I was sitting in my consulting room, taking a break between patients, and I began to think about the Corona Virus and the death and anxiety it has caused. Such a huge thing has happened to the whole world and it’s happened in such a short time.
For some (very) strange reason, a song came into my head:
The Times They Are A Changing .......
It was back in the Sixties, the 1960’s, when Dylan’s iconic song - Blowing in the wind - came out. Think last century, last millennium, an era which less and less of us actually remember, yet thankfully his music lives on.
Way back then the time that was a changing referred to the sexual revolution - the flower power inspired revolt against the staid and stodgy (and mainly hypocritical) mores of the post war fifties: an era which, I suspect, was even more challenging for parents than the current pandemic is for the work-from-home parents of this home-schooled generation. The teenagers of the sixties were the amongst the first to be born who hadn’t experienced a war in their lifetime, wars which had destroyed the youth (and the lives) of so many of their parents, their grandparents and their great grandparents. Those kids of the sixties, with flowers in their hair and singing about love and peace are now the ageing baby boomers of our times.
These boomers were in primary school in UK when food rationing ended in 1954, and bomb craters still pockmarked the centre of London. The sixties not only brought about huge societal changes but It also brought great confrontation between father and son, mother and daughter, it upended long valued faith in Church and State.
Fast forward sixty years and we are yet again experiencing great change, but instead of sex, drugs and rock and roll, this current revolution has been precipitated by a microscopic virus - gazillions of them in fact, and all of them produced within our own human cells and then passed on to our fellow citizens. In the matter of a few weeks the whole world has reacted and wisely retreated into their homes to wait it out. There has been a massive human cost caused by this virus and yet... and yet.....
We have changed so rapidly, adapted like we’ve never done before in just a few days, a few weeks that I think that most of us are still in a state of bewilderment.
A month seems like a hundred years ago.
Despite the death of those of advanced age and the sadness of their loved ones: despite the tragedy of those who’ve died trying to care for the sick in hospital and despite the millions of jobs lost, I feel an air of enormous optimism about our human race.
We do care.
We can adapt rapidly.
We want to make a difference.
We can respond respectfully.
We will survive this and be so much the better for it.
So the question is:
When it’s all over, what sort of world do we really want?
I for one want to have the air so clear over every city in the world that every kid can look up and see the stars at night.
I want the water in our rivers and oceans to be so clean that even the fish are happy!
I want every person who lives in isolation, anxiety or fear to know that there are people in their neighbourhood who really care and are there for them.
I want people to know that “enough” really is “enough.’ You can only sleep in one bed, live in one house, drive one car - or even better ride a bike.
I want old folk to be integrated with young folk and not feel they need to move into retirement villages as if they’re waiting for the final boarding call for the last flight out of here.
I want to see social media used for finding out How you’re doing, not What you’re doing.
The list is long and I’m sure that you all have your own ideas
We’ve proved we can make huge changes in such a short period of time, and my hope is that now we’ve flexed out can-do muscles, we’ll keep on using them.