Matt Jones

What matters

It’s important to try and take some positives from the situation we’re in. At the moment, I’m feeling lucky that I have a family - my partner and two young children - and a home with a garden and a quiet street. I have a job where I can successfully work from home and my family who are supporting each other in the isolation.

I’m aware of the majority of people who aren’t in this position: people who are alone and isolated, with no access to the technology that is allowing other to stay connected. Also, the people suffering from the virus, and those losing loved-ones to it - it must be devastating to lose a family member without being able to be near to them. And finally, the NHS staff, carers, teachers and everyone working in public service at the moment keeping everything going.

I feel like I’m doing my bit by staying at home, but I’m also I’m feeling unease at the contradictory thoughts of ‘I’m doing the right thing by staying at home with my family’ and ‘I could be doing more to get out there and help people’.

It seems the situation we are all in is revealing things abour our society. It’s revealing that work done in public service is vitally important and we should recognise and reward it further. It’s revealing things about the way we work, the way teach our children, the way we travel, the way we live, and how - to a great extent - these things are still institutionalised and monopolised. Our system of schooling and employment comes from the industrial revolution. Our online lives are shaped by small number companies: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple. The crisis is revealing what really matters; family, community, kindness, shared experience.

I’ve interacted with my neighbours (at a distance) more in the last three weeks than I have probably in the last three years. Tonight we were on the doorstep, thanking the NHS, carers, and keyworkers for their tireless work confronting the impact of the virus. And we said hello to those nearby to us, and waved at those further down the street.

We must carry on this sense of community and make it the new normal.