(Marist Linmeyer or My Lockdown.)
OneOn the 26th of March, 2020, the official start of lockdown, I took my cues from these three gentlemen:
“The only thing you can really control is how you react to things out of your control.”
My takeaway: lockdown level and duration are out of my control but I can stay positive and make the best of a difficult situation. That starts with being thankful, which leads me to my second cue.
“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?”
I am lucky to be here and lucky to have negotiated the vagaries of life to this point. Lucky to have my health. And right now, working for a company in an industry and job deemed to be essential, I am even luckier. Not only that, but the lockdown proclamation has removed a dangerous, time consuming and expensive burden from my shoulders. The daily commute. I have so much to be thankful for. Given this fact, where should I focus my efforts to come out of lockdown better and stronger?
For the answer, I turned to my third cue.
Carl Richards from the Behavior Gap:
Family and friends matter. So I endeavour to stay in contact via all the various electronic tools available. I take particular note of birthdays and special occasions and be sure to phone, message or email people regularly. The response so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Attention and thoughtful messages are always appreciated.
Health matters. My health and the health of family and friends. Two other gentlemen weighed in here:
“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” – Mahatma Gandhi.
I have made health a top priority.
With no commute hanging over me I am sleeping longer and better.
I try to eat healthy foods as far as possible. I am also a believer in fasting and time restricted eating.
And my wife and I have turned our lounge into a gym. We have our bike trainers, rowing machine and treadmill set up to be able to exercise and watch our favourite sport or TV shows at the same time.
Reducing risk and being considerate matters. We are all in this together. The more we pull together, the faster we emerge from the other side. So we follow all the advisories. We wash hands regularly and wipe down all our groceries and parcel deliveries. We stay at home except for a two weekly stock up of essential supplies.
And we wear masks everywhere when we leave home. When I go running, I look like something from an apocalypse movie.
Good luck to the rest of the Marist family. I know many of you are having a far worse time of lockdown than I am, especially those with kids, those whose income and employment are at risk and those who have experienced family illness. But I am heartened by the deep caring and support shown on the WhatsApp groups. The messages, the thoughtful dissemination of information, the music and the humour are all treasured during these difficult days. Thanks to all who contribute.
Mark Erasmus. Class of 1977.