One thing I've learnt since being in this pandemic and having countless numbers of lockdowns (plus and a multitude of different reactions to it all) is that people have learnt really well to just carry on and deal with it all.
As Mr Dan Andrews held his 150,000th press conference of this pandemic, my family and I arrived in beautiful and sunny Ocean Grove to help our beloved family move to a new house. We sat in the car outside of their new house listening to Dan tell us that our seventh lockdown started at 1pm that day, on August 21, 2021.
We had a full day planned ahead of us: gardening, re-adjusting, some heavy-lifting and moving everything around into its new place, but that was all scrapped by the next twist from Mr Andrews and his health team.
So, at 11am we rushed and got our plans into action.
By 12pm our family made its booking at our favourite café- thankfully had space for us! When we arrived, I had expected mild panic to set in and a rush in town that would drive us all mad! But thankfully, the music was playing, and the smiles never ceased from customers and staff's faces.
Our server was very kind with us, and he joked around like it was any old Saturday. The lady who greeted us at the door was very kind, too, when we showed her our ID's... just to confirm that we weren't from the forbidden Melbourne!
We sat and enjoyed our meals for as long as we could, chatted and caught up about stories and life events, minor or major. When the adult chat became too much I went and played outside with my cousin in the garden.
With the sun gleaming down on us, we walked back to our cars, dreading our reality back home.
Our backs hot from the welcomed sun and our smiles slowly fading away. But the sun was helping us on our way, making it easier for us to say our goodbyes and do the right thing- the mantra of 2021.
The goodbye we shared on the pavement outside of the Bendigo Bank was different to any other we have had to do. As my grandma said to me, it is sad because we know that it will be the last time we can see each other for a long, long time. For just how long that time will be, we don't know either.
My aunty wasn't too fazed, her mind set was focused on cleaning up houses.
My mum needed to be the rock and was a calming influence on everyone.
My little cousin and grandma were just going along with the flow, and I was just hoping to be able to be in this beautiful town someday again soon. I can hang on until then.
As I sit here now, in the car driving on the long ride back to home sweet home, there is a lot of reminiscing going on. Of summer get togethers that we miss, holidays we wish we were on.
My family might feel a little shaken, but we keep carrying on, because what else could we do? As my grandmother's favourite saying goes "such is life" from the notorious Ned Kelly. I think it really captures exactly how we all feel and how we must just carry on and fight this thing all together because it's our life now and there is not much we can do about it.
- Akaisha O'Keefe is a Damascus College student who is writing for The Courier's youth platform SHOUT.