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Don’t get triggered

By: Brent Lindeque, South Africa’s Good Things Guy

Please don’t get triggered. This is just my thoughts on financial and emotional well-being during this time, and it is just my opinion for those that care to read what is on my mind.

Here goes…

It’s bizarre to watch many parts of the world go into lockdown – some for the first time and many for the second time, while we have many of our freedoms back again.

I mean, the amount of South Africans who now live below the dignity line has almost tripled during 2020, our economy is not great and may be on the brink of a collapse, many of my friends are unemployed (or earning less than they were this time last year) and we’re all still very unsure of exactly what is going on in our country (or with this virus), but we can play sport outside, see family and friends, and also have a bite to eat and something to drink in a restaurant or cafe while many countries around the world cannot.

So first things first before we get to my point… we have to acknowledge that alcohol, cigarettes and roast chickens are still allowed to be sold in other parts of the world – even in the harshest lockdowns. And even though some stores are stopping people from buying certain things – like pillows – you can still order them online and have them delivered to your house on the same day. So dear South African government, can we please diarise to revisit some of your peculiar decision making choices in the future, and hold you accountable for our current distrust in your leadership (or lack thereof) and state of our mental wellness?

Anyway… back to my point.

Here’s the thing we need to wrap our heads around: if the rest of the world is going back into lockdown in the colder months, then we need to be prepared for this outcome too. If the cold is the reason that Europe is going back into lockdown, then we could very well face the same odds in May next year.

Our active cases keep fluctuating but stay relatively low, and have been under 55 000 for 50 days now so even though we seem to be “okay” with our numbers today, we have no clue how that may change tomorrow.

Maybe we need to start living with the prospect that another lockdown might happen and then prepare for it emotionally and financially – even if it doesn’t.

We might be making hay while the sun shines, but the future is still very uncertain, and no one is really sure of the “end game”. There doesn’t seem to be a “magic formula” that is going to make everything instantly go back to normal. I’ve read that vaccines take years to be developed so we may have this hanging over our heads for a lot longer than expected. Like, things will not just reset on the 1st of January 2021… just saying.

Our government are also not great and tend to make incredibly irrational decisions at the best of times, so if our numbers do spike, there is a possibility that we will be forced to go back into a lockdown (even though our actual spike was in our harsh lockdown – this is a different conversation) so we need to be prepared.

So here’s my advice.

Even if you believe in some sort of conspiracy theory about this thing or you’re not “scared of it” – understand that the government are making decisions for us and do not care about your hypothesis. They will act accordingly should numbers go up again.

Expect the worst and hope for the best. Start wrapping your head around the fact that a second lockdown in South Africa may happen next year in the winter months. I am watching the rest of the world, and they are so angry about going back into lockdown… but the reality is that there is nothing they say or do that can change the fact that the decision has been made for them. Let’s prepare ourselves mentally so that we don’t find ourselves in the same position? Even if it does not happen.

Start saving money now – as much of it as you can squirrel away. Cut down on your expenses. Get rid of things that you are paying for but not using, get rid of that gym contract, try sharing a car with your partner, downgrade your cellphone package or just get rid of debt. Save whatever you can.

Secure your job. I know that sounds unrealistic, but the time is now to work harder than you ever have so that your managers can see your worth. Put in the hours to become an asset to the company you are in or find new ways to work that takes being in lockdown into account. Evolve, become resilient to change.

Most importantly, I guess is to try to stop spreading this thing, and that means wearing masks, and physically distancing. Don’t stop living but rather do things with the virus in mind. Like, go eat out but maybe avoid the underground club that all the “cool kids” are going to after – we’ve seen this in the news, this ends badly.

Start being more responsible for the lives around you. The trick here is to act like you have it and then treat the people in your life (or even just randoms who you come into contact with) that they might die if they get it.

And then be kinder with yourself and each other. Everyone is in this thing right now. We are feeling a little off-sides. The uncertainty is frustrating, and the unknown is scary. So be kinder than necessary. Help where you can, and love those around you just a little bit louder.

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