Covid has been a time to firstly reflect on all the good things in our lives. It is a message we have shared with our 19-year-old daughter as well. We are immensely grateful that we live in a safe home and have sufficient food. And, that we live near many parks to walk our dog and seek fresh air. We used to live in New York City and have many friends and relatives in NYC and the surrounds. Life in the time of Covid has been much harder for them. Despite isolating himself and his family, my brother contacted Covid. We are grateful he is now feeling better.
My daughter is taking a gap year this before starting Uni. She has been furloughed from her job in a retail store and was so eager to meet new friends and get on with her life. While, she is bummed this is all on hold, again we have focused on the positive in that this pandemic did not affect her Year 12 study and celebrations.
I have had good days and bad. Some days I have been lethargic and depressed. I am an extrovert and the lack of social interaction has been hard. On the rare occasions when I have run into fellow neighbours while walking the dog, I have been cheered to see them and chat.
Surry Hills has felt like a ghost town with the ghosts being the numerous food delivery folks we meet when we queue up to get some takeout. We have tried to support our local businesses as much as possible.
With the assistance of easy to use technology like Zoom, I have organised many catch- ups with childhood, high school, and Uni friends and also with old work colleagues. It has been wonderfully fun to reminisce and hear about their lives.
I think there is a greater concern for the wellbeing of our neighbours in and around Surry Hills and I hope this continues.
Re-thinking activities during Covid allowed a useful focus on determining what is valuable to a satisfying life. The first few weeks felt frantic with Zoom sessions and online meetups, then things settled down and allowed time to reflect and read without the pressure of a completely scheduled day, a different pace became permissible. I missed the communal activities of exercise and cultural events such as the film and writer’s festival. Consuming culture online had its satisfaction, especially curated play readings, but could not match the experience of seeing them live with others.
The time also highlighted what was available in my community and the need to support local cafes, restaurants and venues in whatever way was possible. When travel is restricted, each local area needs to be able provide for the full range of needs. Green spaces became vital and showed that nature is not an add on in our life but an essential nurturer. Future planning needs to consider a per person amount of green space, so that density is matched with appropriate space for passive and organised recreation.
The Sydney City Council could have done a better job in realigning their resources to the situation, rather than just shutting everything down. For instance, the libraries should have been made available for pick-ups and curated collections for children of different ages.