Friday Reflection: ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’

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YourLifeChoices set me a challenge. “I’m sick of depressing news. I want you to write me a good news column,” the editor asked.

So I poured myself a glass of wine and set about looking for good news stories in the daily paper.

Then I listened to the nightly news on television, and before I went to bed the late-night radio news.

I pretty quickly realised that with people dying, people out of work, people unable to socialise, people unsure of their future, people unable to play sport, people unable to watch sport, people unable to travel, people unable to attend funerals of loved ones, and so on and so forth, finding positives was going to be a challenge.

The next morning I turned over the page on my desk calendar. It’s one of those calendars that carries a memorable quote down the bottom, and for this particular day it had this offering from the 1600s: “We never know the worth of water until the well is dry.”

Or as Joni Mitchell put it 300 years later, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’.

I thought about this and I thought about the things I’d taken for granted, like having a beer with mates at the pub, or going to a restaurant any time I wanted, or hugging my kids, or seeing my grandkids, or going to a local game of footy, or going camping anywhere I wanted.

Yes, the initial feeling is one of sadness because these things have been taken away from us. But when, or if, we move out of these virus days and some normality returns, just think how special those things we took for granted will feel.

The other day I threw caution to the wind and gave one of my sons a big hug. He’d done something worthwhile and I felt overcome with an urge to hug him, so I did.

I liked it. It felt special. I don’t remember hugging him once last year, although I’m sure I did, but I have a feeling I’ll remember last week’s hug for a long time.

As I’ll remember the next time I go to a restaurant.

My wife and I used to eat out regularly and it became something we didn’t think about too much or even look forward to with any great anticipation. Eating out was just something we did.

We haven’t eaten out once this year. When we do, be it this year or next, it will be noteworthy and something we’ll enjoy and remember.

My sister recently asked me what was one thing I’d learnt from ‘corona days’. I told her I’d come to realise that the four hours I spent playing golf on Thursdays and Saturdays were not as important to me as the hour spent drinking in the bar with the boys before I hit off and the time we spent after the round sharing a bottle of wine.  

Call me a drunk – and yes, I’ve got no doubt I medically qualify – but it’s important to learn, even at 66, what things are important to you.

“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” But they aren’t ‘gone’. They’ve just ‘gone missing’, and when they return, I’ll sit back and say to myself, “This is better than I ever remembered it.”

And that will be a good thing.

What are you missing? Were you taking much for granted pre-COVID? Will everyday things take on new meaning when we have our freedom again?

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Written by Perko


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