'Tough times never last': A local dad counts his Covid-19 blessings in disguise

We communicate every day with our children, and our best is watching the grandkids, through technology, growing up. (Artur Debat/Getty Images)
We communicate every day with our children, and our best is watching the grandkids, through technology, growing up. (Artur Debat/Getty Images)

For everything lockdown has removed from our daily lives, it's also given back, this according to one Parent24 reader who wrote in to share the profound insights that have given him a new perspective on life. 

Here he shares the many lessons and silver linings he's uncovered since lockdown began. 

I suddenly had just three days to prepare myself and family from the onslaught - other world wars had many months, if not years or centuries to get ready.

Prior to that, war clouds were merely a topic of conversation sprinkled with dollops of ignorance and opinions.

At the age of 71, I've always believed in how fortunate to have been born at the perfect time.

Never bothered with major political upheavals, war, famine, serious drought, natural disasters, food and shelter, education and career opportunities, life was a breeze.

Initially, we were told to be prepared for a 21-day lockdown war against an invisible, yet deadly enemy.

An enemy that respected no boundaries, no colour class or creed.

That it would be compulsory even for children and their pets, the rich and the poor, the elderly and the homeless to bear arms. 

We were told that we were surrounded, the enemy was worldwide, little understood and that mankind had little to zero modern weapons in our arsenal to fight this beast that went by the name of Covid-19.

Having all our lives lived in the so-called 'lap of privileged luxury' our immediate concerns were stocking up on 'essentials' – battening down and living out the storm.

It's only in retrospect we realise how pathetic, self-centred, selfish and blind we were to the seriousness, reality and tsunami effect this lockdown was going to throw at us.

At the top of most peoples' stampede list was toilet paper and canned beans – how appropriate. Alcohol and tobacco were also a high priority along with cleaning stuff because the maid was going to be absent.

Mine was a list of hardware, gardening stuff, pool chemicals and such. 

These things are now in our trivial distant past.

Very soon, our concerns became real.

Our income, our investments, who to pay and who not to pay, UIF, tax matters, our children and grandchildren, their financial well-being and the many mountain pass and adventure trips we had planned, mapped, and accommodation paid for in advance.

I'm not generally a list person, but when it comes to planning an adventure trip, I am a list person and this lockdown adventure thing needed some serious, quick planning!

Natalie and I made a list of those things that were out of our control side by side with those things that were. Strange how the left side was much smaller than the right side! 

By D -Day we had a rudimentary plan, and for the next 21 days we followed the route starting early each morning with our individual exercise routine …much like starting a big diesel engine with a fresh battery, and then moving on to our list of 'things to do', how corny. 

Little did we all know that 21 days would become 35 days and then 49 days and then infinity? 

Information became scarce, contradictory and dubious. While the storm was brewing, our president went walkabout and left the Command Post bridge to his confused cupboard (cabinet). 

We all have a long mental list of, often trivial, things we've been putting off doing or justifying why they're not important. 

The trick we found was to start! The finishing line did appear, and the feeling of accomplishment was so very satisfying.

Like deciding to sort out just one kitchen drawer that over the years had collected all sorts of junk and unused implements. 

This one simple task led to the bombarding and undoing of the pantry and the rest of the kitchen drawers, cupboards and other secret hiding places.

The many bags and boxes of utensils, pots and pans, crockery and cutlery, glassware and containers were donated. My brother says: "A Tupperware-free home is a happy home!"

Tomorrow, we take another luggage trailer load of linen, blankets, pillows, tracksuits, overcoats, jackets and jerseys and children stuff to the Salvation Army. 

We still have plenty left for ourselves.

Speaking and listening to others, watching TV broadcasts, catching up on news and other torrents of negativity and misinformation have led me to believe the real enemy is not Covid-19 but hysteria, depression, loneliness, frustration, despair and anger. 

We, fortunately, have a vaccine for those symptoms. It may not have a quick cure, but we sure can control them because tough times never last tough, busy people do! 

The whole fight, I believe, has to do with nothing to do and that misery loves company. Einstein reminds us that 'life is like riding a bicycle, to keep our balance we need to keep moving'.

My dad taught, I think is the right word, that "if you're good at something don't tell people, rather let them find out. However, if you're not good at something best tell them before they find out."

The time, however, had come to remind myself of myself. My supportive wife, achievements, certificates and awards, my family, stunning places we've been to, the things we've done and seen, the friends we've made, the mountains climbed, and oceans dived, that dive book written but not yet published and photo competitions entered. 

The list of those things I'm useless at was long, depressing and mostly of little importance, for now, we had a war to fight, and we needed to use our best weapons and not sweat the small stuff. 

The 'useless and not so good' list was deleted.

Each day there were things to attend to, fix this, repair that, clean this, tidy that, cook this bake that, experiment here experiment there; organise, dig, mow, polish, move. 

I did some nice modifications to our camp trailer, did a proper valetand engine clean to our 4X4, did a minor service and filled the tank and jerry cans with 'cheap' diesel. A case of all dressed up and nowhere to go.

But hey tough times never last.

Natalie and I enjoy reading (she's also a social and mother addict). I like sharing history, wildlife, geography, photography and travel. 

Our best room in the house is the kitchen. We communicate every day with our children, and our best is watching the grandkids, through technology, growing up.

The house is full of no beer or wine; however, has not dampened our 'spirits' and gout has disappeared. The kitchen is tidy, and the pantry and deep freeze are full.

The garden is neat, and the veggie patch is full of winter seedlings. Our linen and clothes cupboards are slim, trim and full of gym awaiting the new season.

Social distancing is just a phone call or video call away. UIF is sorted. Travel plans are on hold, not cancelled remember, tough times...

So far, we’ve been ‘blessed with a blessing in disguise’. 


Tommy C

What good things have you uncovered about life and family since lockdown began? 

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