Craig K. Whitehead
MANAGING THE 2020 BLUES: A designer's monochrome life in the Covid-19 lane
This has been an interesting and sensationalised time. What started out far, far away, we are told, in a little wet market or a lab or something in Wuhan China, has grabbed the world by it's throat and literally squeezed the life from us all in one way or another. Some people have lost their lives and regrettably this will change daily until a safe effective antidote for this virus is discovered or- dare I suggest 'created'.
While the wake of continued uncertainty is certain... we are all grappling with and coming to terms with life as we want to know it, only now in the Covid-19 fast lane. I have found for myself that the world has changed cosmically and with having barely survived a meltdown in 2016 after one staff member all but gutted my business- I kid you not, I thought things couldn't get any tougher. But here we are facing a global pandemic that has left us all gobsmacked and baffled at the hows and whys and who done-its. I can only speak for myself and I hope in doing so this allows people to relate with what they are going through and able to keep it together. I have worked hard at remaining positive in this lockdown and safe in the altered reality that the government had things under control. And for a while we all felt safe in that Utopian mindset. But with time and the so called 'draconian' imposed laws and by-laws came a sense of overwhelming fear. People began questioning ethics again and the country started feeling like it did not too long ago under another head of state. But politics aside- this global pandemic's spirit of fear was unforeseen, unexpected and undeniably uninvited. The poor, the ill and the weak were preyed upon most and we are yet to see the upswing -we are told- in South Africa around September.
No more parties, no events, no contact whatsoever left people confined to their homes with immediate families only and a bundle of fear about what tomorrow holds for us all. Our creative business, like many others, ground to a halt almost instantly and people set to social media to either vent their frustrations or uncertainties or to proudly show off their latest home bake in an attempt to feel normal.
I myself, after deep spring cleaning everything I own, have spent a great many hours thinking about my life, my business, my purpose and my relationships. Personal issues aside - I wont get into all that here... I have thought about life and lifestyles as we know it. This is after-all my main sphere of business interest. What started out as a break and a moment to think about things - quickly turned to panic and an irreverent fear that goes against every "faith like a mustard seed" principal I stand for. Threatened by a great loss of work as many projects froze almost instantly I set my mind to creating "Niche Covid Lifestyle Essentials" on facebook @NicheEssentials (Yes that was a punt for you to go look and shop- unashamedly too). Through it all I have tried to stay sane and encourage others on my sporadic social media posts and video logs.
I have never been one to roll over and play dead in the face of adversity, The only people and things I ever choose to ignore are ruthless, manipulative and controlling for the sake of unethical personal gain. I swung into action almost immediately- my sense of survival was back on a hilt. Now I could think of nothing worse than subjecting my creative spirit from its daily indulgence of pretty things to a now bland daily hustle of more meaningful necessities. But what choice do you have? At times it still feels like I am selling toilet paper for the lack of ingenuity now that every one from Tom to Ted has started selling home made masks and all or hustling the same survival kits.
Faced with this dilemma I have tried to be creative, professional and market related - even trying to find ways to attach this essential PPE business to my existing portfolio of services.
Thankfully with some ease on these silly laws we are able to resume orders and now I only hope and pray that the fear of panic sets into hope as we head for phase 3 of this lock down. I know a few GnT's would be welcome or a few nice bottles of red wine to keep us cosy through these chilly autumn nights and numb the reality a little that life is never likely to be the same again - at least in the next foreseeable while - and probably not for the many wineries in South Africa who will probably fold under this pressure.
But it isn't all doom and gloom - I find myself thanking God for every day, praying for the safety of my friends and loved ones here and across the globe. In this - drawing closer to my faith and my soulful intentions and maybe, if that is my new normal, then that is a whole lot more than I could expect. The truth for my own personal reality is - God has seen me through some bumpy rides and I have to believe he has me in the palm of his hand - on this one.
I hope as some sense of normality quietly returns and some who still have jobs to go to can make up for the losses until we all have our purpose back and we begin to thrive as the beautiful, incomparable and colourful people we are. South Africans are known the world over for their hard work approach and if we can set aside our differences for a while and draw on our strengths - we may just see this through as a nation undivided and come out stronger on the other side.
I hope you will find meaning in each new day, in a world still thriving without us. More thoughtfulness of others and a deeper more profound understanding of your spiritual nature.
I wish you strength in moments of weakness, power for the times you feel helpless and encouraged in the face of all that may come against you. Above all of this - I wish you faith. Whatever the storms, or the road ahead of us- Never quit. Inside of us all is a force to be reckoned with and we all need it- now more than ever.
May God bless and keep you all safe and secure.
Craig K. Whitehead - Founder and Owner of CKW Lifestyle.