Personally Speaking

by Susannah Friis, Editor The Lake News

Like many others, I’m wondering what else this year could possibly hold for us as a global community. I don’t know about you but quite often it all feels very surreal and incomprehensible.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the onslaught of bad news coming, it seems, from every corner of the globe. And because there is such a barrage of information, it’s easy to get muddled up with what’s happening where. It’s easy to take on the events of racial crisis and the consequential protests and riots in the USA and begin to view our own issues through that lens instead of an Australian context.

I’ll leave it to greater minds than mine to debate and analyse the nuances of our undeniable racial and human rights issues here in Australia. Yet one of the aspects I find my mind drawn back to again and again is how easy it is for us to ‘borrow trouble’. At the moment in particular, when we are so saturated with the ‘troubles’ of the world, it can be tricky to differentiate between problems that actually do need addressing here, and problems that we can do little about in other parts of the world.

I recently accidentally sparked a false alarm about my safety while I was out. My family went into panic-mode (not unreasonably, I might add!) for about half an hour until I was able to establish I was fine. After the adrenaline had eased, we talked about how glad we all were that it was just a false alarm and how quickly everyone’s imaginations had run through multiple scenarios in that thirty minutes. Worry really is ‘borrowing trouble’ isn’t it? So often, none of the things we spend time worrying about actually happen—thankfully! 

With so many concerning things happening here and around the world, and the uncertainty about the immediate, and long term, future, it’s tempting to get caught up in a downward worry spiral. Given the extra worry all of us are tempted to do due to the state of things amid (and slowly coming out of) a pandemic, we don’t need to also be worrying about things in other countries that we can make little impact on.

What we can do is increase our awareness and knowledge of the issues facing us in Australia. If we let it, 2020 could be the year we actually, as a collective, really reflect and, more importantly, act. Rather than being blissfully unaware of what our First Nation’s people live with day in, day out, we can educate ourselves and find out how we can get involved in a resolution. Rather than turning a blind eye to the plight of asylum seekers, we can face the hard truth of what life is like for people who’ve sought refuge on our shores and act.

Maybe, rather than being a year of disaster, we can make this year a year of awakening. Maybe, the trials and difficulties will cause us to change. In our race to ‘get back to normal’, let’s take a step back and decide what we want ‘normal’ to look like—personally, societally and globally. It’s quite possible that nothing will ever be the same again—and I think that’s fantastic. 

To read more Personally Speaking columns, go here.