Keep Adapting

People wearing masks, being sensible and staying safe

I started writing this post in response to a comment on my post about throwing a lockdown birthday party. I wrote a couple of paragraphs and then decided that it was a bit overkill for reply to a simple “the kids have missed out on so much” sympathetic comment.

Here’s the thing, COVID is shit. There’s no getting round that fact. It’s deadly and destructive and can ruin the lives that it doesn’t take. To protect ourselves, we’ve had to stay home and keep away from other households – that’s pretty awful for many people too. For some, it’s more than awful it’s almost too much to cope with and for a few it’s just been the last straw, leaving people so hopeless that they’ve taken their own lives due to isolation.

What I’m about to say doesn’t detract from the fear, loneliness, pain and hardship that we’ve all been living with for the last year and more.

Neither the privileged habits we have, being unfamiliar with hardships, nor the pain that they bring mean that we should take it easy now. We have to keep on being sensible, staying home, keeping away from our loved ones, protecting each other.

The kids

I think kids can be a lot more adaptable than adults. Small boy is five and a half and a bit, 68 months old, he’s spent 12 months living in the COVID times. That’s about 18% of his life, so he’s proportionally got less to compare it with. Whereas it’s about 2.5% of my life so feels a bigger contrast. Add to that the fact that kids live’s are constantly changing. Both my boys went to nursery, they changed rooms and carers every 6 months to a year, plus we moved house and nursery twice before large boy was three and a half. Then preschool and school came along. Those are big changes, leaving all your friends behind three times before you’re five? Hell of an upheaval.

So not only are kids less set in their ways, but they are also more familiar with big changes in proportion to their life span. That doesn’t make it easy on them, just may not as enormous a change as we might thing.

Does that kind of make sense?

The grown ups

For the adults, we’re handling the big changes differently. We see the long term more clearly, we’re less adapted to frequent big changes and we have more responsibilities to consider. I think many adults have found lockdown and the other restrictions brought along by COVID more difficult to handle than their children. We’ve not just adapted to where our children are, but also to where we’re working, whether we have any alone time, and not seeing people we’ve known for many years. Small boy has been at school for almost 5 terms, he doesn’t care whether he sees his class mates or not. Grown ups might have known their work colleagues for decades, the same for their friends. Not seeing those people any more is a huge wrench.

History

The other thing is that I think that our generation and that of our parents just haven’t experienced upheaval before. Historically, a huge shift in the way we live is actually more “normal” than constant stability. We’ve also grown up in vaccine times, where we have no need to fear the diseases that killed our great-grandparents’ siblings.

I’ve written before about my grandma’s sisters who died of diphtheria 105 years ago, before she was born. We don’t need to worry that our children might contract and die from a simple bacterial infection because they and the rest of the population are vaccinated against it and a multitude of other things: polio, rotavirus, meningitis, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, haemophilus influenzae, measles, mumps, rubella, and more recently HPV. Go back a little bit further and small pox was even more deadly.

Imagine a world where we understood germ theory (that certain diseases are caused by the invasion of the body by microorganisms, too small to be seen except through a microscope) and there was that multitude of threats to our children with no prevention, often little treatment and no sure cures. We’d all be petrified. Or, callous as it sounds, would we all not take life for granted and expect the two in twelve mortality rate that my great-grandmother experiences in her children?

Oh wait, we’re living in a world a bit like that right now. Except, we know what we can do to protect ourselves and others. Its not fun, but its better than death right?

Thinking again about my own family and upheaval that neither I nor my parents have had to cope with; all my grandparents came through the second world war. For years, they had rationed food, blackouts, bombings, fathers, sons, brothers going to war and maybe not coming back, separation from family. My grandma went to live and work 20 miles away from home aged 16, my gran was a land girl at a similar age.

Again, I’m not saying that COVID times are easy. Indeed, we don’t have that perspective of being able to compare this experience with something else we’ve been through. I’m just saying that its part of life for the world to change in huge and sudden ways, and that it could be much much worse.

What we tell ourselves

And that brings me onto the last thing I want to say.

What we tell ourselves makes a big difference in how we cope with any experience. I’m naturally optimistic and positive,. Whether I’m dealing with the aftermath of late miscarriage or pushing myself along 10km into a 14km run, I tell myself that it’s OK, that I can do it, and in the latter example that this feels good – even with horizontal hail battering my face.

Despite finding lockdown learning really very hard at times, I’ve done my best to approach lockdowns with a positive attitude. I kind of see it as my duty, my small contribution to just get on with what’s asked of me.

Don’t go out to protect others? Fine

Teach your kids at home? Well, alright.

Forego your foreign holiday? That’s OK.

Wait to see your parents? If I must, and I must.

In the grand scheme of things, those things aren’t a big deal. I’d rather cope with them than have someone I love die or someone that someone else loves die. That’s the critical part right? By playing it safe, it might not have a direct impact on our lives or our loved ones, but it might protect someone else. That’s no less valuable overall than protecting our loved ones.

So before your stretch the rules, before you class a trip to a national trust property as “essential” because you need a change of scenery, consider that while you might be fine, someone else might not be. Going on the same walk again isn’t going to hurt, sure it might be boring but its safer than venturing further afield. Before you “accidentally” meet two friends and their broods of kids, think about whether its worth the risk that one of them is at school with a vulnerable child who could suffer dreadfully if just one of your group is asymptomatic. Is their life worth less than an hour of socialising?

That sounds pretty harsh. Sorry. I’m not saying that we all need to live like hermits from here on in. Just, let’s be kind to each other and consider the risk of our actions on people we don’t even know.

We’ve adapted and coped for the last year. Let’s just keep pushing through for a bit longer until it really is safe.

In other words:

Addendum

I wrote this post on the morning of Monday 15th March 2021. At almost midnight, our school sent through an email and then another explaining that there were 2 COVID cases in school. Then the message we’d been waiting for since September; one of the cases was in the class of one of our boys. There have been maybe three cases in school since September – this made three in just 10 days, all the exploring and socialising and traveling over half term are paying off. There are more cases, we’re directly impacted and possibly affected for the first time – who knows whether small boy is already infected? This makes what I already wrote even more heartfelt. Please please, please: stay home, still. Just for a bit longer.

35 thoughts on “Keep Adapting

  1. Totally agree with – I think kids can be a lot more adaptable than adults.

    Like, way more adaptable.

    So not only are kids less set in their ways, but they are also more familiar with big changes in proportion to their life span. That doesn’t make it easy on them, just may not as enormous a change as we might thing.

    Does that kind of make sense? Yes, it does. And it relates to the first point. The damage will be to the parents after all of this. Not the kids. Grown ups need to re-evaluate many things. Health, lifestyle, fitness, diet…

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A teacher at a school near me, decided to walk with her Mum on mother’s day. It is allowed … two to walk. On her return she joined her distanced in the garden just for a few minutes. Mum wanted to give her a letter and some trinkets from Gran; who died at her home six months earlier, not covid related but sad as they could not have a funeral. An emotional morning compounded by the gift. The first time in a year of going in the prohibited garden an being close to her Mum. The teacher has two covid tests a week and had one before she went, Mum goes nowhere, groceries get delivered and walks in her village once a day alone. She weighed every thing up, watched the emotion hit her mum leant across and squeezed her hand then quicky left before she broke down. A week later she tested positive for covid her husband too he took it to his colleagues and work was shut down, 20 children in her class, sent home their parents can’t go to work. For the sake of a clasped hand.

    STAY HOME MAKE SPACE AND COVER YOUR FACE. The teacher has to face a reprimand of the severest nature, If only to show how each breach of protocols has the potential to devistate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish the whole world would read this! covid is shit and it makes me feel exasperated when I see people out and about mixing, not wearing masks, breaking the rules etc because it’s never going to go away if people carry on like this. It’s not ideal not being able to do the things we want to do but it’s not the end of the world. It will be the end of some people’s world though if people are inconsiderate and don’t take it seriously. I’m sorry to hear there are two cases in your sons school already. I hope that he remains well x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. liked reading it. you have a very good writing command. something that I always enjoy is the writing command. you’re right there that children can adjust easily but we would have to try a little harder. but i also think, just my opinion, that few months aren’t left. they’ll keep coming and going these viruses. be them the same or new ones. and yea we need to be mindful of other people and take all safety measures. ❤
    Isa A. Blogger
    http://bit.ly/39f9FN0

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  5. 👏 Thank you for writing this post; it is amazing and shows the different perspective others have. It is interesting to hear how your kids seem to be adapting in comparison to adults.

    My friend group consists of people I’ve known for 10+ years, and it feels so strange not seeing them. But, I know not seeing them keeps others safe.

    It is lovely that you are optimistic and positive, I am trying to be, but it can be hard sometimes. I understand the importance of staying home, though; sure, I miss my friends and family, but who doesn’t. I’d rather miss out now and see them when it is safe, rather than risk their health or anyone else’s health now.

    Sorry for the long comment. 😅 I genuinely value this post, especially now. It is so frustrating to see others just disregard Lockdown rules because they think an end is in sight. Right now is the time to keep up with the rules, wear a mask, stay home where you can, and wash your hands. There are no excuses, and it is a genuine lack of empathy when people don’t abide by the rules.

    With news from the school, I hope you and your family are still safe and healthy. Look after yourselves. 💜

    Thank you for sharing this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. Its reassuring to know that I’m not the only one feeling these frustrations and determined to be responsible for as long as needed.
      We’re ok, no sign that anyone’s sick. Cross your fingers it stays that way x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, sorry it was more of a novel than a comment! 😅 I think wearing my mask will be permanent now, regardless of when Lockdown ‘ends’, because I am painfully aware of other people now.

        I am glad you are ok. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you and your family. 💜

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! You’re so right in saying that although it has been difficult adapting it is essential to keep us all safe. And it’s so true about how children are reacting to this differently to adults x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are, I think it’s easy for us to project onto them how we think they might react. We expect them to be stressed out so we see them as being stressed out. If we believe they can cope, give them the skills to cope and stay calm, they can cope.

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  7. I agree with you, kids are adaptable. Mine just go with what is needed, know we have to work and carry on with their stuff. I am so proud of how they have coped. They have lost family members and I’ve been so ill, but they have taken it in their stride. x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Spot on Pea Green! We are on the same page. From where I am now, the restrictions have eased but most of the time I stay home unless it’s really a need to go out. And most of the cases here are due to home visits. It is really hard to determine to what extent the social bubble of your peers. Of course, it’s not easy but I’m holding on….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I agree! Yes it has been difficult, But being in lockdown with internet, food, air conditioning, Netflix! Most of all surviving this! It’s not like people are in lockdown in a tent.
    Yes there is isolation and sad days but we need to look at how lucky we are to have survived this when so many didn’t.
    I think it makes you appreciate things more! Kids are definitely resilient !

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree with what you say about kids being adaptable They absolutely are. I watch my kids (age 5 & 1). The youngest is just a baby so this all that he knows.. The oldest knows that there is a ‘virus but she accepts the fact with very little complaint about having to wear masks or viruses. She just accepts as the new norm, no questions asked. WE can learn a lot from kids.

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  11. The end, like the proper end seems so close now and I am so worried that people will mess this up now for us all.

    I am desperate to get out and about again but for now, I am staying home as much as I can. I hope your son is OK, really feel for him x

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is hard to live the restrictions but I’d rather follow the rules then put someone else at risk. It’d be a hundred times worse if I lost someone I love to COVID.
    Nothing lasts forever, including these restrictions. We just got to hang in there.
    Great post. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is great! We totally understand. I have been now off work for exactly a whole year, and for how much I do not miss it, I miss seeing the people I love and be close to them! Basically I JUST NEED A Hug ahah Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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