Strange times

As I write this month’s column, it’s my birthday – March 24. It’s also the first day of the lockdown in the UK.

Keri, Ella, and I are at home in Orlando.  I made it back from Qatar with just days to spare before the US travel ban came into effect. Thankfully, I wasn’t on the road another week. I can’t imagine being separated from my girls right now.

It seems like we are finally beginning to grasp just how devastating COVID-19 is and will continue to be. Although there isn’t much good news at the minute, I have seen glimpses of light shining through the darkness. Rather than add to the gloom, I’d like focus on the good that can come from this. 

I had a humbling realisation a few days ago. I decided to repaint our kitchen cabinets, a job much more cumbersome than anticipated. I was taking a break in the afternoon, covered in paint with a beer in my hand, and I realised, in a period of global crisis, I am completely useless!

In times like this the goal posts shift completely. As sports are shut down, Premiership footballers – our modern day deities – are told, “Take a few months off, we don’t need you right now.”  The NHS nurses, the Tesco delivery drivers, the virologists, the shelf stackers at Aldi, and many more are the heroes. The world doesn’t need entertainment right now, it needs people to keep supply chains running and doctors to save lives. It makes your realise that the spread of respect and wealth is so far out of kilter in the modern world. I am not picking on footballers here, they are just an easy example, but in what realm is it ok that they are sat at home earning hundreds of thousands of pounds a week while an NHS nurse gets paid a pittance for what is genuinely heroic work? 

We are being told to self-isolate, and many places are in full lockdown. This seems to have brought people closer together. I suppose a common enemy will do that.

Although we are physically separated, I have had some wonderful group video chats with my family in the UK. When I go food shopping, I find myself being nicer to the cashier, asking about their day and sympathising with them. I have a new found appreciation for the driver delivering our packages so we do not have to go out. We have spent more time playing with Ella in our front driveway and have interacted with our neighbours more than ever before, from a reasonable distance of course. I also appreciate tournament golf more than ever before, especially now it is on hold.  

There is no doubt we have a tough road ahead of us, but I hope we maintain this emerging new perspective. I hope people will be nicer to one another, appreciate their family, and even their freedom, more.  There is always good to come out of horrible situations. It’s not a world war, but for the first time in my lifetime, the whole world has a common enemy and maybe it will bring us all closer together. 

You can’t control the situation, only your reaction to it.  Stay safe.