REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: The positives the pandemic has produced

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from ACM, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend.

From bike rides to kayaking and even some hobbies of days gone by, many people have uncovered - or rediscovered - new interests during these "COVID times".

From bike rides to kayaking and even some hobbies of days gone by, many people have uncovered - or rediscovered - new interests during these "COVID times".

Make no mistake, despite the easing of restrictions in most states, the pandemic is far from over. You just have to look at the alarming infection spikes in Victoria and Melbourne's return to lockdown to know that.

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way we live and work and some of it has been a blessing.

The other weekend, I was chatting to a bloke who runs a couple of surf shops on NSW's south coast. He told me all the losses sustained during the bushfire crisis when highways were closed and tourists nowhere to be seen have been all but made up during the pandemic.

The cancellation of sports has meant a huge renewal of interest in families spending time together in the surf and that's meant a run on wetsuits and other water-related paraphernalia. The challenge for this fellow now is not selling stock but staying stocked.

We've seen the same kind of rush on bicycles. The old treadly that's been left corroding all these years in garages across the land is being replaced at such a rate stores are having trouble restocking.

For many of us, working from home has opened our eyes to the host of DIY projects that need doing. Pop into Bunnings on the weekend and it's quite a challenge to maintain social distance because so many like-minded people are picking up bits and bobs for odd jobs around the house or garden.

Old hobbies are being revived too, making and baking. If, like me, you're dusting off old military kits and looking for more online, you'll find your hobby shops apologising as either the stock runs out or they can't keep up with orders.

There are positives in all this. We're rediscovering self-reliance and patience. The outside noise which used to soak up so much time and energy is being muted. The obsession with celebrities has gone the way of the Instagram influencer - vanished in a puff of sanitiser.

We're relearning that time is our most precious commodity. Time to be with loved ones, time to think, time to be absorbed in pastimes that bring the right mix of challenge, calm and satisfaction.

For me, there is no desire to rush headlong back to the way we were. I'm enjoying the social distance that oddly seems to have brought many of us closer. Now, more than ever, strangers are saying hello and smiling - but at a safe distance.

More stuff happening around Australia ...

Sign up to get our Voice of Real Australia updates straight to your inbox