Three months ago, my biggest worry for this country’s future and climate was that Boris Johnson had won the UK election in a historical landslide. Decimating Jeremy Corbyn and in doing so, walloping the final nail in the coffin for the Labour Party for at least two generations. The UK was divided, Brexiteers in jubilation rubbing salt to the wounds of Remainers, who were reeling from the success of the Tories. I don’t read or remember reading any tabloids, but I’m sure the headlines would have been singing along the tunes of ‘WE’VE GOT OUR COUNTRY BACK’ or ‘TIME TO TAKE BACK CONTROL’. With Christmas and the New Year being ushered in, Boris the Messiah with his mop hair replacing his thorn crown, strutted in front of every available camera, promising the North more investments, whilst trying to convince the hardest of cynics, the our great NHS was not up for sale to Trump and his croonies.
I accepted defeat and took it on the chin, ready with a personal glimpse of hope to face the upcoming year. Promise number one, was to stay away from arm chair critiquing UK politics. Boris and the Tories were here to stay and we were at their mercy. So, whilst I sat down with my own goals of finding a new job, sending my finished manuscript of my first novel to agents, getting a book deal and healing from my back injury, I got during Christmas, to run at least two half marathons and a couple of 10k races . A seed had already been planted in Wuhan, China of all places, that was about to change everything for all of us.
It might sound cliché, but you couldn’t write this stuff, its seems like we have been sucked into a post apocalyptic dystopian movie. Watching the day count as the situation around the globe gets dire with each passing of the sunset. I now find myself begging, to return back to the status quo of the past three and a half years, where talks of Brexit, second referendums and No Deals took up the headlines and our arguments.
It may only be March, but it’s hard to fathom many would say 2020 was their year by the time December 31st rolls in. We sit in confusion ushering in an era that will be cemented in history, in the same breath as the WW1 and WW2 and contrasted with the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London. We can only keep our fingers crossed that the mass casualty will be not be anywhere near these past atrocities and there won’t be a need to erect monuments or plaques to make future generations remember the magnitude of fatalities.
None of us are short of theories, observations or views around what the World Health Organisation has declared a Pandemic. I am lost in the irony and the poetic nature of it all. In January, when the news of the now famous Covid 19 came about, I did not see any reason to worry. China’s problem, China’s issue- was my humble opinion. I laughed at a few Chinese nationals who started donning the face mask here in London. It was never going to make its way all the way here. With each news article, I lambasted them as the usual case of the media fear mongering (which for some of the issues, they are still doing). With the rest of the UK I carried on, using my time sending memes on social media about this new strand of Coranavirus and having interesting conversations around it with work colleagues, friends and family.
I managed to secure two job interviews but wasn’t successfully in any of them, received three rejections for my manuscripts from literary agents. It was all sad, but just the pass and parcel of daily life. Taking each failure as a means to move on and make changes for the year. My goal was still for something pivotal to happen before my 38th Birthday.
In the first day of March I ran the Vitality Big Half Marathon in London for the third consecutive year and got a PB by running it under two hours. I was in the process of a successful switch over to a vegan diet and things were certainly looking up in terms of health, if not for anything else.
It’s now 23rd March 2020, only six days to go before my birthday. The sun is out ushering in Spring, it should have been the most optimistic time of the year for all us. I should be running on the roads, complaining about traffic and the ever increasing of population of London getting in my way. I should have been ready to hit those weights and cardio at the gym a bit harder, to sculpt that summer body and browse endless travel sites for good flight deals of holidays, not to travel, but to feel good about the potential of my independence. But the world is a lot different than what it was only a month or even a week ago. Something inside me wishes that I could break the fourth wall and address the audience in the cinema, so they can fast forward to the end of this alternate parallel reality we have entered.
Restaurant, theatres, pubs, schools, gyms and all major national and international sporting events closed indefinitely. The global stock market crashing with recession booming around the corner. The roads of London-empty, landmarks gaining dust, the Underground, a ghost of the millions it transported each day. Supermarkets and shops filled with shoppers panic buying, as owners seize the opportunity to inflate prices to 20% – 50% to feed the greed. Mayhem of Biblical proportions, which makes it all too eerie with, Mosques, Churches, Temples and Synagogues, where many would have turned to find salvation and hope at a time like this, all closed off to the public, almost like God has abandoned and shut his doors to all the people. A poignant message as any, that we have angered the universe.
I find myself behind locked doors inside my house with my two children and their virtual education kit, skimming through fake news and fake memes, heading into an uncertain future. Nothing is off the card, if aliens dropped from the skies tomorrow for a War of the World type warfare, would it be a surprise? Within a space of a few weeks, everything we debated, argued and posted on social media about has become trivial. We are now scouring news websites and channels, as governments around the world, speak in one voice and with one message. Right- Wing capitalist governments, pushing forward a left wing socialist Government’s wet dream. As we get used to new terms such as social distancing and what it all means, all the while we watch people scrounge from one shop to another, looking for toilet tissues, flour and salt like that is going to solve all the problems. I sit and wonder what the deeper meaning is in all of this.
I am hoping to write these blog to help me decipher my thoughts with you all. So join me as I explore how I move forward with each part of my daily life in this new status quo, from being a father, to managing my fitness and my work life along with domestic chores and my new place in this world.
Asking societal questions such as how NHS workers, who for years been under so much pressure. Have over night become the heroes that we all knew they were. As a staunch supporter of schools and the education system, will people finally get to the see the impact they have and the many different roles teachers and school staff play in our children’s lives.
As we step forward into the unknown, our social fabric and liberty being stripped away from us, with each coming day without any, questions from the public but with embrace. Now is a good as time as any, to question how quickly we encourage and romanticise dictatorial rules and how easy we can be controlled.
The first question we can ask ourselves is why? The last few years I had read various articles, citing the World’s Health Organisation biggest concern. The human race was beginning to reject Anti-biotic, which would cause a new global catastrophe, unless we find a replacement. I’m just surprised at the speed of how something so similar has struck our population.
Since Covid 19, we have seen videos re-surfacing of Bill Gates back in 2015 at Ted Talks, predicting the new global threat will be indeed – microbiological. An almost accurate prophecy from one of the richest and smartest man in the planet. Netflix has shown us documentaries from last year, about scientist and doctors predicting a pandemic. As usual, we never took heed, a threat and a warning is only as good when it’s actually here. And whilst this all makes sense, to me it means one thing. This is Mother Nature’s putting her foot down and giving us the ultimate check in. A stern warning, just how much in charge she is, as we face this invisible threat.
Since industrialisation we have ravaged, pillaged and gang raped nature from its core, with the same level of arrogance that we have seen in the last few weeks from panic buyers and hoarders. For the last two centuries, the tenacity and aggressiveness of mankind’s lust and hoarding for resources with no thoughts or compassion for the damage we are causing to our planet and its people, has led to this. No one is exempt from this, no countries, no religion or political systems have done anything to stop this madness. Unlike any point of history, we have become addicted and machined into this life of consumption. We are desensitised to practices, such as animals being unnaturally produced and in-humanely slaughtered to feed our unquenchable thirst. Mass lands and forests systematically burned and destroyed to feed our greed, as we litter our oceans with our poison. Low cost airlines, allowing us to travel to places for weekends to take that perfect Instagram pictures, which a decade ago, one would have had to save up for at least year to go to. Limitless and cheap travel, which made this virus, spread the way it has in the period of three months.
We laughed at a young girl called Greta, who’s dream was for us to slow down and take care of our only planet. Sidelining her calls as pipe dreams and something that will take decades, if ever, to achieve. But here we are, almost all flights grounded around the world, within a space of a few weeks, something even she could never had imagined. So as Mother Nature takes a rest, with cities having clean air and fishes being spotted once again in the canals of Venice. I plan to move on with my blogs in my isolation state, exploring this new world from a personal point of view, from looking after my kids at home, my fitness, my spirituality, the political and cultural shift along with many individual issues we are all about to experience arising from this pandemic.
The world is in quarantine, borders have closed, people are locked in, as real heroes try to save our vulnerable, fighting this unseen enemy. This is the time to understand, we as global citizens have more in common that we think. The trillions of dollars we have collectively spent over the last century to build weapons of mass destruction to defend us, are of no use in this war. We are at least 12 months away to create a weapon to fight this, our only weapon is our human nature.
Stay safe, heal, we will get through this, we have to get through this, for our planet and our selves.