Over the last few weeks, I have taken advantage of the (almost) daily Happy Hour Zoom sessions hosted by BCA. While I went into it with few friends – I felt that blind birds of a feather should flock together, that I would strike up some friendships, and I would be able to express feelings and attitudes about this strange, new, weird world that we’re living in as well as provide emotional support to people with similar challenges.
A key concept expressed by people like myself who work and/or study at home was that in some regards life hasn’t changed monumentally – but small, subtle differences outside of home, made living a bit more challenging. Some of these challenges include not being able to take (small) kids out to parks, libraries, museums, shops or on play dates. It was good to express feelings of frustration with people who understood.
There have been a lot of fun workshop-type Happy Hours that I’ve enjoyed participating in as well, such as trivia nights, discussion on the AIRA app (which I think is great), health and fitness advice and study and/or work from home strategies.
I hope this is an initiative that outlasts the COVID-19 outbreak because it’s a great way for blind and vision impaired people across Australia to link up and talk about specific and interesting topics – although it’s only for an hour.
Thank you, Peter, for such a concise summary of what makes our Happy Hours great. I can definitely confirm that, though they may not be as frequent in future, they’re here to stay. They are an example of the incredible creativity, community and compassion difficult times can inspire, and yours is just one of many reflections on the comfort they’ve provided in the last couple of months.
You wrote about how you enjoyed talking to people who understood the challenges you were facing. I think that’s exactly why peer support is so important, not just in times of crisis, but whenever we’re working to overcome any problem. Like you, I worked from home before, during and after lockdown. In some ways nothing changed, and in some ways everything did. I know I am a more empathetic person than I was earlier this year. I believe we have, as you said, flocked together, to talk and listen, to learn and support one another. That’s the kind of change I can get behind.