Working at Automattic comes with many perks, but none quite so amazing as a three month paid sabbatical to disconnect from work and do whatever you want to do, without having to worry about paying the bills.
Want to finally write that novel you never have time for? Ever thought of hiking the Appalachian Trail or riding all 9289km of the Trans-Siberian Railway in one go? What about that blacksmithing apprenticeship you’ve always wanted to try? Or perhaps you’ve been thinking of going back to school, finish that degree you had to leave incomplete, because life? The possibilities are endless.
Since my last post, only a week and a half ago, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa has increased more than ten-fold (currently 709 according to the official government website). So on Monday evening our president once again addressed the nation to announce the next step: lockdown. As of midnight tonight, for the next three weeks, all South Africans except those providing essential services will be confined to their homes. We can leave to go to the doctor or to buy essential foodstuffs and medicine only.
It’s scary. Neither the missus nor I have been sleeping well, and since yesterday I’ve been walking around with a spasm in my neck muscles so severe that I can’t turn my head or raise my right hand above shoulder height. (And I thought my stress levels hit the ceiling when I found out on Saturday that the beach had been closed…).
But I also know it’s the right thing to do, and I’m glad the powers that be are doing this sooner rather than later.
I think if one looks back through history, every generation likely encounters an event that changes the way the world works for them, that makes them re-think their assumptions and ways of doing things. For my grandparents’ generation it was World War II and the Great Depression. For my parents’ it was probably 9/11. And for mine it will likely be COVID-19.