As we move through this crisis, I am reminded daily of how fortunate Bill and I are and how much there is to be grateful for. First of all, we're in Ireland, where the messaging has been clear, consistent, culturally appropriate, and well-communicated. The steps being taken are based on science and every public health professional I've heard, whether from the WHO or elsewhere, has said that Ireland is doing all the right things. I find that comforting. There is a focus here on doing what we're doing for the good of society, which resonates with me.
We finished moving before things were shut down, which puts us in an easier situation. We are 'in the back of beyond' as a friend put it, but even so, this is a place where our needs, which are few, can be met without going anywhere else. It would have been more difficult had we lived in a couple of the other places in which we've lived.
Even though we live in the town centre, it is a very small town--the kind of place where if you blink, you'll miss it. So even with the 2 kilometre limit on being outside, we still have a nice walk we can do. Walking around the block takes us along the shore walk that I posted a few pictures of earlier in the week. The pier is not in that block, but a short detour to the right brings us there and it is not even close to the 2 kilometre limit. So we can take quick walks each day by going around the corner, veering to the right and walking down the lane to the pier, to the end of the pier, back to the shore walk, and around the block back home. When we did this part of our walk the other day, we passed no one else, so there wasn't even any need for social distancing.
I am quite an introvert, so staying inside and away from people is not a hardship for me. I do not socialise much even in normal times. I generally find gatherings exhausting. From the time I was a small child, I have had to force myself to engage with people in the ways society (and in my case, my parents) requires us all to do. I was trained well growing up, so I learned early how to turn it on and off, but as I get older, it becomes more of an effort to do so and I have less inclination to play this game--less necessity as well. It's not that I don't enjoy interactions with some people. It's just that I don't want too much and not in large groups. Online interactions seem to be fine, as is apparently the case with many introverts..I do not have a smartphone and have no desire for one, am not on any social media at this point, and step back from the computer when I feel the need, so I am not constantly online, which may have something to do with this.
All that is to say that I am someone who is content to spend large amounts of time quietly at home with books, podcasts, stitching and other such activities. I have a great deal of compassion for people who need a lot of social interaction, because as I know from my own experience, it is hard to go against your nature, as they are now required to do. It is good to see people using technology to come up with creative ways to get the social engagement they need while still staying physically apart.
This must also be hard for the people who have children at home. It has been two weeks since schools and other places closed down and now the restrictions are tighter. This is as it should be, but it is a hardship for parents trying to keep kids occupied, especially for families who have members with special needs. And many will be trying to work from home and home school at the same time, which must be really difficult.
And there is the loss of income that people are experiencing. The government has put many supports in place, but inevitably, some people will fall through the cracks. Some small businesses will not survive. Our local community relies heavily on tourism and last week saw two big days eliminated for them--St Patrick's Day and Mother's Day. No parade, no people coming in from other places, and no local people packing into pubs and restaurants. We don't go out to eat very much, but I am inclined to start doing that more often when this is behind us, because the local restaurants will need our support. We can also go to a couple of the local pubs to listen to live music when that is happening again.
Of course, I am most grateful for the fact that Bill and I are both healthy and going through this pandemic together, as we've done with everything else for the past 40 years. We have each other and nothing is more important than that. My heart breaks for the people who are losing their loved ones. So while I certainly hope I do not get COVID-19, my focus is on doing what I can to help prevent the spread. It's possible that I could get it and not even know, but pass it on to others, which would add to the problem. So I will follow the instructions given by the public health and infectious disease specialists and remind myself of all there is to be grateful for while doing it. There are a few things we'd planned to do that we have to postpone. So be it. I have many things with which to occupy my time until this is behind us and we can get to whatever the new normal will look like. We can adapt. This can be an opportunity to really think about what is most important to us and to evaluate whether or not we've been living in ways that prioritise those things. Maybe some of us will find that there are changes we want to make as we move forward.
And now, I am off to wash my hands, make a cup of tea, listen to an e-audiobook, and work on a sock. Stay safe and remember--we're all in this together! ☮🌍💜