Music: The Soundtrack To Our Lives

Music is an incredible thing. It is much more than just sound and rhythm. It is something that speaks to us, makes us feel. It brings out all sorts of emotions. What emotions arise of course depend on the type of music we choose to listen to. Indeed, we may select songs that we can connect with at certain times in our lives. When we’re feeling sad, we might listen to a ballad of heartache or despair. When we’re happy, we might choose an upbeat pop song or the like. When we’re feeling energetic, we might go for a song with a strong beat, something that pumps us up. And then there are times when we might just play any song we feel like to accompany something that we are undertaking (I say this as I listen to a whole range of songs while I write this piece). Music is probably one of the most powerful things in existence, and we are truly lucky to have it. So, I thought it was past time I wrote a piece on it. Let’s explore the power and impact of music a little more.

Music brings people together. A shared love of music can truly unite people, no matter their differences. They could be from different backgrounds, different nations, or of different beliefs and values. But despite the opposition they may hold to each other in the day-to-day affairs of the world, music can bring them together, even if just for a fleeting moment. Some may also find other like-minded people with a similar taste in music, something that no doubt they will be able to bond over. Even if you don’t share the same musical taste, you could still find yourselves moving along to a good beat, a good rhythm. There are a whole range of examples where music has united people as one. Some memorable ones, some of which overlap with the next point on the healing power of music, include charity music events like Sound Relief (for those affected by the 2009 Victorian bushfires), America: A Tribute To Heroes (9/11 Memorial Concert), Live Aid (for those starving in Africa), and more recently One Love Manchester (for the victims of the terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena) and Sound Relief 2020 (for those affected by the 2020 Australian bushfires). All these events brought people together under the unifying banner of music to help those who had been affected by tragedy, disparity, and heartache. The unity seen in these cases was phenomenal. Despite their everyday differences, millions of people rallied together around good causes to help those in need. It just shows the power music has in our world.

That brings us to the healing power of music. Now this is really something. There are times in our lives when each of us face trials and tribulations. We may be struggling mentally; we may be physically hurt. We may be experiencing a loss, heartache, loneliness, anxiety, depression, illness, pain or suffering of any kind. We may be facing down something of disastrous proportions. We may be dealing with something that is overwhelming to us. We may even be connecting with the pain and suffering of someone else in our lives. During these times, things can get dark. It might feel as if storm clouds are constantly sitting right above you, keeping you on edge, unable to focus, unable to contend with the demons you face, unable to heal. Yet oftentimes music can cut through, even if only for a moment. Music can give us that desperately needed relief we crave. Particularly in times of crisis, it can be somewhat cathartic. Throughout 2020, I think many of us would have listened to a lot more music than we might usually do. Being subjected to lockdowns and isolation, music may have been our only friend at times. Indeed, it may have helped us get through these difficult times. Sometimes when we are at our lowest, music can pick us up, even just a little for a few moments.  I know for me personally, music has helped me to get through some of the hardest times in my life. It has given me an escape, something that I’ve needed just for a little while, when I’ve been at my lowest, and on occasions where I’ve found myself experiencing a little more anxiety than I would like (sure I’d love none at all, but it lets me know I’m human). I know that even in our darkest hours, when we face the worst, music allows us to just have on moment away from it all.

To demonstrate this, I would like to detail an experience my family had last year. Just before my Pop passed away just over a year ago now, on his last night on this Earth before he left us to go up to Heaven, his kids, obviously all adults now, were gathered in his hospital room keeping him company as he slept. Knowing he was unlikely to make it through the night, they decided to play his favourite song for him one last time. So they put on The Gambler by the late Kenny Rogers, sat with Pop, and listened. In that moment, despite the sadness they all felt knowing their father would only be with them for a little while longer, they found some sense of comfort in the music, in this song that Pop loved so much. Whenever I hear that song now, I think of Pop, I think of that night, his final night here on Earth, with his family surrounding him, I think of the memories we had, and I remember his voice, singing that song he always loved to hear.

And that brings me to my third and what I think will be my final point in this piece on music: memories and emotions. I have decided to combine these two because I think they are linked in nature. Memories evoke emotions. Both are linked directly with music. Sometimes a song will bring forth a memory, or even a range of memories, which in turn bring forth a wave of emotions. Depending on the song, we may find ourselves remembering a moment in which we experienced great joy and happiness, or maybe one where we felt excited. We might recall a memory where we felt sad, or one where we felt nervous. Our minds may then go deeper, remembering certain people, places, and events that occurred. We might also associate a song with a person we know. A song may remind us of a certain person in our life and may bring a smile to our face when we hear it and think of them. As I mentioned before, whenever I hear The Gambler, I think of my Pop. And whilst there is a little sadness still there knowing he is no longer with us here, I still find the hint of a smile showing up on my face, knowing he is looking down on me smiling and singing along. And so I sing along too, knowing he is with me in my heart. Sometimes when I hear different songs I think of moments from my childhood, from my time at high school, from times I have spent with family and friends, and even from times I have spent by myself. Just to give another example, whenever I listen to songs that I would listen to while studying, doing schoolwork in the mornings before school, walking up to the bus stop in my senior years, walking home, and songs I would listen to on the bus, I remember those times like they happened yesterday. Memory is an incredible thing, and music is a powerful trigger for it.

The power of music is truly something special. It brings people together. It motivates us. It provides comfort and healing to our lives. It evokes memories and emotions within us. We often find songs that have great meaning to us. Some of us may even write and create our own (which can be very therapeutic). To some degree, music is like a universal language of the world. No matter who we are, where we’re from, what we do, or where we are at in our lives, music persists and unites. It is always there with us on the journey we call life, and we are incredibly lucky to have it by our side.

Living Life To The Fullest

Life is a precious gift. In the grand scheme of things, each of our lives is but a short chapter in the story of the universe. So, it is only right that we live them to the fullest and make the most of all that comes our way, especially the good, and the opportunities. Sure, it’s not always going to be easy, sometimes it may take courage to take an opportunity and use it to better our lives, to draw out the good that is there even when it takes some effort to get to. So how do we do all we can to truly live our best lives?

First, we must always be willing to adapt and make the most of whatever is thrown our way. I think many of us would agree that last year in particular was a challenge and changed the course of each of our lives. But that doesn’t have to throw our lives off kilter. It all comes down to how we react, how we deal with these times, that shapes the greater course of our lives. These are the times when we must be open to exploring new paths, with our core intentions being to pursue happiness and to grow as a human being. We should also be gratuitous for all the things that really matter to us. Sometimes it’s worth just taking some time to reflect and focus on all that life has given us, being thankful for these amazing parts of our lives. There is something truly eye-opening about reflection. It puts everything into perspective. Often we can get caught up in the rush of the world, so just slowing down for a bit and reflecting on our lives and all that surrounds them can help us to recognize what really matters to us.

It is also important that we are open to new opportunities that may present themselves. Sometimes it can be daunting to try something new, to venture into the unknown, to take a risk. That is perfectly understandable; after all, we are all human, and fear of the unknown is something that affects most of us to some degree. But taking advantage of an opportunity and venturing into unknown can be life changing. It can open up worlds that we never imagined, or only ever dreamed of. We might meet new people we never would have met if we didn’t take a leap of faith. And we might just create a better life for ourselves with all the experience that we gain from going for it. We can never be certain what lies ahead on our journey that is this life, but if we are willing to embrace new opportunities, to embrace what the world throws at us, it can truly enrich our lives.

We cannot live our lives in fear. This only leads to a life of misery, and that is no way to live. This kind of follows on from the previous point. Life is full of risks, that’s just the way of the world. But we can deal with those risks, we can manage them. If we just submit to them and let them control us, we are only limiting our lives, limiting our potential. We will never get anywhere in life if we don’t take risks. There are times in our lives when we want to do something, but uncertainty and fear of negative outcomes can keep us from doing so. We might even find ourselves becoming self-conscious (trust me, I’ve been there), but pushing past that can be so rewarding. Yes, it can be nerve-wracking, but you never know what might come of it. It could just be the greatest thing you ever do. There is no point living in fear of the unknown when that unknown might just be one of the best parts of your life just waiting to enter.

Another important factor in living our lives to the fullest is spending time with those we care about, those in our lives who matter to us. Life can get busy, but it is important that we don’t forget our family, friends and loved ones. We should take the time to talk with them, to see them, to spend quality time with them. Too often people let the constant hustle and bustle of life get in the way of seeing those they care about, and those who care about them. As I said at the outset, life is short. So, we need to make sure we always come back to the things that really matter, and the people that really matter to us. There will be people in our lives who will always be there for us no matter what. Of course most of the time this consists of family, but sometimes it will be friends, and, on rare occasions, it might be someone truly special who comes along and brightens up your life. Make sure you spend time with these people and form incredible connections.

Now there are probably a whole bunch of other points I could make, but I’ll finish off with this one: Always do what makes you happy. This seems like a pretty obvious one, but it’s one we can easily forget with all the pressures in this world. Everyone has something that makes them happy, or something that they can pursue that will make them happy. It might be a dream you’ve had for a while that you want to chase, or it might be a hobby you have that you want to take further. Maybe it’s a job you want to get, maybe it’s a job you already have. No matter what it is, if it makes you happy, do it. Too often outside pressures can put us on a path that we really don’t want to be on, one that makes us unhappy. This can easily lead to a range of problems, becoming detrimental to our mental health, and by extension affecting our day-to-day lives (eg. Mood, motivation, etc.). Life is far too short to be doing something that is not fulfilling, something that doesn’t bring good into your life, that doesn’t bring you happiness. So, set your sights on what makes you happy and go for it.

As I mentioned, there are probably a multitude of other things I could discuss here, but I think the points above are the most important ones. Recently I finished reading Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules For Life, and it was probably one of, if not the best book I’ve ever read. I would highly recommend it to everyone. In fact, I’d say it’s a must read. I suppose the above points could be seen as my own rules for life, or at least rules for living a good, fulfilled, and happy life. Life is what we make it. It’s up to us to take ownership of our lives, to live the best lives we can no matter the circumstances or what might be thrown at us, to take time to reflect, to show gratitude for the people and things that really matter to us, to spend time with those we care about and the people that are always there for us, to take risks, to leap at new opportunities, and to always do what makes us happy. Make sure you live a life that you can look back on with no regrets and only gratitude for every moment.

Life is a truly special gift. Make the most of every moment.

2020: A Year To Remember

2020 has been a very challenging year for most of us. I think we can all agree it has really left its mark on us all to varying degrees. We have faced many trials and tribulations. The world has become a different place in the era of COVID-19. Over the course of the year, in particular over the last few weeks, I have heard a fair few people say that 2020 is a year to forget, that we should just write it off and hope 2021 is better. But I have to disagree with this sentiment. I think 2020 is probably one of the years we must remember most. Yes, it has been nothing short of a nightmare at times, but it taught us many valuable lessons that we should carry forward into the rest of our lives on this Earth. Each year I usually do a wrap up of the year, be it personal or otherwise. This year I will be combining the two and going over some of the lessons I have learnt that I think we can all take heed of in our own lives.

2020 started with fire. The fires that ravaged Australia left us all living alongside a haze of smoke that seemed as if it would never dissipate. For me personally, the fires led to my Pop coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks. During this time, we all spent some quality time together, watching shows, playing pool at my uncle’s place, and having many a memorable conversation. Not long after he returned home to the South Coast, Pop had a fall and ended up in hospital. Just a few weeks later, at the end of January, he tragically passed away. I was there in the last couple of days of his life. Seeing him as he was in his last days, it really impacted me. It had a major effect on me on those days, and the days that came after his passing. As I have mentioned before, I don’t think I realised just how much of an impact it had on me, particularly from a mental standpoint, until a few months later. But that is for the next lesson. This tragic event in my life, despite its harshness, taught me a truly valuable lesson that I will remember as I continue forth in my life: We should always value the time we have with our family, friends and loved ones. Life changes fast, and so we should always make the most of every moment we have with the people we care about. Because we really don’t know when we’ll be spending our last moment with them. Make good memories with them that you will always remember fondly. Those memories can be such an incredible source of comfort in times of sorrow. I sometimes find myself thinking about my Pop, wishing he was still with us to celebrate special occasions, to talk to. But I just remember the memories we made, and I am so ever grateful for them.

This year has been a real test for our mental wellbeing. COVID-19 has led to lockdowns and isolation. As human beings, we are social creatures, so isolation can have a significant impact on our mental health considering we do not have those physical, face to face connections that we so enjoy. Many of us have experienced life-changing circumstances throughout this year. Most of us have probably been on a mental rollercoaster ride, having to deal with far too many ups and downs for one year. So, the next lesson 2020 has taught us is this: We must always take care of ourselves. This year in particular has reflected the importance of looking after our mental health. For me, that meant getting help when I was in a pretty bad way mentally. About a week or two into May, my anxiety had built up again, and had led to a sense of depression because of how anxious I was. As I’ve explained in a previous article, I ended up consulting a GP and then starting sessions with a psychologist. While I began the process of recovery and figuring out ways of managing the anxiety in particular, I decided it would be best for me to take another three months off from university (that’s one study period for me). So, my three-month break that had started after the conclusion of a study period in February turned into a six-month sabbatical. This turned out to be a necessity. If I had kept studying while I was trying to get better, I don’t think I would have truly been able to. I needed to have my mind focused entirely on that recovery at the time. I knew this would mean my studies would take a bit longer to complete, but I needed to put my mental health first and get my head right before I could continue. It was a difficult decision, but it was the right one. To anyone who is struggling mentally, I would encourage you to take heed of this particular lesson that 2020 has taught us. Look after yourself. Do whatever you need to do to ensure that you can maintain good mental wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone, to get help. Because that can make all the difference.

2020 has also taught us that we cannot take things for granted, especially our freedom. If the age of COVID-19 has taught us anything it is this. Having endured lockdowns and restrictions on our lives that have changed them, inducing fear in the population, we must all awake to the reality that freedom is never a given. Our movement has been limited. Who we are permitted to see has been limited. What we are permitted to do has been limited. Many of us have allowed politicians to control almost every aspect of our lives. We took our freedoms for granted, and those in power took advantage of that. So, if we are to learn one thing from the harsh reality we have faced and continue to face, it is this: we must never take such a thing as freedom as a given. We must recognize that the freedoms that we should value so much are easily able to be stripped from us if we do not defend them from power-hungry, controlling individuals who will seize any opportunity they can to take more power than is given them. COVID-19 has given them the excuse they needed to take power under the guise of keeping us all safe. We have been told that life will never really go back to what it was before the virus. While it is easier to roll over and accept this, it is much more beneficial in the long-term to push back and ensure that we can live as free a life as possible.

Now to probably the most valuable lesson I have learnt this year: In the darkest times, an unexpected ray of light can enter your life, changing it for the better. 2020 has been especially dark for me, as I’m sure it has for many. Looking back, that darkness really started to consume me from May, putting me in a position where I needed to get help. But even after getting help, there was still darkness. There were still times when I wondered if things would ever really get a lot better. I still wasn’t really motivated. I still struggled to work up the resolve to get things done all the time. I would still put things off, telling myself they could wait until later. I still had periods of anxiety, albeit more manageable than they were before, but I suppose I felt as if I wasn’t really where I wanted to be just yet. In fact, that didn’t happen until later in the year.

In mid-September, that unexpected ray of light shone through the darkness surrounding me, guiding me out of it. My life changed. I became more motivated. I started writing again. I worked ahead in my university studies. I got back into an exercise regimen. I felt happier. All of these things have continued from that point forward to this day, and I am so incredibly grateful for that ray of light. As I’ve said before, sometimes the most incredible people come into your life when you least expect it, their impact profound. This is the very reason I cannot just write off 2020. Because even though 2020 has been one of the most taxing years, it has brought me some of the greatest things in my life. It is those amazing connections in life that turn up when you least expect it that make the biggest differences, the greatest of impacts.

2020 has been a wild ride, but it has been a necessary and meaningful one. Sure, there has been a lot of bad news this year, and sometimes it is difficult to see past that, to find the good in the world. But we cannot write off this year. We cannot just forget it. 2020 has brought with it important life lessons that are of great value to all of us moving forward. If anything, I feel like this year has helped me to grow significantly as a person, and to become a better version of myself. I am grateful for all that this year has taught me and brought me, and I’m looking forward to growing even more in 2021.

As I round this out, I would just like to thank everyone who has followed along on this blog over the past year. I appreciate all the support, and I hope you have all enjoyed what I’ve been publishing. This is my last one for this year. More to come in 2021.

A Happy New Year to all of you.

Christmas: A Light In The Darkness

Christmas is probably one of the best times of the year. Family coming together, celebrating, giving, laughing, sounds of joy filling the air. It is a time when many of us celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and remember the very first Nativity. This year more than ever, after all we have been through, we could really do with something to celebrate. But for some of us, this Christmas will be unlike any other that has come before it. We’ll get to that in a moment.

I love Christmas, because it brings a smile to so many people’s faces, no matter what they have been through. A lot of us have been through hell this year. There were the bushfires at the beginning of the year. COVID-19 came along and threw our world upside down and inside out, keeping us from seeing our family, friends and loved ones, putting us on edge. Many would have suffered from mental health conditions due to the constant lockdowns and isolation. It has affected us all in different ways, but I think we can all agree it’s been a really tough year. So, we can all use a bit of Christmas cheer to reignite our hope and bring some much-needed happiness to our souls.

For me personally, I’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year. It’s been a pretty bumpy ride. Although I went through a stage for months where I was in a pretty bad way mentally, in the second half of the year, more from around September onwards, I found my grounding and became more motivated than I had ever been before. My life turned around, and that was truly a Godsend. But I’ll speak more to all of that in my yearly wrap up next week. This one isn’t about me. It’s about you, all of you. Because 2020 has not discriminated. We have all faced many hardships this year, and we all deserve to be happy, if at the very least for a day.

Now this Christmas is going to be different for some of us. While some of us will get to celebrate the occasion with family and friends, having a feast and giving gifts, there are still a lot who will not be afforded this opportunity on Christmas Day. Those who have been affected by COVID-19 in some degree, be it directly, being in an area that has been designated a hotspot and being told to isolate, or having restrictions imposed on them by governments, will have a somewhat different Christmas this year, being unable to celebrate with their family and friends (for some it may be all, for others they may be able to still celebrate with those in their household). In particular in NSW right now, our Christmas is restricted in that we are only allowed no more than ten people to visit our homes on Christmas Day. This is just adding insult to injury after all we have been through this year. And so, I have a message to share that will hopefully bring some warmth and joy to everyone at this time when I know many of us will be feeling deflated.

I know we have all been through a lot this year. And I know many of us are still going through it. But Christmas is a time when we can stop, even for just one day, and consider all that we are grateful for. We can take time to reflect on what good things have come out of this year. As we think about these joyous things, a smile will no doubt begin to beam from our faces, in turn lifting our spirits so that happiness may bubble up inside us, bringing about a warmth within us that brings us great comfort.

Christmas is a time of hope. As I have spoken to before, hope is such an incredible thing. One of the three members of what I call the Trinity of the Heart (Faith, Hope and Love), all it needs is a spark to set ablaze, to come alive within our hearts. Hope nurtures the soul, bringing about a sense of peace in times of anguish. After all we have been through this year, I think we could all use a little hope in our lives. Even now, as all our Christmas plans are thrown into chaos and uncertainty, we need to hold on to those little sparks of hope, no matter how disheartened we might feel. There is a quote from Desmond Tutu: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” This year we have been surrounded by darkness, but, as I have learnt, just one ray of light, one that may even be unexpected, can guide us out. That reminds me of another quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” This year has taught me that much is true. Only in the dark times I went through this year did the stars in my life come out to greet me and change my life.

Christmas is typically a time when family and friends come together to celebrate and share in the spirit of the season. This year that might not be possible for many of us. But that should not discourage us from getting in touch with those special people in our lives on Christmas Day. To those who won’t be able to see their family, friends and loved ones on Christmas Day as they usually would, I say this: Spend time on the day contacting and talking to those people you care about. Be it a phone call, text/messaging through various apps, video calls or whatever else, we have the technological tools at our disposal to still spend time with those we care about on Christmas Day, even if we are not able to be in the same room as them.

To put it bluntly, I know it sucks that we can’t all be together for Christmas this year. I’m going to miss seeing my extended family, cousins and all. It’s devastating not being able to have a normal Christmas after all we have been through this year. Personally, I’m going to spend Christmas Day contacting those I care about, because even though we cannot all gather in the same place, I want to feel at least some sense of normality about Christmas. I might be lucky enough to see a few, but regardless, I’ll be making sure to reach out to them on Christmas Day. I’m sure I will not be alone in this sentiment.

To all those who are in isolation over Christmas, I can only imagine what you are going through. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, and I hope that you’ll still be able to find some hope and joy this Christmas, be it through contacting family and friends, or even through reading this message.

Christmas may look different this year, but we should not let that stop us from celebrating the occasion. We cannot let this virus take Christmas from us. The human spirit is an incredible thing. It can help us to persist, to keep going, even through the darkest of times. Combined with the Christmas spirit, its effects are amplified. We have all been through a lot of darkness this year, but I hope that at this special time of the year we can find the light.

God Bless you all and have a very Merry Christmas.

The Only Thing To Fear Is Fear Itself

Fear is powerful. It paralyzes, stopping people in their tracks, breaking them down so that they will submit to its will. Fear can lead to destruction, to ruin, to misery. But for those who crave power and control, it is one of the greatest things on this Earth. To them, it is a weapon waiting to be harnessed for their own gain.

Now I have touched on this before in previous pieces on COVID-19, government, and media, so you’re probably wondering: Why am I writing about it again? Because people are doing the same thing they did before with the latest outbreak in the Northern Beaches. Just like before, Governments are capitalizing on it to give themselves more power and control. Just like before, the media are sensationalizing it to create fear amongst the people. And just like before, people are capitulating to the fear. That is why we need to talk about fear again, this time more in depth than before, particularly in the context of COVID-19.

Obviously, at the beginning of the year, when COVID-19 was still new and unknown, it was reasonable to fear it. After all, human beings typically fear the unknown. That fear was rational. But now that we know more about this virus and how it works, along with the fact that it has a 99.8% recovery rate, fear of COVID-19 is generally irrational. But because governments and the media saw how effective fear was in controlling the general population in the first round of lockdowns towards the start of the year, they now know that weaponizing it is the most effective way of maintaining control over the public. Governments use it to ensure the people are subservient to their will. The media use it to create stories that they can use for their publications and television news programs to boost their ratings, and, by extension, profit. This has always been about money, control, and power.

Although the media would have you believe otherwise, the outbreak in Sydney’s Northern Beaches is not something to panic about. What the media will not tell you, because it does not suit their fear-inducing narrative, is that NSW has an excellent contact tracing system which has already traced all chains of transmission and figured out the original case (patient zero). If the media reported this, it may reduce the level of fear amongst the people, something that would not benefit the media at all. They are always looking for good stories, and COVID-19 has provided them with a never-ending pool of content. What the journalism industry has become is truly a disgrace. We are in desperate need of more good and honest journalists.

Since the outbreak in the Northern Beaches, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has made the decision to issue a five-day stay at home order, amongst other restrictions, for those who reside there, which has now come into effect. She has also imposed restrictions on the Greater Sydney area, including limiting the number of people you can have at your home, bringing back the four square metre rule, putting limits on how many can attend indoor gatherings, only 20 people dancing at wedding parties, and no singing/chanting except for places of worship. These restrictions will last until at least Wednesday, two days before Christmas. The four square metre rule will likely be in place beyond that point. These restrictions on Greater Sydney are arbitrary and unnecessary. This outbreak will likely be dealt with within the week.

It is at this point that NSW should be extremely grateful certain others are not running the State. If the Left were to have it their way, Daniel Andrews would be brought up to run point on the NSW response. We must recall that Andrews and his Government were responsible for Victoria’s “second wave”, which killed over 800 people, and left others without their businesses, jobs, and livelihoods, leading to a mental health crisis, and the annihilation of small business, Victoria’s economy, and, by extension, almost a quarter of Australia’s economy. Unwilling to bear any responsibility whatsoever, we still don’t know whose call it was to set up the ill-fated Hotel Quarantine as it was. So no, NSW do not need Daniel Andrews and his daily fearmongering press conferences.

Others on the Left, including former ABC journalist Quentin Dempster and the ABC’s “expert” on COVID-19 Dr Norman Swan, have called for the Premier to lockdown completely, mandate masks, and rush forward an “effective vaccine”. Constant lockdowns cause and exacerbate mental health conditions. When mask mandates have been brought in in places all over the world, cases have not decreased. In fact, most of the time they have increased. To put it bluntly, masks do not seem to work, considering the very fine particles that this virus travels in. And as to an “effective vaccine”; such a thing is not possible to create and mass produce in less than a year. It typically takes 8-10 years to create a safe and effective vaccine. We really do not know what adverse effects the current rushed vaccines may have on those who take them 5-10 years down the track. To read more on this, see my recent piece “Vaccine Skepticism Is Justified” (link here: https://jjsoutlook.com/2020/12/12/vaccine-skepticism-is-justified/). Again, these responses are just plain unnecessary and destructive. Unfortunately, we cannot expect anything less from those at the National Broadcaster. Their goal, like all other elites in this, is to instill fear in the population and benefit from it in the form of money and power.

Predictably, other State Premiers have reacted to the Northern Beaches outbreak in the typical fashion of overreacting. Tasmania have closed off to NSW (the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race has also been cancelled for the first time in its 76-year history, again for no good reason). The Northern Territory have told those returning from NSW they will need to quarantine for 14 days upon entering the Territory. Those from NSW wishing to travel north to Queensland are now required to obtain a permit unless of course you are from Greater Sydney, in which case you cannot enter Queensland at all. Victoria and South Australia have closed its borders to all of Greater Sydney, with the former adding the Central Coast (which only has one case). And, as always, Western Australia’s Premier Mark McGowan has reinstated the hard border closure to all of NSW. Premiers will probably tell you they have made these decisions based on the “health advice”. When asked to show you that health advice, they will refuse to do so, because quite frankly there probably is none to justify these arbitrary measures. Premiers are using the borders as their political playthings, abusing their power for their own political gain. These measures are purely political. They are only interested in power and control.

And so, we return to fear. Those who control fear, control the people. Over the course of the last year, we have seen that demonstrated the world over, including right here in Australia. People have become more and more subservient to government overreach, doing whatever Big Brother tells them to. Those who are awake to this reality can see through the agenda of the elites and those attempting to control the narrative. Yet there are many who have become just like sheep, following governments blindly, masks over their eyes, into the dark abyss that leads directly to hell on Earth. Mask mandates are only the beginning. Next, they will be mandating the vaccine, which will probably end up having significant adverse effects that we will not know about for a few years. Soon enough they will be leading us straight to the Gulags, and those who have followed them blindly will willingly walk in, probably thanking those who put them there for doing so. This is a slippery slope. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you.” The only way to prevent this is to resist the fear and all that goes with it.

Upon the occasion of his first inauguration, Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his speech that “there is nothing to fear but fear itself”. This is true at most times, but none more so than now as COVID-19 gives government and the media the excuse to take more power by instilling fear in the public. At the outset of this piece, I wrote that fear is powerful. That is exactly why it is weaponized. We must learn how to combat this destructive force so that we can live our lives unrestricted, happy, and free.

It is time to stop falling victim to fear. We cannot allow fear to control our lives, to take away what could be joyful memories waiting to be made, to imprison us. We cannot allow it to keep us removed from others, to tear our lives apart. We can no longer live in fear.

Because that is no way to live.