I have one bad habit every new year. Not the typical broken resolution but thinking ahead and forgetting to put the rose tinted glasses on first. Especially if everything in the past year or so has gone fairly well… I cannot help but to ask myself ‘what sh*t will go down next and when will it be?‘.
Where will it be?
You know how every December, TV stations will do an annual recap of the year? Major events that took place, new sports stars becoming household names, new political scandals. Some of these events come totally out of the blue and I find it fascinating that we cannot predict the next unpredictable event, but it’s inevitable.
I find it pretty scary in all honesty. I have always done this, and I remember in particular this being a very dark thought even as a kid. My earliest memory of this was whilst in the back seat of the car with my family, probably on the way back from my grandparents one evening. As a treat on the return journey (I would often get travel sick and they lived a good 40 minutes away) we would get a takeaway to enjoy on a Sunday evening before school the next day. I don’t know why I thought this then, or why I remember it, but we were outside of the fish and chip shop and I thought to myself ‘one day I am going to get very sick and it’s going to feel awful’ in whatever way my internal dialogue would have manifested at 10 or 11 years old. It is one of my earliest memories of self made anxiety and I tell you it hasn’t really ceased since. I like to obsess about the inevitability of something bad happening and the fear of not knowing when.
At the beginning of the year I did genuinely wonder what would be the next major catastrophe or world changing event. When would it be? Who would it affect? Is it natural or man made? Every year there is at least one huge news story. And knowing 2020 would be no different is frustrating as all we can do each and every time is get on with our lives in the hope that it stays at bay for as long as possible. Whatever it is. It is a monster that we know exists but we don’t know what to look out for.
2020 didn’t take long to become movie like. WW3 almost began as my New Years hangover was only just going away and that caused enough anxiety. For the first time in a while I had a reminder that life is fragile and realised that if something like that did kick off, there isn’t really anything we can do but experience it full on. Our individual lives are dictated by things much larger than ourselves and we have to hope that things just stay calm enough for us to live relatively stable lives. And this kind of stability that only some of us experience in the world today hasn’t always been the norm. This is the best time to have existed for so many of us. But it doesn’t mean this is how it will always be.
But WW3 didn’t happen and so far hasn’t. And as we were just calming down a virus decided to take over the world. Invasions don’t always come in the form of armies and is another reminder on top of the reminder that the ways in which our lives can be disrupted are endless. Ways we cannot predict or prepare well for. Ways that cripple businesses that have been around for hundreds of years. I swear if anyone told me that in 2020 a pandemic would spread and put the world on lock down I would be incredibly skeptical. McDonald’s would close its doors.
Sporting events would halt. The Premier league here in England would be postponed and stadiums would be considered as temporary hospitals. Liverpool are well on their way to winning their first title in 30 years and I wouldn’t be surprised if the virus emerged from a Manchester lab. I’m just saying…
But as this spreads, and as much as it is a killer, we have to see the positives. Hopefully this will be a warning to us all that we have to have solid plans in place for lock-downs in future. The death rate is pretty low in general, obviously it is higher the older we get and for those with other illnesses, but if it was the same danger to everyone the NHS and services around the world would struggle even more. It is bad, but could be a hell of a lot worse too. A virus that truly hits us all and wipes us out completely. As much as this is disrupting our lives it is sobering to think we have still got it good in the grand scheme of things. I remember the White Island volcanic eruption in New Zealand in December, an eruption with power we simply cannot comprehend as humans. It killed over 20 people visiting the island and a sight the survivors will not forget in a lifetime. The eruption caused an ash plume to rise 12,000 feet into the air. I mention this event because it was considered ‘a throat clearing’ in terms of volcanic activity. And I guess this virus, as dangerous as it is, is probably the same thing.
We are very lucky to witness ‘throat clearing’ events, in the sense that they could be so much more. They aren’t enjoyable, they aren’t safe but they aren’t species ending. If I had to have something positive to take from 2020 so far it would be that. It hasn’t ended us. But I hope it fuels a bigger desire to come together and be aware of the more catastrophic events that are possible, and inevitable.
I hope this is a positive post? It doesn’t really feel it now I read it back, but I was trying.
Also for anyone in the UK, at 8pm (20 minutes time!) the population will be clapping out of their windows to thank NHS workers for working hard to fight the virus. I will be doing so. Thanks mum for letting me know.
Let’s let them know they are are appreciated!