Daily Check-In: Saturday, 18 July 2020

FB Fam Bam, it is mid-July.  Why, yes it is Lynna!  Such profundity!  No, what I mean is, we have just finished the first half of the year.  How's 2020 been treating you, eh?  Oh, it's been fabulous! said no one, ever.    Australia started the year off on fire, which burnt an area the size of England, and then this maniacal virus turned up.  Plenty of death and suffering.  So then it was lockdown, economy went down the toilet, and panic hoarding meant there was no loo roll to clean up the mess.  Great, just great.  There have been politics, and some other politics, my 92 year old grandmother says she can't remember a time that where people were so divided and hateful, and you know what, actually let's not watch the news any more.

Here in Melbourne we are on lockdown again.  Not that we ever fully got out of the first one - I've hardly left the house since March, but there were a few weeks where we were allowed to go hiking, sit inside cafes, and visit a small number of other people.  The first time around was not exactly loads of fun, but at four months in, with no end in sight, the neuroticism game is strong.  Simultaneously bored and antsy, restless after staring at the same walls day after day, stuck in my own thoughts with no means of distraction.  I was meant to be in Seattle this week for a workshop at the university where I did my undergrad, and was going to tack on a holiday to visit my grandma and go hiking.  I miss Seattle and the Pacific Northwest terribly - the mountains and the trees and the water, the way the beach smells and the way the sunlight melts on your skin.  I miss my grandma, I miss my uncle, I miss the sense of belonging; after 10 years in Melbourne I'm solidly settled, but I will never be fully Australian.  When I'm in Seattle and the PNW I can finally exhale: I'm home.  The photo above is one I took several years ago - this is the Seattle skyline as seen from Lake Union, from a grass knoll in a park I used to walk to from my apartment.  But of course visiting Seattle again did not happen, and given that the Australian borders are closed until at least mid-2021, won't be happening any time soon.  Not only is no one allowed in, we're not allowed out either.

Of course, I realize the lockdown is necessary.  I'd rather this than the alternative.  The course was moved online, and so I still get to participate.  Lockdown is comfortable enough: I'm fed and watered, I have a roof over my head, I'm relatively healthy, and I have friends to talk to - even if it's through telecommunications.  As that tired old saying goes, [doo-doo] happens wherever you go.  And as that other tired old saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  (I don't think Nietzsche was referring to when covid doesn't quite do you in but puts you in the ICU for several weeks and then leaves you disabled for months afterwards.) It doesn't matter that we're all tired and want the pandemic to be over, or that half the country burnt down, or that we can't travel and visit loved ones.  We can complain all we like, but this is the situation we're in, and we have to deal with it or else suffer the consequences.  And one way to help deal with things is to focus on positives.

So, tell me.  What good things has 2020 brought to you?  Maybe working from home, or being furloughed or laid off entirely, means you have more time to spend with your kids.  You don't have to spend half your day commuting, or bump into that annoying colleague in the hallway who smells like naphthalene and cigarettes.  Gone are the days of hauling cranky children off to school or soccer practice, because there is no school or soccer practice.  I'm loving the lack of traffic.  Now you finally have a decent excuse as to why you can't visit your in-laws, or meet up for after work drinks at that new bar with obnoxious music.  Maybe you're impressed by the ability of society to buckle down and act when it really matters.  Maybe you appreciate better public awareness of equality - even if the fact that we weren't already there in the first place is abysmal, the outcome is encouraging.  Maybe coronavirus is giving us a dress rehearsal for how to address climate change and other environmental issues (such as, ahem, conditions like overcrowding and poor sanitation which lead to infectious disease) - we were never going to be able to continue as-is, even if we deluded ourselves into thinking we would.  Can't think of anything good about 2020?  I think you should keep thinking.  It doesn't have to be good things that have come out of coronavirus.  For instance, my situation at work is the best it's ever been and I'm healthier than I've been in years.  Still stuck?  Maybe 2020 has brought you zero broken legs or cases of typhoid.  I haven't had polio once this year.  Maybe you're grateful that you don't live on the streets (and if you're not grateful that you don't live on the streets, you should be).  Really scraping the bottom of the barrel?  Well, if you're reading this, you probably have an internet connection.  And I'm your lovely ghost this week.  Hey, quit snickering!

I usually like writing things I find funny or clever, but I've been in lockdown way too long for that sort of creativity.  So we're all thinking about the Super Serious Saturday question, let's hear about your fitness and food escapades for today.   Are you exercising?  (And if you are, your ability to do so is something to be thankful for!) Are you eating?  (Another thing to be happy about!) Bring out those feel-good stories.