12/52: St Patrick's Day Party For 2
Everything is changing, but it's not all bad.
As I sit here and write this blog at 9:00pm on Tuesday 17th March 2020, my wife and I have just begun one of the world's smallest St Patrick's Day celebrations. Like many of our friends, both Irish and non-Irish, St Patrick's Day is often a rather 'large' day in the calendar. So it seems fitting that we begin phase one of our new working-from-home reality by quietly lifting a pint of Guinness in a small celebration of St Patrick. It's honestly going to be very difficult to link St Patrick and working from home in a pandemic, but here we go!
Quick history lesson: St Patrick converted the Irish to Christianity in the 5th Century after being kidnapped from Britain at the age of 16 to become a slave in Ireland. He 'worked' for six years in Ireland as a Shepherd and during this time he 'found God', fled back to Britain, became a priest and then returned to Ireland to do the hard work of converting the Pagan Irish. Many legends abound, including driving snakes from the island (a metaphor for the conversion?).
St Patrick died on March 17th, 461 and was buried in Downpatrick just south of Belfast, Northern Ireland. We now dye rivers green and drink Guinness as a mark of respect for his good work. Cheers!
This is not the first event or celebration, and certainly not the last, that we'll have to skip, cancel or postpone. I play jazz semi-professionally, often with my wife Tamsin, and this week we've collectively had nine gigs cancelled. There are friends' weddings coming up in July and August and I'm seriously concerned they won't go ahead. Let's hope love does conquer all.
But above all this, we know why it is happening. It's all about the very few in our community who have the most to lose. The cancellations, the closures, the financial suffering, and the inconveniences are all to look out for the vulnerable members of our society. Therefore, we're all making the necessary changes now to keep the hope alive for the future.
In 1919 Jerome Kern and B.G. De Sylva penned the tune "Look for the silver lining". Although it was sung by many well-known artists including Bing Crosby and Judy Garland, it's the later Chet Baker version that really works for me. It's going on my weekly 'work from home' playlist as a source of subliminal inspiration. Positive sentiments with music not overstated.
"Look for the silver lining
Whenever a cloud appears in the blue
Remember, somewhere the sun is shining
And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you."
Written in 1919 it's a bit corny, but the message is simple: let's focus on the good and the positive and in turn, life will seem better. Right now, I'm focussed on the good things:
I'm going to see more of my wife and kids.
Our business is able to function and we've developed many new ways of working over the last two weeks (with more to come), that I'm sure will benefit us into the future.
We have an opportunity to develop new services, work with new businesses and explore new markets that we would not be focussing on in a BAU context.
Both at work and in my local community we're looking out for each other. I don't know who is buying all the loo roll and pasta but everyone I know shows an incredible sense of community. Thanks to our neighbours for the toilet rolls. Seriously!
I live in a time where technology can keep me connected to my loved ones, my friends, colleagues and clients.
As I sip on the last of this lovely pint of Guiness, I'm nervous and excited about the future. From tomorrow I'll be working from home, along with so many others around Australia and the world, and I'll be doing my best to focus on the positive. I hope we're able to banish this 'covid snake' from our lives as soon as possible. In the meantime, plug in your laptop, appreciate all that you have and will have, and let a little bit of Chet Baker into your life:
A heart full of joy and gladness
Will always banish sadness and strife
So always look for the silver lining
And try to find the sunny side of life