not seen my cafe of 20 years close, balanced working full time while home-schooling, brought a newborn into a world restricting new visitors or missed the marriage or funeral of a loved one.
Although, I have seen this happen to people I care about far too often. I travelled to 70 countries in 2019, so I can’t exactly jump on the no-travel-depression bandwagon, either.
My greatest ailments have been COVID-kilos (yes, not a weight loss success story in lockdown) and an increase to my generalised anxiety.
This is worsened by the fact that I live on a street that is five houses into one of Sydney’s hotspots: Canterbury-Bankstown.
In one local walk along the Cooks River, I wear a mask under a strict mandate for 100 meters, and out of civic duty for the remainder.
As Government restrictions continue to tighten, particularly in areas of concern (like mine) one dominant thought in my overly-analytical brain remains: what is the end goal?
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This question is complex; the approach in Australia has been largely reactive and responsive to the lessons learned abroad. Likewise, the noise surrounding COVID that dominates public conversation is clear: get vaccinated, avoid social contact and wear a mask.
I have remained largely silent, taking time to understand what my concerns are (like any good thinker does). But silence makes me worry, especially when the loudest voices on the subject are never silenced.