Lockdown day 20 – What’s important

First I’d like to thank those of you who have written some very encouraging comments on the facebook page of Provence Living. I went through feeling down the last couple of days but you really lifted my spirits. Today I’m done feeling sorry for myself and I’m back thinking about what’s important in life and think about how I’ll do without the rest.

It helped for me to read what many medical staff were writing about their experience in fighting this “war.” Basically they are telling us to think about what they are going through; how they have no breaks, they cannot stay at home and put their feet up and watch Netflix, nor can they spend time with their family members. They are already exhausted but they continue to fight for our loved ones in hospital. I am grateful for their time and energy sacrifice, I would not be able to do the job they do every day. What’s important is for all of us to be aware of this.

Now the question everyone here in France is asking is: to mask or not to mask? Being half Japanese myself and seeing how low the death rate is for coronavirus in Japan I’m going to say yes to the masks. Back in January I saw this coming so I ordered 100 surgical masks on Amazon. I thought they would be used more for travel and in places like aeroports. I have since given many away to friends. Now everyone is using them inside the supermarkets so I will not be leaving home without a Surgical Mask. When I run out I will use that little sewing machine of mine and start making reusable ones. There are so many things you can learn to make on Youtube these days! But here is my reason for wearing one: you can have the virus and be contagious without having symptoms. If EVERYONE wore masks therefore, we can keep to a minimum the spread of airborn droplet contagion by keeping our mouths and noses covered. It’s that simple. What’s important is that we do our best to keep others and ourselves safe.

So I think one of the other reasons I am feeling better is because I have finally accepted this situation. But here’s the thing – I’m now going to act as though this is not temporary but semi-permanent. As in, accept that I will not have friends around, not be able to travel or work (in the same manner), and will make the most of a year in “hiding.” If you were sent to jail (whether you deserved it or not), what would you do for a year? This is the question I am asking myself. Obviously it’s not as bad as being stuck in a small jail cell (although for some families in small apartments it might be worse!) and we can, once in a while, go out to shop for food, but, you now have the time. What can you create, construct, work towards? What might you read or learn that you may not have been able to before? It doesn’t even have to contribute to society or make the world a better place, it could just be for yourself. With all this time, we can now afford to be philosophical. It’s like being on the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs because the physical (food, water, warmth, security), the psychological (knowing you are accepted in the family and that you have friends) needs are met. If you have the luxury of reading blogs on the internet I’m going to assume you are safe and have human basic requirements met. So, if you don’t have to worry about work, being presentable, driving in traffic, getting up early in the morning, engage in mindless chitchat, etc, what would you do? This historic time can be seen as a grand opportunity to self reflect and think about the things that matter the most. Maybe get back in touch with the people that we lost contact with, forgive those who pained us, or maybe make new friends on social media? Say the things we were afraid to say before, express ourselves genuinely, honestly, and without shame or guilt. Exceptional times call for exceptional ways of being. Let’s concentrate on what’s really important in our lives.

Yesterday my hubby and I spent a lot of time in our garden. The sun was out and it was warm so it felt really nice to be outside. In France it is required that brush is cleared up to a 50 metre perimetres from one’s house in keeping with forest fire prevention regulations. So hubby was busy using the brush cutter and I swept up behind him. These days I’m letting my children sleep in as much as they want as they are adolescents and need more sleep than we do. I also feel like this will keep the quarantine “trauma” to a minimum. The last thing they need is a demanding mother that makes them do lots of chores during this trying time. They should just concentrate on getting their school work done and keeping in touch with their friends through social media and enjoy feeding the pigs. What’s important to me is that they are happy.

Living in Provence has many advantages. The good weather will allow us to grow lots of vegetables so I’m going to concentrate on that more than I have in years past. I’ll also read up on the history of Cotignac and will share what I find with you. In the meantime here are some old and more recent photos of Cotignac. Can you spot the differences? Not much changed up until “yesterday.” Today, since the arrival of the coronavirus, we must begin to visualise and construct a new future. But let’s hold onto to the best of the past; those important things that are handed down to generations. Have a great Sunday.