Reasons to be cheerful

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by uncertainty at the moment; by fear of infection; by a craving for closeness with family and friends who have become images on a computer screen. The fact that we simply don’t know how long this pandemic will last, the worry about a second wave, all compounded by a dawning realisation that the government messed up and made it worse to start with and are now no more than muddling through. So, enough of that. What relieves the pressure?

I started on a list…

A good book – I’m reading The Mirror and The Light;
A roof, four walls, a comfy bed at night;
Music – from Mozart to Miles, Mussorgsky to Mayall;
Walking the dog on quiet country trails
but wait, don’t go so fast,
Are these just the comforts of the middle class?

Would I feel the same in tower block flat?
Cramped with four kids, my partner, the cat;
with no job, no footie, no drinks with the boys;
just boredom and worry and telly and noise.

So I stopped the list, tried to think things through a bit more. My conclusion was that maybe we should take this as a timely reminder to remember how it is for other people. My relative comfort is not a new thing. My awareness that others are less fortunate is not new either. There are , of course, plenty of people with more money than me, real wealth, larger houses and so on, but it’s too easy to compare with them rather than those who have less. I have always felt it best not to compare with anyone, but to value what I have, and I’m not thinking just materially here. The danger of that though is complacency, ceasing to be concerned, and that is not acceptable.

Social isolation and lockdown throw all this into sharp relief. Maybe what should also be thrown into sharp relief is the need to address the inequalities in society, rebuild the safety net that the last few years have seen being destroyed, move to a fairer tax system. There are plenty of voices calling for this, and for a more sustainable and more people friendly approach to recovery, and I’m hoping that they will prevail and looking to support those calls.

In the meantime, I will continue to quietly count my blessings.

Tony Earnshaw

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