Unthinkable becomes achievable

Chairwoman of the Lake Hawea Community Association Cherilyn Walthew with Rex. 
Chairwoman of the Lake Hawea Community Association Cherilyn Walthew with Rex. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
The Otago Daily Times 
asks prominent southerners how they have been getting through a year dominated by Covid-19. Reporter Mark Price discovered Lake Hawea  Community Association chairwoman Cherilyn Walthew embraced the quiet.

When I reflect on 2020 ... I think this is not the year in which I have achieved everything I want but I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got! It’s been a year of revelations that has proved that the unthinkable, when it comes to our modern-day lifestyles, is actually achievable. In a lot of cases, people can work from home, we don’t need to travel as much as we do, greenhouse emissions could be tackled if we really want to and most importantly, money doesn’t matter if you’re dead.

I survived 2020 by ... living in the best place in the world. I mean, who am I kidding, I loved lockdown. Central Otago during lockdown is what most people call "a holiday". It was amazing to take in the sound of silence with only nature’s overture of wind, waves and wildlife. On the odd occasion I encountered a person, they were typically smiling and not a single one interrupted my bubble (I had a bubble well before it was popular) to ask me to take their photo — 2020 hasn’t really proved a hardship for me.

I discovered I liked ... having some time to myself. However, it’s easy for me to say that because for the first few weeks of lockdown, I offered my business services for free to any employee or employer that needed assistance with HR. Initially, my email and phone were running hotter than tar on a Central Otago road during a 40-degree heatwave. I was exhausted, so it was great when it eased off a bit! Since lockdown, I’ve enjoyed being able to drive between towns and pretend we were back in the ’80s because there’s no traffic. An ’80s soundtrack is compulsory for the full experience and I’ve really enjoyed being able to rediscover our town again because you can actually find somewhere to park! I’ve also been extremely fortunate to find out I actually like my family. Phew — otherwise that could have all gone horribly wrong!

I discovered I didn’t like ... housework. It turns out "not having the time" isn’t the real reason it doesn’t get done and I certainly didn’t enjoy having to find food "in the house" for every single meal.

I think 2021 will be ... fantastic if we learn from the experience that was 2020. It’s been exciting to see the wave of both new and revitalised local businesses that produce amazing products and services. In previous years, the platforms to advertise these businesses just haven’t been strong enough. I think 2021 will strengthen our sense of community through supporting local enterprise along with a mix of both traditional methods and technology. I look forward to our area becoming much more resilient and independent. I hope that 2021 encourages us to keep a more local view of our welfare, economy and lifestyles, whilst still providing an uplifting and positive experience for international visitors who will one day grace our shores again — hopefully, in more sustainable numbers.

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