This day… Alice about uncertain times

What is going on at the moment, and how do we deal with all the changes? In this blog, someone from the Flow team shares how she is dealing with the current situation: both on a practical level and in her head. This time: Alice (freelance journalist) talks about how she is also experiencing this strange time, without romanticizing it, as a special one.

These are weird times. Horrible times. Full of uncertainty. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a war situation, where—every day—something is taken from you in the sense of freedom and radius of action.

All of a sudden, we find ourselves at home with the whole family, we have to be quiet because the children are taking online school lessons. One daughter is back from university; the other received her school diploma on a Tuesday in March without even having to sit—or pass—her final exams.

I call my parents regularly to see if they still feel healthy, but I can’t go visit them. In the evening I text with a friend who works in a hospital, and she keeps me informed about the number of corona infections and admissions to her IC. She hasn’t had a day off since the outbreak. Like I said: these are strange times.

Yet I also look upon this time as a special one. Because we are forced to go back to basics. I feel like staying in my ‘house cocoon’. My agenda is suddenly empty; all those planned dinners, drinks, shows and parties have been canceled. I don’t race from interview to phone appointment. The streets are quiet, and the DHL van doesn’t drive back and forth past the window continuously. A trip to Paris has been canceled; will the planned summer vacation go ahead, or will it be trips in the surrounding area, to the forest and the beach, instead?

My whole life has been stripped of extras: no new clothes, no visits to the hairdresser or the gym—instead, I do some gardening and take a daily walk in nature, often with a friend while keeping 1.5 meters apart. In the evening, to keep the mood upbeat with teenagers who have nowhere to go, we watch a movie and have even brought out a 3,000-piece puzzle.

If I expand the circle, I see what people are capable of in times of crisis: schools teach online, work meetings are done via Skype or Zoom. Suddenly it is once again evident which professions we really cannot do without. And the new health minister here in the Netherlands belongs to the opposition party, and you don’t hear anyone complaining about it.

I definitely find this to be an uncertain time, I’m not going to romanticize it. We do not know what direction it will take, how bad it is going to be and if loved ones will be affected. But secretly I think this reset period is also a valuable one. Let me speak for myself when I say that I hope I won’t revert to old habits after this corona crisis.

Text Alice van Essen  Translation Julia Gorodecky  Photography Alexander Andrews/