I don’t even know where to start, so I’m just going to type whatever comes to mind.
We landed in Melbourne on the 28th of February. Before all of this escalated.
I had plans for this year: find a rental somewhere leafy in Melbourne (Belgrave, Eltham, something like that, where we could feel somewhat isolated but still easily get in and out of the city). Get a full-time job. Start looking for a house to buy.
The plan was pretty simple. Most of my plans usually are.
But now, a month later, we’re practicing social distancing. We’re staying with my parents in a beautiful, light-filled house on Phillip Island. We’re close to the beach. We’re planning to stay here, on the island, for a while. Access to the city seems pointless right now, and with so many companies shifting to working-from-home to weather this viral storm, it feels like we might be able to secure and maintain remote jobs.
So, that’s the new plan. Or, more accurately, the new plan is to surrender to the loss of our previous plan and just go with our gut.
We’re okay. Actually, we’re better than okay. We’re very, very, very lucky. We can afford to pay rent for a while without working. We’re in an isolated place that’s so far unaffected by this virus. And we adore it here – just driving in and out of Melbourne to look at rentals made us realize that we aren’t city people anymore. Maybe not even outer suburbs people.
I’m watching things change at a rapid pace. Some friends have lost jobs. Some are struggling with social distancing, while others are thriving. Some businesses have shut down, while others are booming with the shift to at-home work and online learning. My friends with kids are trying to juggle full time jobs with full time parenting. Every day is an emotional rollercoaster – of good news, bad news, and realizing that situations like these bring out the best and the worst in people, myself included.
I’ve had days filled with hope. I’ve had days filled with laughter. I’ve had days filled with sadness. I’m grieving for the future I had planned for, saved for, readied myself for. But I’m also thrilled with the prospect of huge, systemic change. Skies are clearer in big cities. The world is finally realizing that filling high-rise offices with people might not be the optimum way to get things done.
And yet, I haven’t seen anyone in person yet except for my parents and in-laws. I have friends who are like family who I haven’t been able to hug, and may not be able to for a long time.
We’ll get there. It’s just a strange time, full of uncertainty and grief, and I’m doing my best to do my best.
I’ll end this the same way that I end most of my handwritten journal entries: with a list of things I’m grateful for right now. Because ending it with fear won’t help me, or anyone else. And because I need to remind myself of how fucking fortunate I am.
I’m grateful for:
- getting home and getting the dog safely back before the lockdowns started
- safe, comfortable places to stay
- savings – hopefully enough to get me through the next little while
- access to fresh food and a place to prepare it
- proximity to nature and an able body to enjoy it
- running water, electricity
- friends and family
- technology, and its way of keeping us all connected
- Jesse (always, always, always Jesse)