The impact on our daily lives of COVID-19 is immense. The changes are enormous. Like me, you would have heard our political and health leaders tell us that what we are experiencing is a one in a hundred-year event. We are all counting the cost. The cost to our health, the unexpected loss of loved ones due to COVID-19, the cost to incomes, the cost to our way of life.
Cost to the Australian economy
We are still to experience the full impact of the cost to the Australian economy. The Federal and State governments are spending billions of dollars to keep the economy afloat. Today, more money was made available for mental health support. The new question to ask others is ‘Are you okay? It is okay, not to be okay.’
The economic cost will take years of clever financial management and innovation. While the Federal government examine the state of the economy over the next 12 months, is this also an opportunity for us to examine our relationship with money?
While the unemployment figures for April show the sharpest rise in any given month, never before experienced in Australia, I hear that Australian banks are strong. They are the shock absorbers for the economy that are helping prevent a sharp economic decline by deferring loan repayments for businesses and householders.
Even so, Australians have all played their part in containing COVID-19 and the country is poised to open up cafés, restaurants, and businesses to set us on the road to recovery. For all the football fans, we will soon be watching AFL and NRL from our home TV screens.
While Australia will be counting the cost to the economy for many years to come, thanks to our national and state leaders we are about to bounce back.
At the supermarket
Many families are counting the cost after their weekly visit to the supermarket. I have done the same. Our grocery bill has gone up! It is probably due to my tendency to stockpile and reduce our trips to the supermarket. Despite this, has there been subtle cost increases due to COVID-19 changes and the supply chain?
Due to all my stockpiling our freezer is full, and I am on a mission to reduce our stock. We have far more than we need! To do this I am planning our dinner menus around what is in the freezer.
This week, I was pleased to see the supermarket shelves packed with staples and an over-supply of toilet paper. I expect no one is buying toilet paper at the moment but just concentrating on reducing their stockpile, built up over the past couple of months.
At home with chickens
We have had our three chickens, the trio knowns as Molly, Polly, and Dolly for seven weeks. My sister Christine and her husband John, who live on the Atherton Tableland, Far North Queensland, have several roosters and recently acquired three bantams. Now Christine wants to call them Molly, Polly, and Dolly [laughter]! We all need to keep having fun given our ‘new normal’ – living with COVID-19, while counting the cost!
Our three chickens are providing us with entertainment. Their names should be the ‘Little Houdini Trio’. They are good at escaping from the coop run via the nesting box, then onto the coop roof and off to a new adventure.
One day after returning from grocery shopping the trio were missing. We found them out on our back lawn which is outside the gated area that contains their coop and run.
A few days ago, two of our chickens made their way over the coop roof, onto our wire vegetable garden roof and over into our neighbours place. Our neighbours have chickens and our trio were having a lovely time, eating our neighbours chicken grain, and getting to know their new friends. It was eventful getting them back home again!
Since then, my One & Only (O&O) and Matt have spent time extending the height of the coop run and a barrier in front of the nesting box and the coop roof! As a substitute for their adventures they have new play equipment.
What will our lives look like 2-3 years away?
We still do not know what our lives will be like in 2-3 years away. In some ways it will be the same as it is now, having our routine at home and catching up with friends and family via Skype, Facetime or Zoom. However, once domestic travel opens up caravan and campervans will be on the road once more looking for adventure, just like Molly, Polly, and Dolly.
The other day I read that international travel could be 2-3 years away. In the meantime, we will have opportunities for domestic travel. A chance to visit all the beautiful places in Australia often talked and read about, but never seen. It will be a chance for us to support cafés, restaurants, and businesses in regional and remote Australia, alongside what our cities have to offer.
Do you ever wonder what life will be like several years away? I do. Will this time of home isolation and restriction of movement entice us to eat more at home? And will our appreciation for café and restaurant meals increase? What are we learning as we live through the era of COVID-19?
In this beautiful Toowoomba autumn weather, I will sit in the sun and feel the warmth saturate my thoughts. While I ponder counting the cost COVID-19 has bought into our lives, I will also be counting the blessings. What are your thoughts? Can you count your blessings alongside the COVID-19 costs?