opinion

OPINION: "Now is not the time to tell me to ‘heal’ by ‘slowing down’."

As we all grapple with COVID-19 from a practical and emotional perspective, I have noticed an increase in social media posts telling me that it might be what the world needs right now ‘to heal’ or ‘slow down’.

There were plenty of things wrong with our pre-pandemic society and of course there is always room for improvements. I am thinking about the government’s attitude towards climate change, or societal attitudes on cyber bullying – but I’m not sure I’m quite ready to see the positives in our global predicament.

Watch: Mia Freedman’s thoughts on coronavirus. Post continues below.

Video via Mia Freedman

One such post that has been shared thousands of times on Facebook includes a quote by Kitty O’Meara that encourages us all to heal from our ‘ignorant, dangerous, mindless and heartless ways’ by ‘staying home, reading books and resting’, among other activities.

I understand the sentiment – a silver lining of positivity in an otherwise crazy world is certainly preferable to the alternative options of high panic and fear.

However, there is something about the virtuous call to go rest, or listen and meditate that I find hard to swallow and as a parent with a job who doesn’t particularly like staying home, (least of all with my kids), I am not sure I find it all that comforting either.

The idea that a deadly global virus is a good opportunity to take stock and ‘make memories’ with our home-schooled kids while we all good-naturedly play games and bake cakes, is at best hilarious and at worst, woefully patronising.

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People are really sick; our health systems are overwhelmed and the economy is struggling.

I am all for using humour and banding together (albeit at a socially acceptable distance) but the notion that COVID-19 might be a gift? Seems like an enormous leap to take right now, especially for the concerned elderly, those stuck at home juggling kids and work deadlines or business owners watching their takings drastically drop.

I read an email this morning that quoted Li Edelkoort, a Dutch trend forecaster as saying the pandemic will “allow humanity to reset its values”.

The email went on to say that perhaps we can all learn to be happier while reading books, playing cards with our family, travelling less and being more creative in the kitchen.

On Mamamia Out Loud, we discuss our unexpected coronavirus dilemmas. Post continues below.

My interpretation, as I skim read the email (when I wasn’t rolling my eyes) was that we should delight in our enforced and swift return to the 1950s.

I hate cooking, I do not enjoy card games and my family all live overseas so the idea I can’t go and visit them is not something I want to contemplate.

I also enjoy going out and being sociable, attending family events, going to the gym and getting my hair done. I miss my family and friends and all of these activities desperately as I don’t know when life is going to return to normal.

Call me selfish but playing ‘go fish’ on repeat with the kids or cooking up a lasagne, is just not going to make up for it or make me feel better. I imagine I am not alone.

I know that what we all need right now is to remain calm and compassionate with a dose of good humour.

What we don’t need just yet, is too much virtue signalling about living a ‘simpler life’ that takes inspiration from a 1950s washing machine advertisement.

Thanks for the positivity but no thanks; I want my problematic, chaotic, noisy, busy 2019 life back pronto.

Feature image: Instagram/@lauracjackel

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