Recently, Victorians in Australia underwent a third “circuit breaker” lockdown to contain another outbreak of the coronavirus. This time it was only five days. Last time, it was 112 days.
I heard that the third lockdown was going ahead on a Friday, when I happened to be at the office. From midnight, we were returning to a Stage 4 lockdown. I was very surprised and upset that we were returning to lockdown life so soon. A lot of us were still recovering from the effects of the second lockdown that ended late last year.
The most disturbing thing about living in a pandemic is that it’s almost impossible to live a “normal life”. Plans needs to be changed or cancelled altogether. There is also a strong feeling of disappointment, especially when important events cannot take place, such as weddings or funerals or visits to elderly and sick parents.
My home city is Sydney and I have been trying to get there for almost a year. Border closures and lockdowns have prevented me from travelling there. I miss my family and friends and so desperately want to see them again.
Before the pandemic, Australians regularly travelled between the states, the Sydney to Melbourne route, being one of the most travelled in the world. Now, it is a huge challenge travelling to another state — borders might be closed, or a permit may be required or you may need to do quarantine at a hotel (and pay a hefty bill for it too). Nothing is straightforward anymore.
Sometimes I miss life before the pandemic — when everything seemed so simple and easy. Of course, I am looking at it with rose-coloured glasses, as life was definitely not perfect then.
Travel is seen as a luxury now. Overseas travel is off the cards and you are lucky if you can travel around your own state, without too much difficulty. This does provide a great opportunity to save money, however, life can feel quite boring without travel — travel has a great way of opening up our minds and seeing how other people live. Spending lots of time at home, although relaxing, does mean we start living in a bubble and it is easy to get caught in a rut.
The vaccine has now entered Australia and people will start getting vaccinated soon. This will likely change things and hopefully contain the virus and enable Australians to live more of a normal life.
I am hopeful that there will never be a lockdown in Australia again but there are no guarantees this will happen. Until we are mostly vaccinated and have reduced the impact of this virus, it is likely we will continue to live in a state of uncertainty and anxiety.
The way the world is now — it is hard to be motivated and show up to work, social events and even just to go out and do a walk. It’s hard to smile and pretend things are okay, when they are not. Everyone is trying their best to get through this, just grateful that they still have some good things in their lives — their jobs for instance, or their families. And I guess that is a silver living of the pandemic — it does make us appreciate what we have in a challenging world. I know I have a lot to be grateful for still — my partner, family and friends. Hopefully, when life becomes a bit more stable and predictable, we will continue to appreciate these precious things that have gotten us through these incredibly tough times.