Shock: I have to make choices again in Melbourne

As lockdown eases, Penny is challenged by the return of decisions.

Melbourne’s freedoms are coming thick and fast. We can now travel to other parts of the state. We can meet relatives and friends who live more than 25 kilometres away, but numbers actually gathering in another’s home are capped at two.

Still, I can even go to the cinema today so long as I wear my mask. This is huge!

Melbourne diary

Penny Mulvey reports on life during COVID in Melbourne – from lockdown to vaccinations.

Living in lockdown has meant we all knew what each day was going to look like … pretty much the same as yesterday and tomorrow. This might sound weird, but there was something almost “easier” about life during our recent stretch of having our choices so substantially removed.

Like the rest of Australia at various points this year (and the whole world, really), we in Melbourne did get used to having our decisions made for us. Or were our decisions taken from us, by the restrictions imposed to combat COVID?

Different Melbourne friends would comment that they have struggled with conversations with friends and relatives interstate – as they had nothing to say.

“What are you doing at the weekend?”

“Umm, nothing.”

“How was your weekend?”

“Well … ahh, I did the same circuit of the park I did today and yesterday and the day before. I walked the dog. I waved at a neighbour from afar.”

Now our door has been opened … initially, just a crack. Some light came in. Cafes beckoned! A friend shared some excitement: “I drank a beer from a glass for the first time in months!”

Simple pleasures, but important ones.

Then the door opened a bit more. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that we Victorians would be welcome in her state (and vice versa) from November 23. Hallelujah. So many possibilities. But wait. If I fly to Sydney to spend time with my work colleagues, could I then fly on to Brisbane to attend a remarkable 100-year-old birthday party? Woops. No. Greater Sydney is banned from that state.

What about Christmas? Could we travel to Queensland then? Well we don’t know and we can’t book and what about the animals and … and … and …!

You see what I mean. In lockdown we had no decisions to make. They had been made for us. Stay home except for my one hour of exercise. Don’t visit anyone else. All retail stores, theatre, museums, swimming pools and the like closed. Can’t travel beyond five kilometres.

Choices. Well, kind of. And I am really not sure how to manage that.

Planning? Well no, not yet, as those our family really want to visit are still off limits.

… Maybe I can take my many lockdown lessons into this new slowly-changing world of Melbourne life.

I can hear myself. I now sound like someone who can’t be satisfied. I mean, the door is moving, but it hasn’t been flung back. The line we have to cross to enter Queensland is 28 days without one single COVID-19 case. We are now celebrating ten straight days, but I assume that if that should change, the 28 day countdown restarts.

However, the sun is shining. The US election has come and gone (well, almost). The ducklings in the park are taking more risks, so maybe I too can live a little – and maybe I can take my many lockdown lessons into this new slowly-changing world of Melbourne life.

I need to sit in this transitional space. The mights and the might nots. The questions. The uncertainty. The inability to plan as I would like!

There are, however, at least two things I can rely on: Summer will follow spring and God’s love is constant and unchanging!

As a start to my re-entry into life beyond lockdown, I can decide to rely on those things. And go from there. Depending on border restrictions, of course.