We are exhausted.
Lockdown 2.0 has really kicked our arses and we’re not even in Melbourne.
There are messages all over our media reminding us to be kind to one another and let me tell you, they are needed. Everyone has had enough. We are ready to bark at anyone who gets out of line – doesn’t wear a mask, wears a mask wrong, doesn’t keep their distance, looks at us crooked – any excuse would do, if not for the constant kindness messaging.
Frankly, I’m too much of an introvert and a chicken to tell anybody off, but I came close when somebody wasn’t following the social distancing guides at the supermarket today.
Wearing masks everywhere is exhausting and seems stupid when you’re going for a walk around a bush block not encountering another soul.
It reminds you that things are not normal. Hand sanitiser bottles in every shop do, too. It’s too much. And yet it’s probably what our life will continue to look like for the near future. We are lucky in Ballarat that we’ve had no active cases for weeks, but we are living with the constant stress of the daily Melbourne press conferences letting us know the current numbers. How many will it be today? One? Seventeen? Five?
Again, we are very lucky that our restrictions have allowed us to lead reasonably “normal” lives, especially now that cafes and restaurants are open again.
As a family of hermits, we have not missed not being able to meet up with people, or have them in our house, because we just don’t normally do that anyway, but it’s been nice to be able to meet people for coffee again in the last two to three weeks.
School is back to normal, too, although with masks. My kids have not fared well with remote learning yet again, falling behind on their learning tasks and now they’re struggling to re-integrate back into on-site schooling.
I’ve been faced with near on daily headaches from the both of them, as their anxiety skyrockets and I’m at a loss as to what to do to make the transition back to school easier for them.
I know I’m not the only one. I’ve heard from many parents whose offspring have not joyously sprinted back to school and I wonder if someone somewhere is actually studying this and trying to do something to make it easier for these kids.
The 17 yo is basically just biding his time until the year is done and he can say goodbye to high school and start his TAFE course next year and the 14 yo wishes he could do the same. He is not at all interested in schooling and wants to leave, although he has no sense of what he wants to do instead. Getting him to school each morning is an ordeal and if I don’t drive him there I don’t know whether he actually attends.
We are lucky that we can get away from Ballarat and go for a drive, however, trying to convince two teenagers that this, in fact, would be a good thing is a battle I’m not prepared to fight. The weather has been wobbly, so planning anything in advance is not always successful.
While we are lucky that we are able to do a lot of things our Melbourne friends cannot, personally we are not in a position to do them as we just don’t have the money. I think the restrictions have been a great leveller, with everyone forced to live the kind of life that we live as a matter of course, simply because our money is so limited. No eating out, no going away for weekends, no visiting of exotic places and locations. The boring live everyone is complaining about is our normal life. Not having money is damn boring.
This is why I’m so determined to do things differently when we move. I want to get a full-time job so that a)I have something other than my boring life to focus on and b)we have money again and can have a more exciting life.
In the meantime Lockdown 2.0 continues. We continue to wear masks, write down our names when we go out for coffee and use hand sanitiser at pharmacies (and everywhere else).
I know Melbourne has had it harder and I can’t imagine the levels of their exhaustion. I just know that we’re exhausted, too. And we want it to end.
If you’re elsewhere in Australia, you are lucky. If you’re elsewhere in the world, then you’re not. Things may never return to pre-Covid normal. We may never find a vaccine, but I bloody hope we do.
Also published on Medium.