What kind of person are you going to be once all the COVID enforced changes to our daily lives die down? Will you be the same? Worse? Or will you change for the better?

We have all been pulled through the absolute wringer this year, us Victorians more so than most. We have suffered and struggled for what feels like forever now. It has been a hell of a hike. Like climbing a treacherous mountain with a ring of cloud blocking your view of the peak, no true idea of how much farther there is to go. Suffering for such an extended period of time is hard. Bloody hard. But the thing with suffering is, is that depending on how you deal with your suffering, you often end up coming out the other side better off than you had before the suffering began.

With suffering comes lessons. With suffering comes perspective, especially when the suffering is endured over a lengthy period of time. As difficult and troubling as this year has been, and as hard as it has been to be a Victorian, I believe that we will come out of this harder and more resilient than those that haven’t endured the slog we have. Not that it is a competition of any sort. But I believe that enduring and facing constant challenges builds you. Builds your character. Who would have thought that when we went back into lockdown in early July that we would still be here now? Who said to themself, ‘just another 4 weeks, if it goes any more I’ll likely have a meltdown.’ 15 weeks and counting, some mild breakdowns, certainly some pain, but oh look at the strength of you now! You have endured more than you thought possible, and you’re still here, standing strong!

Wallowing in our own pity during this time isn’t going to be as advantageous post COVID as listening and learning from the lessons we are presented with each and every day while locked down will be. Think back to who you and many of us were prior to COVID. How we thought, how we felt about things, where our priorities lay. And compare them to how you think and feel right now, while most things are still unreachable…

You hated going to work most days. Watching the clock for the day to end. Despising Mondays, that whiny bitch Karen and rolling your eyes whenever a problem occurred that needed to be solved. Now, you are hanging to get back. You miss it. You miss feeling needed, you miss solving problems, you even miss laughing at the stupid shit Karen says (bless her that miserable sod), you miss the feeling of doing good work. You want it back.

You didn’t put in the effort to see your parents enough. Now you are devastated that you can’t see them at all. Especially when they can’t figure out facetime. But to just give them a hug again, how much you didn’t realise you needed it.

You often flaked on social catch ups. You frankly just couldn’t be bothered getting ready and doing the whole social thing. How cosey the couch and Netflix looks right about now. Now, what you’d give to have a beer, at the pub, with your mates. Or a coffee, with the girls, sharing gossip.

You couldn’t wait for the school holidays to end so your kids can go back to school. I mean, you love them and all, you absolutely adore those little terrorisers, but they. need. to. go. But now, now that remote learning is over after months and months and months of it, oh how you miss them already. It is very quiet all of a sudden.

You barely took walks or got yourself out in the fresh air. Winding down on the couch with your phone or tv instead felt far easier. Now, oh how you live for it! Gushing over the new little ducklings knocking about at the local pond. Fascinating over the cocoons you found hanging from a tree and impatiently waiting for them to hatch. Trying to see how far you can see on a clear day and soaking in all the beauty nature has to offer. Stopping to pet every dog you come across and building neighbourhood friendships with their owners, making your area feel that little bit more happy, safe and welcoming.

We have all gained much perspective during this time. Our priorities have been given a little shake, the much needed wake up call that our past life had no intentions on giving.

We liked to tell ourselves prior to COVID that our priorities were in check. Of course we were putting family first and doing good work and taking time out and being present and giving our all to our kids and doing all the things we can do to live our best lives. But were we though?

Or, were most of us always working just to try and get ahead, to get more, to keep up with what others had, to attain this ever moving goalpost of ‘enough’? We never ever got there, we want more, we think we need more, we think what we currently have is lacking. So, we work more, we work longer, we work harder. Though the goals post continues to move. So we stress and push and depress more and more and more.

We push into our leisure time, our ‘me’ time and our family time. We respond to emails at dinner. We rush our kids through everything. Not because they are slow and need to hurry up, but because we have too many spinning plates that we rush them and put their little bodies and brains under the pump. We make them anxious because of our anxiety. We go to the gym less, we go on less walks, we stop seeing the ducklings and the cocoons and the dogs and the sunrises.

Instead, we see our screens and our bank accounts and what we do not have. We forget that everything we ever need is already here, right in front of us. We’ve got it all. Yes we have problems and struggles. We will always have them. We need them. Without them we will become complacent and bored. Maybe that is what we were before all this? Maybe we all had it so damn good that we couldn’t see the forest for the trees? Maybe it takes a wake up call of global pandemic enormity to put our perspectives back in their rightful place?

So when you do go back , when COVID somewhat dies down and your life returns to some form of normal. Will you return to behaving and viewing your world exactly as you were prior to all of this? Or will you put your priorities first?

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