For parents out there in isolation who need a short break, why not let your children listen to a video reading of my book “Charlie, the Migrating Snail”… enjoy!
A year ago I had great plans to celebrate my 50th birthday. It was going to be the big HAWAII-50…! I had many other great plans as well that I was working on. I’m sure many of you reading this had made plans for this time of year, however great or small, but also never anticipated what the world is currently experiencing due to this sudden and unexpected outbreak of the coronavirus. It has impacted the lives of practically every single person on this planet, and has changed our lives forever. Most countries are on ‘lock down’, many people for the first times in their lives are being forced to isolate. Thankfully I was already in a semi state of lock down due to caring for my fiance going through Chemo and Radiotherapy – we were already isolating and limiting our contact due to her potential lowered immunity – so my 50th birthday plans had already been put on hold back in December.
This time of personal isolation, and now witnessing the rest of the world do likewise, has given me time to reflect on a few things, a few things I thought it worthwhile to share in the hope that they resonate with some others out there.
As far as I can remember in my lifetime, this is the first and only time the entire world (or a pretty decent chunk of it at least) is fighting the same enemy.
At school I learnt about both World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, was born during the Cold War – the fear of the H-bomb dropping at any minute! – and lived long enough to live during the metaphorical ‘War On Terror’ (whatever that is really supposed to mean?) but never did I have to experience an invisible, indiscriminate, ‘enemy’ like we are facing today, until now. And do you know what? It doesn’t scare me. It encourages and empowers me to think that if the entire world can drop its petty squabbles and power-mongering and focus on combating a ‘common threat’, what hope we might have for a truly better future!
Take America, for example, in their 250+ years as a united state, there have been fewer than 10 years that they have not been at war with some country or another, including themselves! Isn’t that insane? Look where wars have taken us: they make the armaments industries even richer, they make the bankers richer, and they make the business elite richer, whilst it’s the ‘man on the street’ who puts their lives on the line. That sounds like insanity to me. I’m not singling out America, they are just a very obvious case that both produces and uses the weapons of ‘terror’.
What if that energy was put to better use? What if it was used for positive purposes? Isn’t this new ‘invisible’ enemy more deadly than the ‘perceived’ enemies we have been told to fear in the past? More on this later, perhaps, but let’s look closer to home…
A complete change in the way we live our lives: time to reboot…?
In the same way we impatiently ‘reboot’ our computers when they are not functioning correctly, perhaps this is the wake-up call the world has needed to tell us all we are off track? Why not think about using this enforced down time to reflect on your own life and see where you could make tiny, daily changes to become better, become more grounded, help others more, give more than you take, participate rather than criticise, seek more happiness rather than more money…? How can you reboot and defrag yourself…?
Most people don’t stop and pause at all during the day. They wake, they have breakfast, they dress, they go through the motions often thinking of something completely different, never completely in the moment, never truly experiencing their lives. I often compare this to reading a book without punctuation – can you imagine that? No capital letters, no commas, no full stops, no breaks, no pauses, no paragraphs, no chapters… It would be exhausting to read. So why would a life lived with no punctuation be any different?
“If we are going to change the world, first we must change ourselves.”
I want to change the world. I’ve always wanted to change the world. I just never knew how. Government and politics didn’t seem to be doing a good job, so that was the wrong route. The only way to execute change on a massive scale is through the people changing, and that means on an individual basis. If I wanted to change the world, I first had to change myself, change my thoughts, change my actions, change my beliefs.
Everybody is in the same boat, let’s paddle together!
We are in completely uncharted waters. What is happening in the world has never happened before, it can’t even be compared to the Spanish Flu. Countries are so much more inter-connected via the financial markets, global businesses, international trade, conglomerates, international travel, etc., and the Internet allows a much greater level of information to be dispersed – both good and bad. Don’t be fooled that governments have any better idea what’s going on than you do. They may have more information, yes, but do they know what’s going on and how to react to it correctly? Of course they don’t! I think they are right to advise people to limit their direct interactions with others to the barest minimum (and I do wish people would understand that the more times you go out, the greater the chance of spreading this becomes! PLEASE only go out if you ABSOLUTELY have to, PEOPLE’S LIVES DEPEND UPON IT, including your own!)
We will see the death toll hit One Million before this is over!
This isn’t scaremongering, it’s probability. The curve is going upwards every day, and it will continue to do so for a few weeks – more if people continue to go out and socialise as much as they are currently doing. Only go out if it is ESSENTIAL. Yes, I know you love your bike and cycling. Yes, I know you love jogging. Yes, I know you need to get of the house/ flat/ room/ whatever, but is it essential? Could you put it on hold for three weeks? Could you try to be less selfish and save other people’s lives? Could you maybe think about other people for once in your life? Could you? It won’t kill you not to go out, but it might just kill someone else… Or could it kill you…?
It’s going to get much worse before it gets any better, and that’s a fact that we have seen in country after country, and none so far have gotten it under control completely. It’s a virus, they have a very clever habit of adapting very quickly. Even once we get our ‘R’ number in check (and we’re a long way off from that folks!) we still need to make sure it doesn’t flare up again and we’re right back where we are now, or worse!
A Global Village Experiencing an Epidemic… is World Peace that far behind?
If you’ve read this far, well done! I didn’t really expect anybody to read these crazy ramblings of a (now) 50 year old…! I’m probably preaching to the choir, but since you’re still with me, let’s explore the real positive possibilities that lie ahead of us. I loved the concept of a ‘global village’ when the Internet first started out, but never really quite understood what it meant until now. I believe spiritually we are all interconnected, and technology has allowed us to communicate faster, but not always better. Now we have a real chance to reach out to other ‘villagers’ in the world that are going through the same ‘war’ and see if we can’t forge a new world of better understanding and peace.
Most people are only thinking of themselves and their own survival right now. Many don’t even see what is happening here and around the world as such a big deal, but it’s only just begun. As isolation continues, and as restrictions begin to tighten (as they will) people will want to reach out. Look inwards first, before you get angry. Make peace with yourself, then make peace in the world around you. Forgive.
Take this time as a great opportunity. Sit quietly and make a list of all the people you hate, dislike, have a grudge against, cut you up on the freeway, short-changed you, called you names, whatever! However petty it may seem, make a list of everything that consumes your unconscious thoughts in this way and purposefully forgive them, let it go, even go one step further and picture them having an amazing life, picture them successful, happy, loved… Let go of the baggage – the real baggage – that has been weighing you down.
What sort of world do you want to live in once this is all over? Who do you want to lead you? How much responsibility for YOUR life will you continue to take? Will you continue to go for money rather than happiness and quality of life? Allegedly we all live in a democracy, so we can participate and decide what kind of a world we want to live in, right? So, put some thought to it. When the next epidemic appears – and be sure there’ll be another – how prepared do you want your new world to be? Do YOU want to be more prepared? How do you want your country to be run? Do you want the people to have more say and input, well that starts with you caring more, doesn’t it?
I think the only way forward is for people to rely less on hand-outs and being happy abdicating responsibility to others, and taking more self-responsibility for their life circumstances. I think they need to look at what really makes them happy rather than believing what they are told will make them happy. I think they need to pause and think more about how they are living their lives. If nothing else, this virus has made many people think about their own mortality. Sadly for some people, they may not live long enough to read this post. But if you have read this far, you brave soul, let’s work together to make this an amazing new world, a world of love and peace.
Imagine… World Peace…
Inspired by the #clapforourcarers event tonight, I was struck with the idea of a song to say thank you. As many of you know (although I’m definitely NOT a musician) I have written lyrics in the past and a whole bunch of poetry. It’s a pretty big challenge, but perhaps there are some people out there that would be interested in cyber-collaborating on putting this to music…?
THANK YOU NHS SONG
by Anthony James Donnelly
To all the nurses and doctors putting their lives on the line,
Tirelessly working to beat this virus in time,
We want to thank all of the people at our NHS,
Though in isolation, we think you’re the best!
These are critical times and we must all play our parts,
We want to thank you sincerely from the bottom of our hearts.
Day after day you turn up for work – uncomplaining
To save the dear lives of all us that’s remaining
Thank you NHS! Thank you NHS!
You do us proud, you help the sick.
Thank you NHS!
We’ll fight this together, we’ll work as a team,
What lies in the future remains to be seen.
But one thing’s for certain, of one thing we’re sure,
We’ll beat this together, and we’ll find a cure.
Thank you NHS! Thank you NHS!
You do us proud, you help the sick.
Thank you NHS!
These are unprecedented times we are all living through right now, and everybody could be pointing fingers saying the Government should have acted faster, should have been more prepared, should have locked down sooner, and the Police should have said that they COULD enforce a lock down, rather than say they couldn’t (which might have stopped the THOUSANDS of Londoners flaunting the warnings yesterday as I drove my fiance to her cancer treatment yesterday!)
We could be pointing fingers, but I won’t… instead I’ll share some bureaucratic humour… We all know – well, those of us who have ever tried to get some kind of benefit or anything essential (like a passport, drivers license, etc.) – that civil servants and government/ council controlled/ public sector organizations are ridiculously archaic, inefficient, and in no rush to actually come up to speed with everybody else in a competitive, free-market economy, because they don’t have to, and can just tax us poor tax payers more to foot the bill of inefficiency! But I did have to laugh at this…
12.52 – I had already been waiting since noon
When I first was redirected to digidentity.eu and their ‘waiting room’ there were almost 13,000 people in the queue ahead of me. I had nothing better to do, so I just waited… and waited… and waited… After almost an hour, I decided to take my first screen shot and email the Sun, who had published a helpful article suggesting self-employed folk, like myself, could apply for Universal Credit while we patiently wait to see what the Government decides to do about helping us out financially.
I posted it up on Facebook to help other people potentially avoid the exceedingly long wait. At time of writing this, I’m still waiting, and predict it will be about 10pm tonight that I get to the front of the cue….
3.06 pm – I’m still waiting…
93,800+ are still ahead of me, and I take a gamble and get ready to drive my fiance for her daily radiography treatment at the hospital… I wonder how many selfish, mindless zombies we’ll pass out in the open spreading COV 19 this trip…? I shall write more on my return and probably post another screen shot… stay tuned…
4.53pm – back from dropping off at the hospital… 87,606 people still ahead of me!
Glad to report that there was a lot less traffic on the roads, and better yet a lot less people just idly wandering around, but I still don’t think people have truly grasped the severity of what we are going through. Three weeks of stringent isolation: if you DON’T HAVE TO go out, STAY HOME. The Olympics has been postponed, so have most sporting events, it won’t kill you not to go out running and cycling every day, but it probably WILL infect and KILL somebody else!
The message from the Government couldn’t be any clearer:
If people who think they are adult, but continue to act like children continue to act like children, the Government will be forced to impose even stricter regulations and legislation, AND prolong this lock down for even longer. Do you not understand???
We only go out for our urgent care hospital appointments, and once a week for essential groceries, that’s it, period. Three weeks is not a long time to stop being selfish for once in your lives, stay the f**k home, and help save people’s lives.
I’m still behind 85,436 people… don’t these numbers give you any indication of how serious this is? That will very soon be the global death toll, and it will keep climbing if you don’t do your bit and act right now!
I’ll keep you posted…
6.26pm – Only 67,587 People Ahead Of Me…!
Radiotherapy unit running on schedule, so back from the hospital pick-up early, but still waiting online… Are we ALL self-employed, or is this everyone that’s trying to claim…? If it keeps up like this, I’ll be at the front of the queue by midnight I’m sure. Well, there’s not much else to do but wait… then the next question will be, will we be entitled to anything, which is the really big and more important question?
If I get bored, I might post another update, but that’s it for now…! Stay safe, stay healthy, and STAY INDOORS…!
11.08pm – ten more minutes to go…!
Thankfully I found a part of the ‘waiting room’ where you could reserve your place via your email – whether this was added since I joined the queue, or I simply didn’t look before, I have no idea, but I decided to persevere, and will soon be at the front of the queue and see what steps I have to take next… Wish me luck…!
Anthony Donnelly is a British author, actor, and life coach, more recently known for his charity, children’s book series, “Charlie, the Migrating Snail”, which is available to buy on Amazon by clicking the book cover to the right.