So we go into new lockdown rules a week from today. As said before, I will try and keep safe as much as possible. But it does seem we will be able to drive out on the dirt roads. Reason for excitement.
While dressing, I envision driving the backroads and stopped by the police. The imaginary conversation goes like this: “Morning sir, where are you going?” “Morning, Officer, I am going home.” “That is good, sir, where are you coming from?” “I am coming from home, officer.” That is what driving backroads are about. Going nowhere at 20km/h with many photo-stops. And from an imaginary drive we end up listening to two amazing songs.
Then Colm Wilkinson sings Bring Him Home from Les Misérables. I had the privilege to be in the auditorium when Les Misérables was in Artscape. That was an experience.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left.”
“That last page turned is a perfect excuse to write a whole new book.”
We are still in lockdown, so very few people should be going home, they should be AT home.
As always, the end is also a new beginning. It is important to realise that the end of the lockdown is not the end of the virus. We are leaving the safety of our homes as the curve is starting to rise. Although I think Pres Ramaphosa is doing very well in these times (just wish we could agree on when it is 19h00 or 20h00, because it seems we understand that differently). I cannot wonder what history will say a year or two from now when we look back with 20/20 hindsight. Life is not a repeatable experiment. I believe each and every country and individual is doing as best he can in these times. But looking back at this situation, I wonder what the opinions would be where we could do differently with perhaps a better result. What am I learning from this situation? What will I say a year from now about my own reaction to lockdown and everything it stands for?
The end of lockdown also starts a new beginning for most businesses and people. Even if you have an essential business, turnover was not the same. It will take a very long time to catch up on lost income and turnover. That is an even bigger problem on an individual level.
I have a fair understanding of the economy and I understand many things. For instance, there is compelling evidence that the standard of living is rising worldwide. I like that. But I dare you to convince the guys begging at the robot that it is true! In the same way I believe the economy will recover, but I am convinced there will be significant personal suffering.
A new beginning also means a new opportunity. Right at the beginning of the pandemic, I read an article and the author discussed the way ahead. One thing he said stuck with me. “If your business is already faltering, perhaps now is a time to walk away with dignity, get rid of the burden, and start over. If that will be possible, depends on the structure of the business.” There is an opportunity when a door closes and a new one opens.
There is hope in new beginnings.
Feb 2006 a minister of religion told me this story. He was a minister in a medium-sized town. There was a baker who baked the best cookies and biscuits you could imagine. This minister encouraged the congregants to tithe. Mr. Baker told him: “If I tithe, I will go bankrupt.” To which the minister replied: “Perhaps that is what God intends because he has much bigger dreams for you.” (I have many reservations about this conversation!) As you can imagine, Mr. Baker did go bankrupt, he moved to Johannesburg, opened a new bakery and it became a BAKERY. Because I know the minister, I believe the story.
Has anybody ever asked you: “If you could start over and there are no constraints, what would you do?”
NOW COULD BE MY TIME!
And then, perhaps, I would really be going home. Except, short-term insurance is home to me. I might have to start over, but I will rebuild my home!