This column was published in the NZ Herald on March 24th, 2020
You will remember March 23, 2020 for the rest of your life. It will be burned in your memory as the day Aotearoa, New Zealand made the decision to beat Covid-19.
We’ll tell our grandchildren how we lived through it, locked down at home, with our nearest and dearest.
How our Prime Minister led our nation back from the brink of despair and back into health and safety.
We will remember it fondly, and it will come to define not just our lives but a whole generation.
Because our entire world has just changed. Everything we thought we knew has changed in less than two weeks. Everything has changed that is, except one thing.
Money, fame, prestige, political views don’t matter. All that matters is now.
And that we have each other.
The only thing that hasn’t changed is as humans, we need other humans.
That weight you feel on your chest right now, the fact tears feel close to the surface most of the time, that you feel overwhelmed, confused and terrified. It’s OK. We all feel that way right now.
I’m used to talking to people about anxiety — defined as fear in the absence of something frightening. But now we are all frightened.
“Mental illness” is something, sadly, we all tend to hide because we tend to worry that other people won’t understand.
But if one thing is true now, it is that we all understand because we’re all in this together.
But to be in it together we need to be together, even while we can’t be in the same place at the same time.
So prioritise reaching out, via the phone or even better video calls.
Use whatever tools you have at your disposal to stay connected. Check on neighbours, call family more regularly, figure out how to get your kids’ friends up on video calls so they can have video playdates.
And let yourself have a cry. Forgive yourself if you yell at the kids.
Do whatever you need to get through the next four weeks.
Just don’t do it on your own.
He waka eke noa.