For Noah, it rained for forty days and forty nights. (Obviously, he lived in Wales – that is nothing special here.)
Jesus spent forty days in the desert, where his faith was tested.
Today is Day 40 of this special edition blog. In a week or so, the UK will have been in lockdown for 40 days.
The curve is flattening.
But we have no effective treatment, no real vaccine on the horizon.
Even worse, the NHS still does not have sufficient PPE (personal protective equipment).
On a personal level, we have been able to get most of the things we need for our garden. So far, at least, our food supplies that I prepped well before the panic set in are holding. Especially the precious @PanKwake ones, which are most important. We have two friends and a neighbor that occasionally bring in fresh stuff for us. And Amazon Pantry has begun to stock a few more things.
But even after Alan called Tesco and got us put on the priority list for those high-risk and self-isolating for twelve-weeks, I cannot get a delivery slot until after May 11th and perhaps much longer than that. I cannot get through to BA about a refund for my sons’ plane tickets, worth almost two grand.
For me, the most frightening is this…
Now, in April, because of Covid-19, she says: “We are projecting 170 countries to see income per capita shrinking during 2020” – 87% of the atlas of the world.
And yet this detail – which is part of a broader forecast that sees world GDP dive 3% in 2020, creating “a global recession we have not seen in our lifetimes” – may not be the end of it.
“I want to stress this may be actually a more optimistic picture than reality produces.”
Those are the words of managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, in a BBC article with the ominous title IMF head: Dire economic forecasts may be too optimistic.
The bottom line is…
The world will never be the same.
And when we do come out of this ‘lockdown,’ none of us have any idea what the world will be like. Not even experts like Georgieva or UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer.
A few months ago, I got enthralled in a series on The Great Courses called The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague by Dorsey Armstrong (my favorite professor). I am NOT comparing the two in terms of sheer numbers of deaths. The Black Death wiped out close to half of humanity. COVID-19 is not on that scale. But what is comparable is the level of changes this pandemic will bring in terms of our societies, economies, and politics.
And no one can accurately predict what those changes will be.
Loads of people are guessing. Some ‘experts’ and politicians are trying desperately to reassure us. But no one owns that crystal ball.
The other things that we know are:
Humans don’t like change.
But those, be they individuals or species, who cannot or will not adapt, don’t survive.
So, how do we prepare for the complete unknown?
I shared this quote by the ancient philosopher Epictetus with you the other day:
“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”
I think that the answer or answers can be found within those words, at least for me.
I have absolutely zero control over the economy…over this unseen microbe…over government, either here in the UK where I live now, or back home in the US where I fear for my sons that remain there.
Nada, nunca, nothing. I can do nothing about any of that.
As a mother, there is precious little that I can even do for my five adult offspring scattered about the US and UK.
I cannot even do much for my friends around the corner. I have more than enough seedlings to ensure food security for all their families. I offer them. But less than a handful accept.
Because they want or perhaps even need to believe that this is just a blip on the radar of their world. That lockdown will be over soon, and everything will go back to ‘normal.’
Here’s honesty…I cannot even control Alan or @PanKwake.
And I certainly cannot ‘control’ you handful of strangers on the internet.
One of you might have noticed that there was no Day 39, that I did not write a blog yesterday. I got up at 5 a.m., as usual. I checked all my emails, my views, Twitter, and the news. I drank my coffee.
And I realized…there was no writing inside of me.
That has happened before, and I have posted some short crap or a song. But this time, I decided not to force it.
I was going to put my effort into the things over which I did have control.
So, I got off the computer. I wrote this week’s menu. I cleaned all of the bathrooms. I did the laundry. I checked on my plant babies. I napped a bit. And I spent time with my husband. Yes, we talked about these things. Our views are different. But we love one another and don’t stoop to demeaning one another over that. We practice the art of…agreeing to disagree.
Have I ‘arrived’? Perfected this inner tranquility and outer effectiveness that Epictetus spoke of? Nope, but I did yesterday.
Another confession – I have a serious ‘end of the world’ movie fetish. Not only blockbusters like The Day After Tomorrow, Armageddon, 2012, Deep Impact, Red Dawn, or others. But the cheesy ones that appear only on Saturday afternoons on the Sy-Fy channel. Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones, Dante’s Peak with Pierce Brosnan, and my all-time favorite Supervolcano and Super Eruption about the eruption of Yellowstone.
All of those have a critical moment where the hero/heroine faces the unthinkable, the loss of someone they care about or impending defeat. And each time, they pull their heads out their arses, get their shit together, and do the right thing. Even when no one else does.
That is all that any of us can do. What we believe is the right thing.
Yes, maybe we will be wrong. But then we turn around and do something else instead. We keep going and we keep trying.
Doing the things that we can do, the ones that we have control over.
So, I am off to my garden and cleaning. I wrote this blog, just in case, anyone is listening. And that is all the control that I have. But that is enough.
May the Goddess bless you with inner tranquility and outer effectiveness,
From our @HomeCrazzyHome to yours