Coronavirus: Aussies can't handle a world in grey


Australians can't handle living in the grey.

Black and white is understandable, you can either do something, or not.

You know your boundaries, what's expected, and you choose whether or not you're going to abide.

But the grey is murky and scary for many. Grey is uncertainty, do I, don't I, should I, could I?

The coronavirus has most Aussies living in the grey, and they just can't handle it.

The shops are open, but we're told to stay away where possible. Schools are open but parents are allowed to keep their kids at home. The local gym has shut but the undercover swimming pool hasn't. Go out and support local businesses but please keep your distance and go alone.

These are all messages we've heard in the past week. They make sense… to me. But I can see why so many people are confused and are taking to social media in droves to ask others what they're doing, what should they be doing? Our way of 'corona life' has many so unsure of themselves that they need the backing of the pack from Facebook and Twitter.

In the past four days I've heard so many people with black and white thoughts on the issue, or lack there-of.

"Until I get a symptom, I'm not changing the way I live," to "don't leave home, self-Isolate now or we're all going to die".

Where's the grey in this scenario? Somewhere in the middle of these black and white thought processes is common sense and probably the best course of action for now.

Queues formed outside the Annerley Road Centrelink after the announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday night. The line continued to grow until it was around the corner.
When the pictures aren't in black-and-white, Aussies have a hard time recognising another depression when they see one coming. Kieran Bicheno

Sure, things are going to change, especially if we're all too blasé about restrictions, but we don't need to hit the panic button and fear death at every corner. Neither approach is helpful nor healthy.

But Aussies by nature are laid back, which is probably why social distancing just hasn't been working. Until they're told to stay home and not leave, many will continue to think the situation does not apply to them. It's human nature. For example, cancer is a horrible, horrible disease, but true empathy for those suffering only comes when directly affected. The same applies here. It's like we're all teenagers again, untouchable and invincible and indestructible. But that can also be a coping mechanism for many, so that they don't fall into the other category, of panic.

I must admit, I've probably been out and about more than I should have recently. I have stopped visiting friends, but I'm still at the shops most days grabbing something (no I'm not stockpiling).

I'm still working in an office, albeit not for long and I'm still planning on helping a family member move house this weekend.

But I am happy to live in the grey, I understand the reasoning for what is a little bit of a messy society at the moment. I understand we need certain industries to still have workers and be operational while others are not.

I know we need to support those left open as best we can while ensuring we are not ignoring health and safety advice from those above.

I also understand that this is far from over.

We are just at the beginning and need to prepare for the long haul.

Yes, it's probably going to get a lot worse before it gets better, but let's not be frightened of the unknown.

Let's live in the grey and be OK with that.

You can make rational decisions without needing to be told to either never leave home or go out and socialise.

You can get through the uncertainty by knowing you are not alone.

These are challenging times, but let's be rational with our own responses.