Over the last week, I’ve been put in my place a couple of times. Just gently – and yet powerfully enough to shift my perspective.
Last week I spoke to Helen O’Hara, the UK based editor-at-large of film magazine Empire. At the end of the interview I announced that her new book was in stores now. Once off air, Helen immediately said to me “In stores? Imagine going to a store”
“Oh yes we are very lucky here in New Zealand” I said, “but our economy has taken a dive as a result”.
“So has ours” Helen replied.
Negative GDP growth, slow vaccination rollout, and hesitancy to open the Trans-Tasman bubble weren’t issues worth raising in comparison to the brutal and deathly UK response to Covid 19.
I had the same realisation when I read the NZ Herald column by ad executive Rob Campbell who wrote about what it feels like to be in New Zealand after a year of Covid hell in the UK.
It’s like travelling to another Universe, according to Rob, and the reason New Zealand feels like another planet is because it’s allowed Rob and his family to rediscover something they thought had been lost: living.
The article gives an idea of the toll living under consecutive lockdowns has had. At one point Rob says he cannot adequately put into words what life feels like right now here in NZ. Which is saying something for an adman. But the message is a clear reminder - what we have here is something special.
These reminders have given me a renewed sense of patience. I can’t guarantee for how long it will last, but if I at least see the government trying to smooth out the glitches with our vaccination programme, and hear a positive move towards a Trans-Tasman bubble on Tuesday, maybe it will last awhile.
I think unless we have friends or family in Covid infected places around the world we tend to forget the human cost of this global pandemic . The horror death rates, the lack of socialisation, the job losses, the persistent lockdowns.
It’s easy to focus on our own situation, that’s the one that matters most to us after all, but sometimes taking a broader view works wonders for one’s perspective.
We are a quarter of the way through 2021, and we’ve had our ups and downs, and for many the mental and financial stresses continue.
But when I looked around this weekend and saw family and friends - sharing meals, relishing time together, and enjoying this glorious Easter weather - I thought of Helen and Rob, and instead of feeling angsty at what still needs to be done, I decided just to appreciate just how good we have it.
I hope you are having a good Easter too.