Today is all different. The streets are emptier than normal when I go for my morning run. I absorb my surroundings. I am bracing for impact, and I know I am not alone.
I stand still at the middle of a crossroad. I look around me. There is nothing but silence. Although it is 6am, mostly there is some sound, some traffic. Today, there is none. I watch the ocean at my one hand and the lush rainforest on the mountains at the other hand. Would they know, I wonder?
The last kilometre I walk through the park, two butterflies are spinning around each other floating on the air. They don’t stop their play because I am around, rather they come right up to me, and land on my nose. I giggle. What are they doing? What do they want to tell me? Would they know?
I drive to work. Absorb my surroundings more carefully than other days. I have followed up the spread of corona globally, Australia has not taken any measures yet. One day they have to put similar measures into place, I know. I feel today will be the day.
I drive to work. See how the roads change into one another. Over the mountains I drive out town into nature. On the top of the mountain I see the fabulous turquoise ocean spreading out its wings. I hold my breath for a second. I absorb and watch. As if the distance is already there, as if it already is unreal.
I park my car at the parking lot, put on my shoes and my uniform. Tonight, will be the last night, I feel it. I text a friend, “let’s rock one more night”. After it, it will be over for a while. But I will give all I have to end in beauty.
I walk in the restaurant, observe the kitchen, the bar, the area, as if it is all the first and the last time, I see it. I ask the kitchen if there is any food we need to have out now, because it will turn bad if in the event of a immediately closure. I take a deep breath, and prepare for impact.
During work a stick-insect and a bird are sitting next to each other on the balcony. It sounds so unrealistic; we all take time to watch both of them. Later, when the bird flies away, the sticky-man stays on the balcony, waving in the wind, as if nothing can distract him. Would he know?
The night falls, the stars take over the sun, and the mots pop up out of nowhere. They are more active than other nights. One in particular lands in a bucket of disinfectant – maybe she knows – so I try to catch her before she drowns or even drinks this water-alike substance. She keeps on diving back in the water, until I catch her carefully, and bring her outside. I want to release her, but she stays on my finger. Sticks to it. Would she know?
I continue the night, until the late evening news shows the Prime Minister announcing the shutdown of all public gatherings and businesses such as hospitality for six months. Starting tomorrow. There is despair, stress, and a mixture of feelings. So, tonight was our last night. Would they have known?
I walk away from the television, keep up business as usual for the last customers out there tonight. So, tonight was our last night. I knew it was coming, sooner or later, I felt it would be tonight. I braced for impact, but was it enough?
I’ve worked in aviation, where we were drilled to be prepared in any case of an emergency, since you cannot call a back-up up in the air. Whenever all preparations would be over, there was only one thing left to be done until the actual crash or event would happen: brace for impact.
Bracing for impact was more than positioning your body the best to absorb the chock at the least possible damage. Bracing for impact was about knowing that you were prepared. It was about having thrust in yourself that you had done all you could do to face the upcoming emergency. It was about turning into yourself, going through all the procedures firmly, so you would know exactly what to do. It was about calming down, saving your energy – as an Olympic athlete before the sprint – to be ready to jump up as soon as it was needed.
I braced for impact the last couple of weeks, knowing that this was going to happen. I prepared myself. Stopped running and practiced yoga and meditation instead, to remain calm and confident in myself. Checked on all administrative issues, such as visa, health care, savings, salary, emergency treatment and contacts. I braced for impact, which was all I could do to absorb the moment at the least possible damage.
Many hospitals around the world are bracing for impact as well. They have been clearing up space on intensive care, re-educating health workers and other staff to be prepared for the peak to come. Now we have to have thrust on them to help us get through.
In life we cannot always prevent an event to happen, and not always we can prepare. Nor does it make sense to live in fear for any possible scenario to take place. Yet, it does make sense to brace for impact, and have thrust. Thrust on that the moment you have to act, you will act, thrust on your own potential, knowledge and skills, thrust on your inner power, thrust on the people around you. None of us have been in a situation like this before, yet, we are all managing it, we are all in here now and making the best of it.
When there is a lot of incertitude, we need thrust and faith more than anything else, knowing that this too shall pass. Therefore, we have to brace for impact if the worse is yet to come. Not to stock up on unnecessary groceries, but to calm down and have faith.
And after the impact, cry, feel relieved, let go; because you made it. Embrace the impact now and start out of here.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read on how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness, on how you can contribute to this battle, on how gratitude lights up the dark, and on how united we will stand strong. Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.