• Jason Downes

49/52: Perspective takes distance


Sometimes it takes a little distance to form a perspective.


It was Friday, Nov 27th and Victoria had just recorded 28 straight days of zero covid infections and zero deaths when I suddenly realised this might mean I could go to WA to see my best mate performing before his show closed. I jumped online and read that Mark McGowan, WA Premier, had not yet opened the border to Vic (despite previous commitments to do so should any state meet the 28-day target) but was considering his options. Surely it was only a matter of time. I bit the bullet and booked the family one way to Perth on 10th December! Philosophically, I figured that we'd be one of the first to enter WA and I'd get to see my mate. On the flip side, however, we'd need to quarantine for 14 days for a week-long holiday, meaning we wouldn't be going!


It's fair to say the next two weeks were a roller coaster. It took another few days but McGowan committed WA to opening the Vic border without a quarantine period. It felt like I'd played the right cards by booking the flights early. Airfares were now in short supply and prices began to rise immediately. The next day, however, NSW announced a single covid case and WA said they'd need a few days to reconsider. In the end though, there were no more cases and Premier McGowan stuck to his border opening plan. Phew!


As I write this, we've been here in Perth for 24 hours and it's been emotional. After 9 months of living through Melbourne's 'Covid experience' we were suddenly in a new environment. At the airport we sat on the runway for 20 minutes until WA authorities gave us the green light to disembark. Passing through the final covid checks (temperature checks from WA health workers, G2G pass presented to police and then two quick questions about where we'd been in the last 14 days) a lovely lady smiled at me and said "Welcome to WA. You can take your mask off if you like." I nearly cried as the pressure valve released ever so slightly.


Interestingly, in the 20 minutes on the plane waiting for clearance to enter the airport, my phone rang. It was a client from 10 years ago and they were keen to know if I was employed yet. A new business venture they'd like to discuss when I'm back in Vic. It feels like there are lots of positive vibes in WA!


So what can I reflect on with all of this?


I think we all deserve a break and an opportunity to get a bit of distance from our routine. A bit of distance to recognise what we've been through and for what comes next. This year we've all been dealt a hand we didn't expect, and I'm certainly no exception. Leaving a great job in a great industry has been one of the biggest risks of my career, but, I'm putting myself out there with and I'm looking forward to getting back to Melbourne soon to kick off the next chapter.


With some significant distance (real and metaphorical) between here and home, I feel like I can find the perspective I need to both deal with 2020 and plan for a great 2021. I hope you get the same opportunity.

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