When I corrected an (incorrect) belief my more than 70 year-old Dad had about easing restrictions and what we could do, my irritation was obvious to him. Why was he not taking responsibility for himself and his own knowledge and reading the q and a on the DHHS website?

‘Now wait on,’ he cautioned me, adding. ‘I’ll read tomorrow’s (local) newspaper. I’m not looking at a website.’ 

That to him is foreign. So how else is he going to get his information? 3AW news grabs. 

With a back ground in emergency management and an extreme anxiety and interest in not getting fined (or the coronavirus), I’m a voracious newshound and reader including of Q and A. 

My Dad is not. And my more technology literate mother isn’t either. 

Everyone makes their own decisions, based on the information they have, having checked the information with their peers, friends and community networks for sense making, logic and what they’ve heard. 

Misinformation has been rife. Understanding is low and wishful thinking is rampant. Wilful misunderstanding is a reality. 

But have we – the Government, Authorities, community networks, local government – done the best we could? No.

Have we done the best we could at the time with the information we had at the time? Maybe.

Is it acceptable this far in? No. That’s a failing. 

Trying to parrot the rules to others, let alone following them, continues to be a challenge. 

Shared responsibility and accountability may be the aim.

But blame shifting should not be.

I had to tamp down my impatience with my Dad, take a deep breath and come at it from a different understanding and approach aiming for the same outcome. 

So should we all. 

I didn’t mean to be living back with my parents 24 years after moving out. I guess no one really plans that.

When I packed enough clothes for a one week stay in June, I didn’t contemplate that I would be re-packing five months later.

But I’ve seen the seasons change outside the glass doubledoors of the makeshift office/playroom my mum gave over to me, though the nieces never really conceded. 

I’ve tried and failed to dodge the inevitable Warrnambool rainstorms, gotten sunburned at 9am and 5pm, watched the baby bunnies appear and listened to the Magpie family which demands to be fed every day outside the kitchen door.

I’ve spent every day with my parents and have become a piece of the furniture for my nieces; a given presence in their playroom tapping away or on a Zoom call.    

I was able to make choices that ultimately made me lucky. 

With my only alternative a one bedroom apartment in Melbourne under Stage 4, the choice was pretty easy. 

That I can’t be sorry about Lockdown 2.0 doesn’t mean I’m not sorry about the circumstances which meant we needed Lockdown 2.0, and the incredible and ongoing impact on so many. 

But the anger I felt during Lockdown 1.0 was kept at bay as I left the house to walk the beach and for takeaway coffee, returning to a large home on a little land and people I was allowed to see and talk to. 

Life in Melbourne was already different, and different worse. So life in regional Victoria, living with my parents as an adult was simply a saviour. 

It kept me steady; sane. My parents kept me steady; sane

As the Melbourne community in which I worked faced some of the worst aspects of the pandemic, and with a majority of staff working from home and the organisation having to rally and adjust quickly, I plugged in from 250kms away. 

When we couldn’t see anyone else, the faces of my team members anchored me every day. 

Apart from the awkwardness of “how was your weekend” conversations amid the “easier” restrictions in regional Victoria compared to Melbourne, I stayed well enough in myself to try and support them, to lead them through one of the trickiest professional situations they’d faced at the same time as a drastically changed life. 

The ability to run remotely was hammered home as an opportunity – or perhaps now a requirement – in providing some flexibility and a life that makes more sense to me. 

On the weekend the ring of steel was lifted and, as the only impediment to my return, I’m now contemplating “real” home. Five months though……when 30 days is enough to make a habit…..

2020 hasn’t been what anyone expected; and each person’s experience will have been different during lockdowned life; the impact and consequences different.

I’m able to take a positive. I would never have been afforded, or afforded myself, the opportunity to spend such a long time with my parents and it has been a joy. I have been fortunate. 

I’ve counted all the blessings, and checked them twice because change is coming again.

Never has that damn cliche been more true when we say “the only constant is change”.

Teamwork makes the dream work. Such a cliche. But I’ll take it any day.

Next week I finish up with Brimbank City Council after almost 18 months as the Communications Manager of a bloody awesome team.

It’s a team that together we’ve reshaped and expanded, nurtured and grown. I’m so crazily proud to have lead them and so privileged to support them in their talents and their most excellent way of operating.

When I joined, I thought I knew what local government was because I’d been around it lots. I didn’t, not really.

Ahhh the things I’ve learned. The skills I’ve expanded. Care, but I don’t care.

It’s been amazing to lead an organisation‘s communication efforts during COVID19.

It’s been amazing to introduce and nurture an internal communications function.

It’s been amazing to be so close to community and to experience community leadership at a political level.

What I’ve loved most is the team members who have been busy with me every day, who have trusted my leadership, guided me when I didn’t know the way and jumped in when I asked them to.

Who wore funny hats, shared their stories, and dressed up at Halloween with full makeup 😊

What a privilege.

That’s what I’ll take with me when I walk out the virtual door. Gratitude and friendship.