We have often been warned to be careful what we wish (or pray) for because our wishes may just come true. This corona pandemic has made many wishes we’ve long desired become reality and now we do not know what to do. It reminds of 2002 when our national anthem was “MOI MUST GO”. President Moi did indeed go and many of us didn’t know what to do next. Kenyans were so eager to see Moi leave power that we did not give much thought to life after Moi. We were elated as a nation to have Kibaki in power though. We figured it as we went along from there. Mwai Kibaki was a good president. At least he left us good roads that we enjoy driving on.
Most of us are addicted to living life on the fast (probably fastest) lane. Now we are suffering serious withdrawal symptoms because reggae has stopped by itself (borrowing from Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent attendance of the UB40 reggae concert. The song – No one can stop reggae- became a political tagline for a while).
A hilarious WhatsApp forward I received described it well. Parts of It read – Working mums: I wish I could spend some quality time with my kids and read…. Done. Guard (this I found funny): I wish there is a set time for all residents to arrive at their houses so I can have peaceful nights…. Done. Employers: I have no life of my own, I wish I could relax…. Done. We forgot here though that having a life without chums is not fun. Kids: I wish we had no school and played all day…. Done. Though that is reducing from this week as we’re back to (online) school. Women: I want the undivided attention of my husband…. Done. That could be contested by some because being in the same house together for hours does not constitute undivided attention. Employee: I am slogging too much; I need a break…. Done. Now most have realized their stomachs don’t take a break. Parents: when do we stop getting junk food for our kids, wish we could get some quality time for preparing quality food…. Done. I am loving this one because mummy shark has unleashed some serious culinary skills that have been lying dormant for years. I might finally add weight thanks to corona he he. God may just have cleared a huge backlog of prayers thanks to COVID19.
It seems we are done celebrating all the answers to our prayers. It is slowly becoming evident that we need to pray new prayers. Ironically, this is because of stress caused by too much time together and a lot of time on our hands. Initially we seemed glad to have a break. Now we are getting angry and restless at too much free time and not knowing when this season will come to an end. We are hearing about cases of mental illness and relational stress on the rise. Many of us are on edge as the social distancing and stay at home situation persists.
One major cause of stress is because we are out of our element staying away from one another. Humans are social beings, and some seem to have reached the end of their self-restraint, thrown caution to the wind, and planned undercover hookups. It seems facing death is an easier option than facing ourselves. God help us.
I am convinced that the folks who will embrace this lockdown and order their internal world will thrive more than ever in the new post COVID world order. I agree this are exceedingly difficult times and the only certainty we are sure of is the growing uncertainty all around us. That is fertile breeding ground for stress and anxiety.
However, if we are to survive this then we must find a coping mechanism. Life allows for some things to happen to us to test how we are holding up. Thanks to the – stay at home – order I have discovered my tiny backyard and converted it into my home office. Our dog Spike is my regular companion as I work. He enjoys the shade under my mobile worktable and shares my snacks with me. Last weekend I tried connecting my laptop charger cable and for some reason my laptop could not charge. After scrutinizing the cable and the connections I realized to my horror that spike had been sharpening his canines with my cable. It had turned into dog chewing gum. I was so pissed. I held him up and just as I was about to throw him over the fence in a fit of rage I came back to my senses and put him down, after some disciplining of course.
I needed to cool down fast so as a tea junkie I fixed myself a cup of tea immediately. As I poured the hot tea into my favorite mug, it broke and the tea was all over the table mat. I just stood there for some time wondering if the universe was trying to send me a message. I know my mug and charger cable are no big deal but in hindsight they have been part of the support system I need during this crisis. My laptop now is more important than my car because a lot of what I’m working on is online. My favorite mug of tea even made the tea taste different and the message on it reminded me daily to stay calm. Sounds like I’m mourning over my loss. I guess I am.
I replaced the cable, but I doubt I will get the exact tea mug replacement. I have chosen to take those two incidences as personal fire drills checking on the level of my preparedness to dealing with abrupt changes in my world. I also realized that my baby sharks were keenly watching my reaction especially to Spike after I realized what he had done. If I lost my cool their already distorted world would have been made worse because in their eyes, I should be a source of stability.
So, check yourself folks. Find a way at least. Because if you don’t some external check will land on you. And when it does take it positively, adjust and move on. It is well because we are still here. And it shall be well