Aaahh, chronic pain! You bittersweet, endless orb of confusion!

And this is why I say ‘good riddance and thank you’ to 2020 – the year of CV-19.

From my very comfortable position post-2nd-CV-19-wave in Melbourne Australia, I bid the depths of a pandemic good riddance (for obvious reasons).

It’s insane that what follows is my expression of gratitude. But I do have to thank 2020 for all the pain relief and perspective that it provided me. Yes, you read right, pain relief and perspective!

The Relief

As our State Minister announced the initial CV-19 state-wide lockdown I felt an enormous sense of relief! It was like someone popped me on my back on a lilo in a pool and pushed my body out across the water… I was drifting off, painless and weightless. The time was… well, it didn’t matter.

It might seem absurd to reference ‘relief’ with the announcement of a pandemic but I have shared my thoughts with others who also felt a sense of relief when their diaries were wiped clean.

The lockdown announcement, for me, was absolute heaven. That was during both Melbourne lockdown times!

I could only look forward to such relief if/when/hopefully(!) I get to walk through the doors at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport – outbound! It’s the feeling of ‘leaving it all behind’ and the permission of ‘there’s nothing but you to do now’.

There was a package of goodness the day lockdown was announced and it amounted to a relief I’ve never experienced before.

Firstly I felt safe in my newly established life; secondly, the State was supporting me financially (and I didn’t have to fight for the support); and thirdly, I didn’t have to excuse myself from seeing loved ones.

I was granted the right not to go anywhere and actually requested not to get in the car. AND there was a global language of understanding for all this! I did not have to explain a thing!

I found myself listening to others explaining the lifestyle we were now sharing and that I had been attempting (miserably) to describe since 2007.

I could almost hear people’s minds churning while they described the change in their lives. They were using my words – ‘small’, ‘light’, ‘simple’. And ‘unable’, ‘still’ and ‘grounded’!

‘I can’t go anywhere’, ‘I can’t work’, ‘I can’t go out or socialise’, ‘I can’t go for a drive’, ‘I have to order everything online now!’.

Hello! I certainly wouldn’t welcome anyone to this absurd lifestyle but it was kinda nice that the world was finally chugging to my tune. I was part of a norm again.

I had to stop work eight months after my bottom hit the concrete office floor but there was no sense of relief then – only huge concern.

It was impossible to see at that time I was actually standing at the bottom of a huge mountain and I would be forced to climb… slowly… dragging poor Theo up with me (actually, it was he who’s been carrying us up the mountain since!!).

This won’t be the case for the world I hope. Life will resume and people will exit my slow, simple world and never return. A good thing!

The Reasons For Gratitude

I experienced far more than relief. My quality of life was further fine-tuned and I was able to sort my priorities even further.

CV-19 taught me it was ok not to be ‘brave’ (awful word!). I also learned it was ok not to take risks and that it was ok to seek security and ask for help where I needed it.

I loved not having as many people in my life and learning that I survive when I don’t see the people I love so much! I enjoyed the longing of my loved ones because it wasn’t my fault I couldn’t see them.

One of my most favorite things was lunching on the front lawn in the sun. I didn’t have to prepare a reason for someone walking by and asking, ‘have you got time for a coffee?’. It’s exhausting having to cover your own backside (pardon the pun)!

Privacy and personal time were magical. Time was abundant – (repeat) time was abundant.

Jigsaw puzzles, games, drawing, painting, walking, staying home, home, home, home! There were endless deliveries and surprises in the mail and absolutely no need to commute or meet for lengthy catch-ups on uncomfortable restaurant dining chairs.

I was managing the pain, living beyond my limitations and I had financial support. There were no daily feelings of struggle or push, I was able to simply listen to my body (and so was everyone else!).

Telehealth and zoom finally entered the health appointment realm which was the icing on the cake and it was always ok to facetime – this is my manageable world!

Pandemic life, good riddance and thank you!

(Image: detail of collagraph ©Soula2020)