The unfolding of the past two weeks have been absolutely bizarre. Bizarre is probably not the correct word to describe a global pandemic but frankly I can’t think of another word that would really do it justice. The ramifications of this global health crisis have been absolutely insane. The reaction from people to clear supermarket shelves of meat, pasta, canned food, toilet paper and basically everything else in a chaotic panic is near scarier than the virus itself. 

We are extremely privileged in Australia to live in a country where we have the freedom to do pretty much whatever we want; we have the capacity to save and travel the world, live comfortably with many of us feeling no need to lock the doors at night. In comparison to a large majority of the world we are blessed. The lucky country. Perhaps this is why when something such as COVID-19 occurs we panic. This privileged life we have lived has left us ill prepared for a crisis. It’s frightening, yes but mostly we are smart educated people who are fortunate to have an exceptional health system. Perhaps we could practise being a little less selfish and start thinking about the people who are most at risk from this virus. We’ve been asked to socially distance ourselves by staying home as much as possible, to slow the spread of the virus. In the grand scheme of things….it’s not a lot.

The past few months has opened our eyes to how quickly our freedom can be taken away from us. We often take for granted our ability to be able to pretty much do as we like; have a beer with mates, play sports, go to the gym, dine out with friends, etc. Without a worry in the world these luxuries of everyday life have become the norm within our society.

Unfortunately this is not the case for many people across the world. They don’t have this freedom.  Their countries are poor, ravaged by war, high crime rates, racial intolerance; opportunities are limited at best! We often forget about these less privileged people, life is busy and time limited. I get that. But now as we walk around, feeling like strangers in our own country, wary of shaking a neighbours hand or socialising within 1.5 metres of each other, we can begin to relate in the smallest of ways. We have an opportunity to grasp this time and make a positive difference in this world. 

People often talk about a silver lining and I had never read much into it, that was until now. What if this pandemic, as devastating as it is, presents the perfect opportunity for all of us. A chance to individually take a big deep breath and realise what things make us feel fulfilled in life and how we really want to spend our time on earth. It also allows us to step back and look at those less fortunate from us. Some of our freedom has been stripped from us, hopefully when this is all over we are left with a little more empathy for those who don’t have a normal to go back to. 

Perhaps as a race we do need to slow down and begin to look after the earth and each other better. Instead of go go go as seems to be normal with western culture now, we can use some of this time to help those less fortunate. As we too now have a very small taste of what it feels like to have our freedom restricted, so lets use it as an instigator in our own life to change the life of someone else for the better.