There was a brief moment in 2020 when it felt like the world would unite in its fight against an insidious virus. Within our lockdowns, there was a sense of community. If a neighbour was forced to isolate others would rally around in order to ensure that they had food and drink. Online life became about sharing and entertaining.
Performers found new audiences as social media channels turned into the mainstream. In our industry, there was a sense of giving back as we recognised that we were struggling – after all, never before had the entertainment industry stopped. Performing is an addiction. It’s like a drug releasing the dopamine hit for both the performer and the audience.
We spoke about how we’d build back better, remarked on the sense of community, and looked at ways in which we could replicate this solidarity back in the real world. With catastrophic world events like the George Floyd murder, we were all confronted with our own biases. Of course, long periods of introspection can often lead to action, and we saw a tribe of activists evolve, determined to ‘be the change’ when things got back to ‘normal’.
We failed to notice a wave of growing anger though, as the days turned into weeks and even months. The uncertainty of what the world was going to look like once the pandemic had calmed down, the resentment against what was quickly becoming a forced introspective period. The hours of surfing online with the echo chambers that we had chosen created a resentment that was to quickly spill out into the ‘real world’.
Some 2 years later that anger is still palpable. We haven’t had a chance to process what really went on back in 2020 as we all just had to ‘survive’ it. Then as soon as the world started to open back up, we quickly had to make up for all the lost time, and indeed all the lost revenue.
Some days when I’m speaking to my 5-year-old, it doesn’t matter what I say, it’s going to be wrong. As he tries to process the world and everything that it throws at him on a daily basis, he doesn’t have the processing power to articulate why he’s angry at ‘things’. Right now it feels like that’s a good metaphor for where we all are.
2 years of a pandemic, a war, catastrophic government after catastrophic government making idealistic changes with far-reaching consequences. The cost of living crisis, the concern around fuel costs, I mean it’s never-ending, and we have no choice other than keeping our heads down and attempting to plough on through it.
We’re all at the end of a very short fuse, and that fuse can seemingly be sparked by the simplest of things. Just like my 5-year-old, we are all currently out of control attempting to process a ‘new world’ at lightning speed.
So this is just a reminder that it’s OK. We’ve all been through a lot, and soon (I hope) we’ll be able to look forward to a bit of humdrum for a while. Just like I keep reminding him, when it gets too much, step back, breathe and centre yourselves. It’s time to be kind to yourself.
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