It seems everyone is taking to their social media profiles to rant and rave about things completely out of our control, such as the never ending hot topic that is, COVID-19. This has caused some extensive quarantine contemplation on my end, the last few weeks.
Times are weird, things are different and the world is a little bit scary. My anxiety rises and falls (depending on what the news brings), somedays I tell myself everything is fine. Other days I am worried the world is ending, and wonder whether or not I have enough chocolate and wine to get me through.
HOWEVER, this being said, I am concerned with the amount of complaining I see online.
I will be the first to fully admit I have complained (if any of us haven’t, it would be really weird). It’s okay to be frustrated/anxious/worried and grumble during this time – because, if I’m being perfectly blunt, this is all really fucked up. HOWEVER, we need to hit the pause button and check ourselves.
I know. I get it. You have to change your entire way of life at the moment. You are craving “normalcy” and cannot understand how life has now comedown to restrictions, mask wearing, sanitizing everything and standing six feet away from someone in a grocery line, or anywhere for that matter.
I had a reality check while working from home. On my desk I have a little rickety Ikea photo holder (it’s so old I’m sure you can’t even buy these anymore). Inside this photo holder is one particular photo I scanned months ago, but I haven’t had the chance to return it to its album.
This is my Dziadzio’s family photo, taken in Poland. Here, he is pictured with his youngest sister leaning on him. This image was more than likely taken right before WWII. This photo may have been their last family photo taken together, I know he lost his youngest brother Aleks (far right), during the war.
I was going to return the photo to its album, because you know – all the time in the world these days, but I decided to leave it. Why? Because it’s a great reminder of the adversity they faced throughout their lifetime, but specifically the Second World War. Let’s take a second to consider what they dealt with, versus what we’re dealing with.
“Oh hello Germany, WTF are you doing here?”Obviously this is me paraphrasing.
Our Dziadzio was a career Soldier. He attended the School of Infantry Reserve Officers and Cadets (No. 10) – Gródek Jagielloński (now in the Ukraine). His records indicate that he served in the army from 1929 – 1932, becoming an Officer in 1932. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939 it was an unexpected and vicious attack and No. one. came. to. help! I repeat, no one came to help.
The country held their own for an entire month, battling an enemy that was superbly outfitted with more men, weapons, tanks and vehicles. To add insult to injury, Russia invaded Poland from the East – siding with Germany. It was a complete shock to everyone that Hitler and Stalin struck up a non-aggression pack, zeroing in on Poland as their first target. By October, Poland was overrun, and it was too late. Imagine your entire country being stripped of her civil liberties and freedoms, where your rights no longer mattered and your cities crumbled while innocent people died.
We complain about having to stay indoors and having to work from home… how about being in a Hungarian Internment Camp for a year?
This is something I discovered in his military records. Imagine never telling anyone. I guess he knew it could have been worse. He could have have been murdered with some of his fellow Officers, and buried in a mass grave in the Katyn Forest; only to be discovered years later. He could have been put into forced labour in Siberia or even worse, a concentration camp.
Imagine your entire family being displaced, having no methods of communication, other than letter writing, not knowing who’s alive or dead. Imagine going to bed not knowing what tomorrow will bring, without food, money or even a home to return to.
This is what happened to our Babcia’s family. Her family home and property was taken over and occupied by Nazis, followed other axis Soldiers. Imagine having no say, watching your family home become overrun by strangers; using your things, disrespecting your property, rendering you homeless. Imagine returning to a now an unfamiliar home after the war, only to discover; bedbugs, lice, missing items, little to no livestock or food and having to sleep in the same bed the enemy previously occupied. Oh, and to make things worse, you discover your country is no longer free – it has fallen into the hands of Communist Russia and everything you fought and died for, was for nothing.
To the people who continue to protest about long lines and lack of products while continuing to bemoan the absence of “freedom and normalcy”, and to those who complain about “work/home balance” and to the skeptics who think this entire virus is a hoax …
Kindly, SHUT UP.
Things will never be “normal” again.
And guess what? This is our new reality; for everyone. Yes, it’s inconvenient, weird, and scary…insert any other adjective you can think of. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. Staying at home is the most effective way to combat this virus and being inside is manageable *yes every situation is different*, but the point I am trying to make is this: it could be so much worse and we are so fortunate to be complaining about these insignificant inconveniences we must endure.
We don’t know what other people are going through. People are quietly mourning ones they have lost, or up at night, worrying about people they know who are battling this virus. We have people who cannot go out, who are vulnerable to it and people who must report to work – some with Personal Protective Equipment, others without. People are struggling to keep their businesses afloat and take care of their families.
We need to be BETTER. We need to be conscious of what we post, read, share and buy into on social media.
Let’s step outside of our own little bubbles and think about what came before us. What did our parents and grandparents go through? or even our great-grandparents? What became of their worlds after war, pandemics, recessions, famine, invasions, natural disasters and immigration etc.
What did our ancestors NOT talk about? and in hindsight, what should they have talked about? Maybe this would help us appreciate what we do have, rather than what has been temporarily removed.
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