For all the talk of 2020 being a stinker of a year, let me just say, people of Launceston, you’ve done a great job.
If I learnt anything from studying history, and for my long-suffering tutor Phil’s sake I hope I did, it’s that it’s not easy to live during a plague.
Such difficult times brought Samuel Pepys to wee in a fireplace, hide his cheese in a hole in the ground and – even more bizarrely – document both acts as studying material for university students 350 years on.
The worst Tasmanians have come to so far is a toilet paper crisis at Coles and on the whole I reckon that’s pretty good.
In fact, in many ways COVID has brought out the best in Tasmanians, starting with those on the frontline.
Health workers and doctors have shown genuine bravery and care in putting their own health on the line in continuing to serve their community.
Teachers have been required to multi-task better than ever as their classes were split between the classroom and online.
Not to mention Bunnings staff, who have showed great patience as we’ve found a love for landscape gardening all at once.
Tasmanians of all ages have stepped up to the plate.
Today’s youth – so often criticised for not respecting authority figures – have rallied behind our Premier to the point that he’s now being lovingly referred to as ‘Papi Gutwein’.
Parents and workers have faced all kinds of challenges – job loss, keeping staff on, working remotely, having kids at home, being stuck interstate – and in some cases combinations of all these things at once.
Our elderly in aged care were unable to see visitors or leave their homes for months but have soldiered on and joined us in helping Zoom’s stocks triple.
Good things are happening on a societal level too – just ask a dog.
The view from my living room window shouldn’t always be used as a measure of canine wellbeing, but I’m almost certain dogs have never been more-walked than in 2020.
What’s more, they’re being walked by whole families, who are hanging out together like it’s 1990 again.
If that’s not good for society, I don’t know what is.
In other news:
There’s been a push to support and re-connect with our local businesses (again, is this 1990?) and they’ve worked hard to make their premises COVID-safe.
Our churches have prayed and fasted for us, our sporting clubs have kept us connected and revived backyard sport, and our supermarket staff have kept a good attitude while doing the thankless task of telling us that we can’t buy that much hand sanitiser.
Even if none of these sound like you, you’ve probably tried making banana bread or sourdough or something schmancy and time-consuming for the first time.
And while those skills may seem trivial now, your grandkids will be thanking you in the decades to come.
So if you wake up one morning and we’ve been hit by a second wave or you’re missing the good old days (also known as 2019) or you’re just really struggling – remember that you’re probably doing a lot better than what you think.
Living during a pandemic isn’t easy and you’re doubtless coping better than our friend Samuel Pepys did.
You almost certainly take better care of your heat pump than he did of his fireplace and thanks to Ashgrove, King Island and Pyengana we’re closer to being overrun by cheese than we are a cheese shortage.
So keep going, keep safe and look after each other Launceston.
You’re doing amazing!
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