Thinking Back: With Age Comes Wisdom

COVID-19 has everyone is losing their minds on some level. If you’re not, then please share whatever Kool-aid it is that you’re drinking. I am suffering from migraines again, and my sleep is constantly interrupted. Last night when I couldn’t sleep, I found my mind wandering back to 2004, when just as I was about to leave for the airport on December 26th, the media shared the news of the tsunami that had hit Thailand.

I boarded the plane anyway, because I was going to Singapore and the news reported that the island country had not been affected. I was 24, without a care in the world and it was my first overseas holiday. Nothing was going to stop me – not even Mother Nature sending a potential follow-up tidal wave.

That holiday was one I will always treasure. Looking back now, I do realise that my nonchalance about a natural disaster could have landed me in a great deal of trouble had there been aftershocks. Even after watching Impossible which made the situation more real, I still didn’t give much thought to how much loss of life there had been.

It’s 16 years later, and I’m hopefully a bit wiser. I’d like to think I am. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc worldwide, and there are some people (like the 24-year-old-me) who are not taking it seriously. My mind is ravaged by how quickly it has spread, particularly in first world countries, and how the death toll continues to rise. Yes, the common flu kills people too, but the CDC estimates 56000 deaths per year. This virus has killed over 14000 people in just a few weeks and the numbers continue to climb. The death toll is likely to be a lot higher than that of the common flu. Fact.

I shared this image on Facebook last night. There are still people who don’t get it. So, I’ll put it another way. If I gave your child a hundred sweets and told them three were poisoned – would you let your child eat even one?

Our President, Cyril Ramaphosa, has initiated a nationwide lockdown, effective midnight on the 26th. There is now a debate as to whether this means Wednesday evening at 23:59:59 (which is how I understand it), or Thursday evening at 23:59:59.

Many people are applauding his decision, including Yours Truly. As tough as I know it will be for my mental health, I am happy that he has the foresight to do this sooner, rather than later. Heaven alone knows where we’d be if his predecessor was still at the helm of the country’s ship. Tonight, for the first time in a very long time, I am proud to be a South African.

I must get my ‘crazy pills’ prescription refilled tomorrow or Wednesday after work. Oh, and ice-cream (I ate about a litre for supper tonight because I needed space in the fridge).

Elizabeth sent me a message on Saturday to ask about my plans for the weekend. I told her that I was self-isolating. No, I haven’t been exposed to anyone that’s sick (unless they’re asymptomatic and neither they, nor I know it), but for my own safety, and those of others, I am doing what I hope is the right thing. I get up, go to work and go directly home afterwards. If I must go to the store for supplies, I go as close to closing time as possible so that there aren’t many people around. I’m trying to do my bit.

I am missing my folks and friends terribly. Yes, digital communication has made things easier, but it’s not the same. One thing I promise you is that when this virus is quashed (and it will be!) I am going to have a huge get-together to celebrate being alive and healthy. It will be somewhere outdoors, like the park, so we can all appreciate the greenery around us, the children can run around on the lawn, play on the swings, and feed the ducks.

There are some good things coming out of self-isolation. I watched two tear-jerker movies on Saturday night, The Holiday and Made of Honor. Both movies were so relatable that I found myself quite emotionally exhausted after watching. I also got to watch Knight and Day yesterday.

I have a huge celebrity crush on Jude Law after watching this movie
Two of my favourite male actors – Patrick Dempsey & Kevin McKidd (in a kilt!)
The man with the most perfect teeth, and he does all his own stunts…

In the six years I’ve lived in The Cave, I have maybe switched the mini-kitchen stove on ten times. Scout’s honour! I generally opt for a shake, or toast with a cup of soup for supper. If I’m in need of something more substantial, I’ll pop something into the George Foreman grill. The downside of this healthy gadget is that it flattens everything.

This weekend I made spaghetti bolognaise (I froze some of the sauce). I love to cook, but the little appliance is often temperamental. If we go into lockdown, I am sure I will become very inventive in the kitchen. The Cave is small, so I can only host two visitors at a time – under normal circumstances – but I will put my cooking skills to good use.

Other pros to self-isolation / lockdown:

Less fuel expenditure (because I won’t be driving to work every day), being able to work remotely means I’ll be able to listen to music while I work (it’s super quiet at the office), I can drink all the coffee I want, read, write, and do the ‘name’ workout.

Interesting times lie ahead – I think we are all going to learn something about ourselves that we didn’t know. Regardless of where you find yourself, be kind! The world needs it now more than ever.

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