Nostalgia – sentimentality about the past – is a trap for those of us who now have a longer past than an expected future.
There was a lot wrong with the New Zealand I grew up in. Being gay was a crime, kids were strapped and caned at school , mental illness carried stigma and a bout of depression could mean being locked up in “the looney bin”.
But there was a lot right with it – and Saturday was one of them.
It was the day that shops were closed, when the nation stopped to take a breather from the rat race and everyone either did things around the home , or with family, or play sport. It was the day that music and drama groups practiced an performed ,when communities got together to fix things or work on a joint project.
I know that the lockdown was financially tough for a lot of people , but for many it was an enforced time of reflection on what’s important in life and as I write a few conversations I’ve had with people in the past week come floating back to me that suggest some of us might have changed a few things in the way we live our lives. (I won’t mention names – I don’t have their permission)
“Sewing machine sales are up. Seems lot of young ones are getting into making their own clothes”
“I’ve started a little garden at the back of our flat”.
“ I see a lot more people out walking these days.. and they say “Good-morning!”
“Instead of building more roads we should look into the cost of making public transport free.”
“I see a lot of ‘Buy Local” signs up around the place”
Perhaps it’s just the people I encounter in my bubble but I do get a sense that we might have seen a bit of a shift towards becoming ,once again, a more self- sustaining more community minded New Zealand .
I hope so.
Monday would be better for all of us if it contained some elements of Saturday.
Bryan Bruce is one of NZs most respected documentary makers and public intellectuals who has tirelessly exposed NZs neoliberal economic settings as the main cause for social issues.