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Monday Blues

I have nothing to complain about, nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. There is no reason for me to feel anxious. Yet, today I really felt out of sorts. Somehow I feel compelled to carry on as normal. I have reliable people running my business whom I trust with my whole heart. I am optimistic by nature, always seeing the bright side of things.

I nd that I am deeply concerned for people living in informal settlements. Not so much that they will contract COVID-19, but for their reality under this lockdown. The men who wait by the side of the road every morning, those who beg at the traffic lights. On my way to the shop, I see a group of children playing on the field opposite the informal settlement. How can we expect them to stay indoors in a shack? Last night as I snuggled up in bed listening to the beautiful sound of the rain on the roof, I wondered how many people were cold, shacks leaking, with no dry wood to make a re to keep warm.

I feel helpless. And yes I help where and as much as I can. Anyway, that set the tone for today. Feeling miserably at a loss and out of sorts. We all have these days, I try to console myself while I eat another McVitie biscuit with dark chocolate lounging on the couch with the dogs.

Tomorrow I will take the day off from my cellphone. If I have to listen to another self-appointed guru who suddenly decides to put up a video of themselves telling us how to make lemonade whilst the lemons are coming at us at the speed of light, I might not be responsible for my reaction. I wonder what would happen if all social media were banned for 21 days…(say I writing yet another epistle for Facebook! Or is it a diatribe?)

Somehow, we are all feeling at the end of our tether, to some bigger or lesser degree. We all sit with our inner dialogue that is on full volume, racing at breakneck speed through our heads. Grand plans that come to nothing. Creative projects that are half done. Baking, Net ix and Facebook seem to be at the top of our lists. We all know that this will end, yet we act as if we are trapped for life. (The royal we – I have heard this from some friends too.)

We are not trapped for life. Our inner dialogue is real, and we can manage it. We are free to get in our car and go shopping when we want to.

Imagine being old, living in a care home in one small room, 4m x 4m. For life. Imagine your inner dialogue being muddled, not having control over the discourse. Imagine not being able to get in your car to go shopping, not being able to make yourself that cup of tea before you go to bed. Imagine being locked down behind security gates with people whom you don’t like, whom you don’t know, and who are driving you more crazy than you already think you are.

I have seen too much of this to ignore it, to pretend that it does not exist, to be told “it is not that bad”. It is that bad for millions of people all over the world. And worse. So what?, you may ask. I don’t know “so what”. I want to raise our consciousness, I want to beg people to start thinking of creating a new system, to reconsider the way that we deal with ageing. In this lockdown, I want people to feel deeply, to dive deeper, to consider and contemplate how we have cut ourselves off from older people. As we have pretty much ignored talking about death for a few decades, we have to renegotiate our relationship with ageing and death.

This is a good time to do so, don’t you think? Death is on our doorstep, knocking frantically. The best we can do is to engage with it, to talk about it, to hear how others feel about it. Now is as good a time as we’ll ever get. Let’s do it.

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