Fecking lockdown . . . however! With all this alone time, it provides opportunity for reflection. After topping 203 days in lockdown since March 30th 2020 (510 days ago), and staring down the double-barrels of another thirty more, that reflection has gone into overdrive. I reflect so much that when the sun is out, I blind passers-by. I don’t moisturise, I buff. Women stop to adjust themselves in front of me (that bit isn’t bad, actually).
I remain though immensely grateful. Last week I had my second 40th in lockdown. I’ll celebrate that bastard one day! I was lucky enough to receive well wishes and kindness from friends and family, even seeing some in 3D and everything. And yesterday I joined an online quiz with friends to unexpectedly see my face in an Andy Warhol backdrop too. Again, so much to be grateful for, really made my day!
I’ve picked up two books recently: Essentialism and Daring Greatly, the latter by the wonderful Brené Brown, a brazen, funny, recovering alcoholic that specialises in shame research. As you can imagine, as shame covers the vast topic of vulnerability, she has a lot to cover. It’s refreshing when Brené dispenses advice yet openly reveals how she is still grappling with doing these things herself, that it’s a journey we all take, and we make the best decisions we can. If you’re a female, parent or human being, it’s worth a look.
Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, I picked up this morning, focuses on doing less. This seems counterintuitive in lockdown. We already do less! I mean, no cinema, no seeing friends, no going to cafes, no going to museums, no going . . . full stop! We’ve never had more time! Yet it’s amazing the time we squander. A common idea proposed is that if you reached the end of your days, what would you want your life to look like on reflection? . This book digs a bit deeper: if you’re viewing your world from the outside right now, with all the wonderful abilities you possess, what would you focus on? Equally, what would you not focus on? Do what’s important. We need to make choices. We need to choose to choose.
Regardless of lockdown duration, I don’t want to come out of this horseshit with nothing to show for it but a stench. Despite the difficulty, I want to flourish. I want to be the rose. You mean, prickly and very hard to manage? Not quite . . . ahh, you mean still covered in horseshit and prone to wilting often? In all honesty, am not sure this analogy works . . . prone to giving everyone a fungal disease? Forget it. You’ve become so annoying in lockdown, you realise that? Who me? Yes, you. Always you. Wherever I look, it’s you. You know what you need to do? Spend time reflecting . . .
I deserve a medal. Number of days without mass genocide: 14,966 days. That doesn’t actually seem that long, does it? Maybe it’s the Olympic games, but certainly there should be some convivial hoopla for containing one’s ability to just march to the capital, Canberra (for those that forgot) and mow down the uselessness. I see the dichotomy, of course. I’ve never liked the thought of killing lambs or pigs or doe-eyed cattle, humans should fall into the same vat (not literally). Although I also don’t want to eat humans, let’s be clear about that, there’s just so many of them. I’m thinking more along the lines of population control, just thinning the herd. A little trim now and again. There are numerous measures, like use to society, perhaps a values-based system or which football team you support. I’d start with anyone within the top 7 of last year’s Premier League table. Just an idea, nothing to do with Arsenal’s miserable 8th place finish. There are one or two issues with this plan, of course. The vegetarian diet doesn’t provide a lot of energy. I probably don’t have the strength to swing my katana I don’t even possess. I’d have to settle for mildly verbally haranguing them and then going for a lie down in a dark room to recover. Then listen to The Smiths
I rewatched The Matrix a few days ago, and missed the bit where they liquidated the old and infirm, feeding them to ourselves, much like we did with cattle until mass-disease sparked a thought that this wasn’t the best idea. The fact that up until the disease someone thought this was acceptable, is beyond me. Cloud Atlas cites the same morbid future, and I’ve been reliably informed that Soylent Green has the same dystopian outlook, set in the very distant future of 2022. Fu**!
In other uselessness news, the Australian government have announced a huge rollout of Pfizer and Moderna. In September. We do of course have vague small numbers of the sought-after Pfizer vaccines, but these are busily being distributed to those in their 30’s in the Australian Capital Territory (a tiny place that houses our capital, Canberra, in case you forgot already, and where hope goes to die). Whilst protecting the capital seems like a good idea, they currently have zero active cases. And it’s been doughnuts for the last week. Their last active case? 30th April. What’s even more irksome, is the well-known fact that no one in their 30’s lives even lives in Canberra (that’s the capital). There are old people, middle-age old people, and any children are born like Benjamin Button but just stay old. They’re effectively born wearing beige cardigans. It’s bullsh*t. Burn the place to the ground.
Melbourne is currently enjoying Lockdown 6.0. Not having any effects whatsoever. I’m fine, really. Where is Canberra again? I forget.
Not that I’ve had time to watch any of it, but I love the positivity (less the COVID positivity) seeping from the Olympics. Heroic tales and achieved dreams. Of course, there is plenty of heartache to go around, but amongst the huge wins is the first Philippine gold medal at an Olympic Games. Ever. I’ve never given much thought about how life-changing winning a competition can be: sure, there’s a medal, and if you’ve been lucky enough to get sponsorship, that’s great too, but largely I figure you’ve got there off your own back with a support crew you’ve probably had to pay for yourself and a huge amount of self-sacrifice.
For renowned athletes like Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic, winning an Olympics medal, one would imagine, is a bauble amongst the masses. But what of Hidilyn Diaz, a Staff Sergeant and Airwoman for the Philippines Air Force? Well, things are a bit different. Winning gold in weightlifting, she took home an incredible $650,000 in prize money from the Philippine Sports Commission and private donations. On top of that AirAsia offer her free flights for life, and she has also been given two houses. And a condo. And free petrol for life by one of the fuel companies in her home country. A national hero, undoubtedly numerous celebrity endorsements will increase her reward too.
I love stories like this. It ticks a lot of boxes. From a woman that in successive Olympic Games was second to last, didn’t finish and then won Silver last time out, finally winning gold must have been pretty sweet. All this despite being implicated in a supposed conspiracy to topple the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, and deluged with threats as a result. That was only two years ago.
So, no complaining and bitching this week (I know, habit of a lifetime, gone!), no snide remarks at useless politicians or debacle vaccine rollouts, just admiration for amazing athletes, and more importantly, amazing women. Having just finished Women and Leadership by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonko-Iweala, women put up with a lot of shit. The book is a who's who of incredible women leaders. For any male readers (or readers, actually), this is an eye-opener to sexism and gender bias that often passes us by. We must do better.
Writing and writing...