What is this limbo?

By Jana Harvey, March 31, 2020

Read time: 6 Mins

What is this limbo? Image

It’s like time has frozen and everything we do now doesn’t count. 

Part of me feels like at any moment someone will run a red light, just because they can. Or, run down a road throwing toilet paper, just because they can. Or, break into my car, just because they can. 

The foundations my understanding of this world stand on are being shaken. They are not yet broken, but I wonder if it is heading that way. 

Are you relevant? Am I? 

Despite all of this spare time I have no headspace to feel calm or free or limitless. 

My idea of enjoyment mainly comes from spending money. I pay to go to yoga classes. I pay to sit down and have a coffee in a cafe. I pay to get public transport to a park or a pool. I pay to get in to a pool. I pay to go and sit and have drinks with my friends. 

My fear of not having money seemed to be never-ending. But now, the concept of money feels almost – not quite – obsolete. 

Is this capitalist society we live in able to let us go? 

Do we even want to be let go? 

Where do we go if we do let go? 

Social media is scaring me at the moment. I feel I live in a perpetual feed of scary news articles, hugely upsetting statistics, and memes that both alleviate the fear and solidify it. Because if we’ve resorted to laughing about it then there probably isn’t any more time to fix it. (?) 

Are we kind people if we don’t repost that thing about freezing rent? 

Are we unkind if we agree that maybe this is something that is good for the earth? 

I wonder if I have been running in the rat race for so long that I’ve forgotten that it’s just a race and I can stop at any time. 

But can I? 

Do I believe more in the social side of the pandemic, the economic side, or the environmental? 

I have so many questions and so few answers. 

Socially, this is good. We’re shaking things up. We’re the drunk aunt at the family Christmas party who is a bit out of her depth and has had one too many glasses of rose but HEY here we are might as well enjoy it. It’s weird and unusual and definitely uncomfortable but it’s not forever and soon the rose will wear off and we’ll go to bed and wake up feeling groggy but better. And we’ll have had a great time and revel in the fact that just didn’t have to worry that much. 

Economically, it depends who you speak to. Anyone over the age of 25 is probably not feeling so great about this. Maybe that is a broad generalisation, but for the sake of time constraints (of which there are none), we will move along. 

If you have a small business, a medium business, a large business; this time will not feel good for you. It will be scary and stressful and it may be like a rollercoaster that rather than having highs and lows, is just lows. Things seemingly go from bad to worse without any breathing time. Hard to get out of the rat race then you’ve superglued your feet to the tracks, isn’t it? 

On the other hand, for people – the dreaded *young* people – this time feels like a reset button has been pushed. We’ve all been ejected from out roller coaster and the track has literally crumbled away underneath us, but hey, I didn’t really want to be on that track anyway. I was just told to go there by everyone else that ran on this track (and were also forced into it) and said it was great, and if I worked hard enough and dedicated myself enough and spent enough of my money then one day I would make it and be successful and have my DREAM LIFE. 

But would I have had that? 

I’ve completed a Bachelor’s degree and I’ve been out of university for three years and am now back studying my Masters. I’ve had countless jobs that have never gone anywhere because no one once thought maybe I was worth giving that shot to. Why? 

I spent all that money and gave all that time and energy and care and I don’t really feel I got anything from it. 

So, to conclude. For young people, this time is scary but also it makes us feel alive and like our futures might just get put back in our hands again. Maybe we are the brightness to shine through and make the changes we want to see. 

Maybe, for the first time, we will have power. 

Perhaps I am wrong in the thinking that age defines it. There could be people out there who have had their businesses for ten years and are standing there internally secretly screaming *THANK GOD THAT’S OVER* because we don’t really know what people are thinking, do we? 

These people could have been sitting there for the past five years on a golf cart on the race track and have been too scared to jump off because it’s going so fast. Ever think about that? 

Environmentally, this is the best thing to happen to the earth in a very, very, long time. 

Dolphins in Venice? Brilliant. Less pollution in China? Amazing. Elephants getting drunk in a vineyard? Best. News. Ever.

But what about us? Humans are inherently selfish creatures and it is hard to work against our inner nature and flick that switch off. 

‘We are the virus’ is being thrown around a lot. I respect the sentiment, but we don’t have to be. Why don’t we try changing those patterns of ours so we can live in harmony instead of being a literal disease. We are all capable of so much change. We are so adaptable and so strong. I think of what we are going through right now, or what my friends have been through, or what I’ve been through, and I am in awe of us. We have this innate desire to persevere, to push on, to continue even when all feels like it’s lost. 

Why can’t we make the changes necessary ie. practice reducing, reusing, recycling (PROPERLY) in a way that we can see a difference? 

Why don’t we, as the ordinary people who form extraordinary masses, stand up for what we truly believe in? If we hold this planet so near and dear let’s start acting like it. 

Less plastic in our supermarkets, cafes, restaurants is a good start. So is being taught how to properly recycle, through the education system. Also, a fuller understanding of climate change would be great. Maybe a recycling bin for more varieties of recyclables (following in Japan and Denmark’s footsteps isn’t the worst idea), and maybe more opportunities for the development of a circular loop in fashion production. 

These are broad blanket ideas and I hold no weight on my own, even if I yell them from the rooftops. But if we all got on our rooftops and started yelling, think of all the noise we’d make. We’d shake the buildings in their foundations and the men in suits out of their towers and maybe the clouds would even part – who knows. We haven’t ever tried to shout this loud before but my god I can’t wait to see what happens if we do. 

I have almost blinding faith in the power of humanity when we turn or attention from the hatred of evil to the desire for good. 

Maybe baby maybe, this could be the trigger that sets it off. The moment where we break through into the light, where the oh-so-oversaturated rainbow finally has an end and the pot of gold is really just our mental health, our desire to be happy, to do good, and the wellbeing of the planet with us still on it. 

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