Verity Johnson is an Auckland-based writer and business owner.
OPINION: Well, that’s it.
This is supposed to be the week we happily leap into freedom like emaciated models frolicking through fields of sunflowers for a perfume commercial.
This is our freedom week; vaccines pass, digitization stops, capacity increases and Australian tourists will soon return. The light, anticipated smell of hope wafts through the nose of Auckland CBD, like fried bacon on a Sunday morning when your mouth is drier than a three-month-old orange.
We should be delighted. We should feel like jumping, running to the kitchen, grabbing the metaphorical bacon and rubbing it on our faces in hungover ecstasy. So why does the collective mood feel flatter than a deflated unicorn party balloon?
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In Auckland, despite the fact that we are apparently past our peak of cases and on the downward slopes towards near normal… the collective mood is bleak. Morose, exhausted and agitated. We should be levitating with joy. But instead, we’re a strange mix of listless and restless, drifting through the streets like anxious, abandoned pizza flyers.
And of course, we all wonder what’s wrong with us? Wasn’t this what we had been waiting, dreaming, longing for and moaning about for two years? How can we be tired after so long Do nothing? What happened to all that pent up energy and enthusiasm that we were supposed to keep in the mental basement for this precise moment?
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with you. I think it’s post-peak blues. And it’s starting in Auckland, and it’s going to settle in the rest of the country soon like dandruff.
You see, we all think of our lust for life as some sort of eternal inner source. Somewhere inside us, behind the pancreas perhaps, it will always naturally bubble. And we all assumed it would continue to hum like magic throughout the pandemic, waiting for the day when we were ready to drink from it again.
And of course, some of that enthusiasm is renewed. But we forget that a lot of energy comes from what happens in our daily lives. We draw our enthusiasm from what is happening around us, people, conversations, dramas, adventures, scandals…
And nothing happened. Well, there has been a pandemic and massive societal stress, terror and upheaval. But personally, your everyday life has felt flatter than two-day coke.
You are probably incredibly, incredibly bored. Bored with yourself, bored with your lives, bored with the wet thrill of going for a walk or having a coffee. And it is not normal the boredom of Tuesday afternoon. We’re past the point where you can fix it with a cha-cha class or a balloon massage.
It’s late boredom. A sneaky, sticky, sneaky annoyance that has quietly settled on your soul like that immovable layer of grease on top of the stove hood. You don’t even realize it’s there. In fact, it made you think you’re the problem, not him. Then you add burnout, exhaustion, and long-term stress and, of course, you feel flat.
But the good news is that you haven’t lost your source of enthusiasm. It has just been concreted illegally without your planning permission. So what we need to do now is pull out a hammer and chip it in by rediscovering our lives.
We have to force ourselves to get up, get dressed, go out, meet friends, have brunch, bitch, hop into a bar, eat overpriced halloumi fries, and cry with our arms around complete strangers. It’s scary and hard to remember how to live again. But it’s the only way to get our bubbles back.