Kia ora from New Zealand in lockdown
Wherever you are in the world, we truly hope you and your loved ones are well and safe.
Here in New Zealand we are entering week 4 of a fairly strict lockdown. We are largely confined to our homes, except to get food, basic supplies, exercise or medical assistance.
Our country's lockdown efforts are certainly combating the spread of the virus.
Thank goodness for technology, music, funny memes, baking, board games and other simple pleasures!
We have our lock-ups and lock-downs in our 'bubble' — mostly good days so far.
We have mastered the makeshift 'TV presenter' look for meetings: top half groomed, bottom half in PJs or trackies.
I have been impressed by my young kids, as they adjust to lockdown life without friends, school, sports or hobbies.
One very unexpected upside is my son is desperate to return to school when it reopens. One life-affirming experience is listening to grandpa read novels every day to the kids on Skype.
On the occasional day, a strange new kind of lockdown fatigue sets in.
It has been an unusually tough week for my family, because we farewelled my beloved grandmother, Mollie Florence Rodie Mackenzie. She died peacefully in her sleep of old age.
She knew she was loved. She lived a full and rich life. These thoughts give me comfort.
The hardest part has been that we cannot congregate as a family to celebrate her life and to support each other.
This is happening the world over. This is an especially cruel aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A month ago, who would have imagined that Zoom memorials would be a thing?
A month ago, the 'new normals' of 2020 were completely unimaginable.
Painting of my late grandmother, Mollie Mackenzie, and photo (2019) with the grandkids.
I must say our household had grand plans for this year.
The symmetry of 2 0 2 0 seemed beautiful, bountiful and full of promise.
The prospect of a new decade, new beginnings, was exciting and energising.
Friends and family all felt the same.
You did too, hey?
2020 did deliver new beginnings — just not the ones we expected and happily dreamed about.
In one furious month, we have experienced decades of change.
Intuitively, we sense the world will never again be quite the same. We are living through an extraordinary time in history.
No leader, no one can be sure of what lies ahead.
At first, I felt grief, as I reconciled the year I had planned with the year I was having.
But in the stillness of lockdown, my grief has eased into gratitude.
With seismic speed, 2020 delivered incredible clarity and perspective: it brought everything that was most important in our lives into sharp focus — like only a crisis can do.
As we rushed into lockdown, our priorities were entirely clear.
Family — health — shelter — cashflow — friends — outdoor space — nature — community — communication — humour — security — essential services — reliable government and media
Our orbits have become smaller in New Zealand and for some people, life is much simpler.
Many of us have time to think, time to take stock, reassess and reinvent.
The everyday rushing around has stopped.
And there’s time to focus on the people and the things that truly matter the most.
Most nations must travel a long and painful road to recovery.
But can we see 2020 as an opportunity to do some things differently?
If we each take the poignant insights from the last month on our journey, can we arrive in a better and stronger place?
It certainly makes me more contented to see 2020 in this way.
Tell us what life is like where you are. How are you coping? What strategies keep you going?
PPS The Māori word ‘aroha nui’ rough translates to mean ‘deep affection’ or ‘big love’, and can be used to sign off personal letters in New Zealand.