Irena Dobrijevich

Irena Dobrijevich : Challenges and Joys; Impact on locality; How Surry Hills is changing; What I want in the future

I’m sorry but I see very few joys. As a vulnerable and high-risk person over 70 years old, my life now is full of challenges.

Challenges of not contracting and then dying a gruesome death from COVID as well as the unthinkable thought that I may be responsible of passing it on to other people who include my family and friends.

The challenge of adapting to a life of additional anxiety associated with human contact.

This includes the anxiety associated with simple tasks such as visiting the doctor. Over the phone consultation, like web cam socialising, is lacking.

For me, and I believe the country and perhaps the world, let alone the Surry Hills community, we are all at different stages of ‘grieving’. Grieving not only for the loss of people who have died but also the loss of the freedom we all once had, notwithstanding the loss of jobs and income. From what I’ve seen on the news and am experiencing personally, I can see people going through the Kubler-Ross, ‘Five Stages of Grief’.

Denial and Isolation, Anger, Depression, Bargaining, and finally Acceptance.

Once we have reached the Acceptance stage, socialising and the way we work in Surry Hills, the country and the world will have changed.

Even if a vaccine is eventually found, I believe some of the changes to the way we live and do things will remain, for example, working from home.

How will this impact a society in the long term? For people with children and young families, the nuclear family could become even closer. Perhaps there are positive aspects associated with this but at the expense of a community with less general human contact.

What will be the long-term psychological effects of web cam socialising, web cam dating, web cam working and so on? As a people are we dehumanising?

A very small positive I’ve seen is that life has slowed down; people have had to stop and think.

I have also seen that there is the opposite side to much of the kindness shown during this time of hardship, where people are afraid and desperate which has led to scams, more crime and violence.

Overall, I don’t think these few little positives come anywhere near compensating for the pain, suffering and anguish caused by COVID-19.

Yes, Surry Hills, along with the rest of the country has changed due to less community interaction. Such as no free physical access to the Library, many small businesses and retail outlets have closed, too many shops are empty.

What do I want in the future? When I try to think of a future, sadly I can’t envisage anything – it’s a blank. Personally, I’m taking it one day at a time and seeing how it all unfolds. I am hoping that everyone continues to do the right thing and that soon COVID becomes contained, and at least, all our state borders will reopen so we will be able to ‘safely’ move about our communities and travel within Australia. Meanwhile, I’m making the most of what is still available.

Life as we have known it will never be the same. This isn’t necessarily doom and gloom – it will just be different and as a human race we will adapt and hopefully survive.