BY PHIL DEEKS
We’re stuck. There’s no way around it. Agree with the lock-down or argue in favour of the economy, clap for the NHS or wring your hands, we’re stuck, and that’s the way it is.
Question is: How best to cope?
My answer is simple: we adapt – or “improvise; adapt; overcome” to quote Bear Grylls. We may hate our situation, but it’s the only one we have. We may worry about our health, our families and our futures, but there’s little we can do, and that little has still proved too much for some. We must relearn the thing that people knew before peace and prosperity became our Western norm: some things in life are beyond our control. We can endure, we can fight, and we can survive, but we can’t change our circumstances.
It’s easier for people who are older, work the land or have faith. They have an experience and understanding of things that happen without rhyme or reason: acts of war, nature or God that are beyond rancour and recourse. It’s harder for others. Many are raised to think man is the highest authority, life is intrinsically fair, and unfairness is someone else’s fault. It’s both untrue and unhelpful, and it leaves people ill-equipped to cope with the reality of what it is to be human.
But it doesn’t change the facts.
We can only deal with the world in front of us – a world that’s smaller than it’s ever been. It won’t be permanent, not for those lucky enough to keep their health, but it’s our current reality. We must make the most of it. Follow the rules as a minimum (to keep the lock-down as short as possible for ourselves if not for anything more altruistic) then put the time we have to good use. Chaos affords opportunity to those who are ready to seize it – whether it’s maintaining what we have, chasing what we want or reshaping society.
We may even benefit long-term.
If we can accept some things are beyond our control while working to fix the things we can control, in the face of a virus that’s caused pain and panic across the planet, we’ll be well set to make the most of our lives, no matter how challenging the next decade may be. If we can emulate the spirit of those who built Britain, as well as those who believe in something more than themselves, we’ll be better people for our shared ordeal.
It won’t lessen our frustration or ease our worries, but it will allow us to grasp hold of our future and to thrive once COVID-19 is behind us, and that’s as much as we can do.
Phil Deeks is a writer based in Cheshire. He creates prose and poetry inspired by the art and ideas too often abandoned by his peers. He is a passionate advocate of democracy and common sense. You can find more of his thoughts on Twitter.