A cursory glance outside my window this morning, did nothing but inspire a day of beers in the park with friends, closely accompanied by a friendly game of football open to anyone: to strangers and friends alike. This fantasy is no longer possible due to the recent lock-down put in place by the UK government. So, I guess I’ll settle for a coffee, and maybe even a game of Fifa. Without face to face interaction or communication the meaning of the phrase “I’m only a phone call away” has become sickening! I can’t speak for all of you, but online interactions are now extremely common for me. Social media is a blessing in such a turbulent time but I’m concerned for the future, as we all are I’m sure.
I miss hearing the laughter of my friends. Truth be told laughing emojis don’t really provide me with the same joy, times are tough but we need to be vigilant. What grips the world at this current place in time is extreme, and we all have to be responsible and do our bit… or I guess not do our bit, stay in and do nothing, it all gets rather confusing! But anyway, there is cause for concern, between panic buying and COVID-19 memes all over the internet, we face something which is a very real and imminent threat.
The loss of life implicated on humanity is a tragedy but what this virus has done to us mentally is also something deeply upsetting. COVID-19 has not only taken life, but changed our lives. It has diminished humanity in number, and yet further diminished the humanity which lies in each and every one of us. After this disease eventually begins to dissipate, will we as human beings be the same? It sounds a little excessive, and perhaps a little extreme but will we still be human? At least the way we have grown accustomed to.
In Europe we come from a place of great privilege, many of the things we face today amid coronavirus panic are things many people deal with globally, day to day. No food on the shelves: welcome to Somalia, the state won’t allow you to leave your home: welcome to North Korea. We can all panic during this time but we have to hold on to who we are and what we have. Europe is much more well equipped to deal with this pandemic than Syria, we are lucky! Each and everyday we should remind ourselves and hold onto it. We are lucky… as much as it doesn’t seem like it, we are!
Never take your humanity for granted because it is all that some people have. Being human isn’t about being able to wipe your ass with toilet paper! I hate to break it to you but it’s true. Being human is about compassion, in Europe and America life isn’t a privilege it’s a right. In other nations around the globe, which are stricken with poverty, totalitarianism or natural disasters, life can be cheap. I would use a leaf or a newspaper to wipe with any day before relinquishing the freedom I have grown so fond of in the United Kingdom! We live in turbulent times, yes… but be thankful it’s only temporary, be grateful to be alive and well but above all: human.
I’ve turned to Viktor Frankl’s book: Man’s search for Meaning. Something I always return to for some perspective and it’s something I like to share. A reminder that we can find light in the darkest of places:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.Viktor Frankl: Psychiatrist and Holocaust Survivor