Can I just start off by saying that these are strange and troubling times we are living in. I know that is stating the obvious. Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the first half of this year then you are well aware of all that is happening. Did I just say half a year? Time has flown by! I cannot believe that it is already the end of June 2020. Not that I am sad to see it go – but isolation has certainly played some funny tricks on my perception of time. I wanted to write today to get some things off my mind. And, to share with you some of the strategies I have had to employ to get through the last few weeks. So here is my 2020 mid-year life update.

Let’s just quickly recap 2020 so far. At the start of the year Australia was on fire – and not in a good way! We endured one of the worst bushfire seasons in our history. There were literally fires burning across the entire country. Some of them, especially here in Victoria, had fire fronts so large that it was hard not to feel a sense of dread just seeing them on the news. Lots of destruction and sadly wildlife and human lives lost. Us city folk were not spared as a result of the weeks of smoke-filled air impacting our lives. It was a crazy situation and at the time, it felt like things could not get much worse.

Oh how wrong we were!

2020 had only just gotten warmed up – pardon the pun. What was to come is now recent history but it makes the bushfires feel like they happened years ago. For historical purposes, at the time of writing this, many countries have gotten on top of the virus. They have ‘flattened the curve’ as the politicians like to say. Here in Australia, we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves to have contained the spread thanks to some stringent restrictions. Of course, like many others around the world, we endured months of lockdown, isolation from our loved ones and supermarket shelf shortages. First world problems really. I like to think that I am lucky to be able to work from home, have my wonderful children to isolate with and in global terms, am lucky to have supermarkets to find any groceries in. But, the world was in turmoil and it was all anyone was talking and thinking about.

And then America collapsed in on itself in more ways than one. It really is quite a unique country with a dynamic society. I don’t want to trample on anyone’s toes here as I know how charged its citizens can get. But it appears that they have never had control over Corona. The sheer volume of those infected is staggering and the death toll to date is heartbreaking. Yesterday they had 45,000 confirmed new cases in a 24 hour period. And then, in the middle of the biggest global crisis of the past century, Black Lives Matters engulfed the country – and much of the world. The endless content on social media and conventional media channels was overwhelming. Countless protests, riots, examples of police brutality and recklessness were repeated over and over again. It was quite depressing and mind-boggling.

Partway through June, after much of the BLM activity had slowed, my home state of Victoria woke to some troubling news. The Coronavirus had broken its chains and had once again begun to run rampant in the suburbs. The Victorian Government were in the process of easing restrictions but always encouraging people to work from home, stay home, social distance and above all else get tested if you have symptoms and stay isolated if positive. Turns out that a lot of people lost sight of the fact that we were still in a pandemic. People got complacent – or never cared about what the government was saying to begin with. Recent reports are stating that family transmission in the outer burbs was the new virus trend. Families with confirmed cases of the virus were not isolating, were holding large gatherings and in many cases still going to work.

Sigh. I tend not to try and judge people as we never know another person’s situation, but come on! Can they not see what is happening abroad in countries that ignore the warnings? Now, of course, this had lead to a huge effort by the government to get back on top of the situation. They have set up huge testing sites, are doorknocking every door and intend to complete 100,000 tests within ten days. The scale is crazy but reassuring to know that they will do whatever is necessary to get on top of this. Of course, social media is full of ‘experts’ that are claiming it is the government’s fault, or that they are only doing certain things for political spotlighting. This makes me mad.

As for me, I have had a tough couple of weeks. My work has been sporadic at best – but I am still working every day and also exploring new income streams. Regardless, I remain committed to my work with and of course the inroads that Leigh and I have made with A couple of weeks ago my youngest son was sent home from school with a sore throat. Primary school kids getting head colds has been a common issue forever – but in the new world of Coronavirus it all changes. Suddenly a head cold is a warning sign that action needs to be taken. He had only been back at school for a week after nearly three months at home. So I called our family doctor who recommended getting him tested and then keeping him home until we had the results. The test for Covid is not very pleasant especially not for a kid.

I then put the whole family back into quarantine until we had the results. I called all the people we had been in contact with for the previous few days to let them know. Three days later we got a message to say that the test was negative. I had no doubt that he just had a head cold but those few days, waiting for the results, was incredibly stressful. It really triggered my anxiety and depression. The thought of getting a positive test result was scary.  And being the guy that has to call the school to tell them, only to have the whole school shut down, was terryfying. But of course, it all turned out ok and he has returned back to school for the last week of term. He starts school holidays today for a further two weeks and to be honest I am glad he is home safe.

So that is what 2020 has dished up so far. And I didn’t even mention the Murder Hornets! I am feeling pretty good about myself as I have not returned to alcohol in times of stress, nor have I had any desire for it whatsoever! Looking ahead, it is hard to be optimistic as we just don’t know what turns the virus or its containment will take. If the last few weeks have been any indication, it is certainly far from over. But, I continue to focus on my work, the wellbeing of my children and my input here on my site. In case you have not noticed, I have been working on a couple of projects. The first is to organise a Tokyo Photography Tour at some stage in the future. I am also writing about a possible return solo trip to somewhere new in Japan. Both of these will depend heavily on how the world manages Coronavirus in the future. I also have a couple of other photography-related blogs in the works. So all-in-all, I am keeping busy and really cannot complain. My family are all well and safe.

I hope that you and your loved ones are well and safe. Happy isolating! G

Remember that if you are struggling in any way, you are never alone. The world is going through some pretty tense times. There is plenty of help out there so be sure to call upon it if you find you are struggling. In Australia, we have the below services. If you are not in Australia, a simple google search should similar services in your local area:

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14