I knew that when 2020 began it was going to be a life-changing year for me. I knew this because there was a shift in my thinking, frustration with the way things were, a longing for something greater than my comfort zone.
Little did I know that life as I knew it would change so soon! At the end of February, my boss of 15 years left for Pretoria to act in a senior position. This was not a surprise as it was rumored by many that it would happen. But when my boss informed me in person, it was hard to process. I was his personal assistant and had worked professionally and closely with him during that time. My future became uncertain, I was emotional and needed time to accept the change. I took long walks on the beach to come to terms with my new reality.
Subsequently, the transition at work wasn’t as bad as I feared. I’m working with another boss and soon fell into a new routine of doing things. I was adjusting to a new normal and continued on my journey of seeking a better future.
In the midst of it all, I had been training hard for my 2nd marathon since November last year. I ran the Peninsula marathon on 16 February 2020 in a PB time of 5h15. It turned out to be a tough race compared to my first marathon. I was aiming for a time of 5h00 which was ambitious, to begin with. I started off too fast, trying to keep up with the 5h00 pacing bus but soon fell off realizing I couldn’t keep their pace. I saw loads of runners I knew on the way, tagging along, chatting to pass the kilometers. I soon developed a blister on one of my feet and had to stop at 21kms to tend to it. Returning to the road I knew I had to forget my goal time, so I carried on running, helping others stay motivated to finish the marathon together. A day later I realized what a huge achievement it was for me. For someone who was told by doctors that I should never run a marathon due to my physical weaknesses, I had now completed 2 marathons in less than 6 months!
With this achievement fresh in mind I returned to my fiction writing. I was so close to finishing the rewrite of Sydney’s Boxer, my first novel. Then changes at work surfaced that halted progress. Soon thereafter the coronavirus epidemic was unraveling around the world and had arrived in South Africa. When the first few cases became known, I knew it was only a matter of time before it spread like a veld fire. My concerns became a reality when the President declared South Africa a state of emergency. Life as I knew it had changed overnight.
All of a sudden going out in public was a scary thing to do. Sporting events were canceled, schools were closed, restaurants were empty. Some businesses allowed staff to work from home reinforcing social distancing. At work, everything revolved around staying safe, washing hands and minimizing contact with others. Productivity was at an all-time low as people tried to accept things as they were.
With the rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases increasing on a daily basis, the President called a lockdown in South Africa. Never in my lifetime has this been done and it finally hit home how serious the pandemic had become. In order to save lives, we needed to stay home. Our country would not survive without every South African playing their part to flatten the curve.
Being essential services I wasn’t guaranteed to stay home, but after a harrowing week of back and forth, we were given permission to work remotely. I am truly grateful for this. Working from home, doing all the things I wished I had more time for, has now been afforded to me. And I’m not taking it for granted.
I’m not sure how this pandemic is going to end. I worry about the older generation and vulnerable people contracting the virus and not fully recovering. There’s an influx of news reports and information hitting us every second of the day. It’s so hard to stay optimistic during this time.
Prayer is my sanctuary now. Only the Lord knows why this is happening, the reason why the world is going through this and the lessons we need to learn from it all. I always believe there is hope in hopelessness. And a miracle is waiting around the corner if I never give up. I have faith the world can overcome this and somehow 2020 is not going to let me down.