Posted in a FB group:
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Covid-19: ‘For us it’s not freedom day, is it?’ : https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57643063
Those pesky CEV (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) initials are becoming a thing again as we approach the planned lifting of all legally enforceable covid restrictions. And once again the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are feeling forgotten. Vaccinations are the panacea for society – except for those whose bodies refuse to create antibodies.
What this past eighteen months has taught me is how much I took for granted. How much I never knew. How much we all live life expecting and accepting that we are mostly invulnerable and when a bit broke we are fixable. The NHS is there to fix me when I break – and when I am not broken my life is for living without too much thinking at all.
My “The Helmet” remains on top of a wardrobe somewhere. Found I should be using it for “jobs” where dust gets everywhere – even trimming the hedges and bushes. But I never have before and never did now – so I just complain afterward without a thought for before.
Kind of sums up my way of living pre-pandemic. What I call normal. Like masks.
At the beginning of the pandemic I wore one with embarrassment and discomfort. Now they are so common the embarrassment and discomfort don’t apply. Now it is down to me and my memory. Something else that was “normal” for me pre-pandemic.
Like forgetting to lock the front door occasionally, finding the car battery is flat because a grandchild had left an internal light switched-on, like going upstairs and wondering what I had come upstairs for.
Now I have PPE for hugs (if I feel I need PPE). Now I have caution for close-proximity living (If I assess there is danger for me). And now I have “covid-rage” to add to my road-rage and all the other “FFS-rage” opportunities. Because now I have the skills and knowledge to live with covid as I have learned to live with COPD … sleep apnea … being short-sighted … too opinionated …. sometimes too generous and sometimes not generous enough.
I have learned many skills over my six decades and a bit. Learned to cope with death and illness, with job insecurity and economic “restrictions”, with seeing others who have way more than me (and way less than me) who are just as happy AND unhappy as me. I have learned that grandchildren grow-up just as fast as our own children did – but I am still as surprised at how fast it all happens.
Mostly I have learned that looking inwards and thinking “What About Me?” only brings me down and down again. I have learned that looking out and seeing others coping with everything I cope with and more … seeing how they make the most of what they have and have not … learning how to live my life better with what I have rather than what I have not … living my life seeing the best in others because it makes me see the best in me …
Realising that unless I give myself permission to fail, to embrace failing, to enjoy my failing being part of my daily living – then I will never find the strength to get back up again as our grandchildren get back up again – as all those who live life to the full get back up again.
This pandemic is no more than those periods in my life when I was made redundant and our lives changed massively. When only by the third redundancy had I became skilled at making it a plus for all of us. This pandemic is no more than suffering depression. Only by the second time (and a little practice) did I learn the skills to recognise and accept falling-over but know the signposts to use to find the way up again. Just like losing those I love. Learning that love lives past death. That love never ever dies – is like a rollercoaster that I can ride with my arms aloft – or with my fists clenched tightly in terror.
So I have learned and am still learning how to live with covid. But live I will.
For I have learned that it is when I stop learning, stop allowing myself to fail, stop getting up again … that THAT isn’t covid or depression or redundancy or grief. THAT is me and the choice that I make in every moment of every day.
So this much trumpeted “Freedom Day” isn’t freedom day for any of us.
It is just another day when I choose how I live the life I have been given. Another day to choose whether to embrace all that the day brings or to see only what it doesn’t and hasn’t. To choose to use my skills at living, embracing and learning from everything each day brings – or not doing much of that and asking only “What About Me?”
The wonderful truth?
No one really cares more about me than they care about themselves. And that means:
- I can fail and get up again – fail again and get up again – ALL without anyone really seeing me fail at all.
- I can be as weird and unique as I like because no one is really watching.
- I can be as introvert as I want and blame it all on covid.
- I can be as extrovert as I want and still be safe.
- I can be me without fear today and tomorrow just as I could two years ago – five years ago – when I was single – when I was a teenager – when I was a wee toddler.
I was born free.
And it is always my choice whether I live free. Or not.
My choice always.