Andrew Jakubowicz, Jeremy Eccles and Inge Rheinberger (Image: Supplied/Private Media)

In our Missing Voices series, Crikey is asking for older readers’ experiences of the pandemic.

Inge Rheinberger writes: What is it with all those premiers suddenly turning into dictators and locking us up as if we are little children? I am in my 70s, healthy and fit but the government suddenly finds anyone over 65 to be elderly and frail!

I am planning to go back to Perth but thanks to our premier, whose face shines in delight when she says, “I am not opening the borders”, I am stuck in Queensland, “beautiful one day, 1950 the next”!

To make mask wearing compulsory is a sensible and necessary thing to do, and to keep distancing, but no, she may lose a few votes as some people think they lose their freedom.

We don’t need border closures, all that will do, is ruin the economy and people’s lives, and won’t stop the virus.

Yes, a mask and distancing needs to be compulsory, and then let us live our life. We are all in this together means one Australia and not separate states.

Andrew Jakubowicz (71) writes: Is this where 4 billion years of development leaves us, a virus on the body of the planet that Gaia is trying to stamp out by inventing a virus that chews through us and spits out the bits in savage mockery?

I was bounced out of my previous position in a university (with my agreement) three years ago.

I was ready to travel, paint, write, and generally stay as strong as my trainer could keep me.

But in 2020, as the world closed down, we looked inwards.

But all the time I was getting more and more angry with the self serving of the politicians and the abandonment of the seniors to dramatically under-resourced nursing homes, and the ever-louder whisper that we were the reason the rest of society couldn’t go out there and get ripped.

My 91-year-old mother in law, who had been through the Japanese invasion of China and the advent of communism there, said she’d never seen anything as weird: “Scarier, more insistently human-created, but never so weird.”

As a baby boomer I had not before felt that I was part of something my genus had created but could seem to do nothing to stop.

I have become adept at Zoom, bought an electric bike, spend a few minutes every few days in my electric car in the garage watching Netflix, and followed my super investment portfolio as it heads south.

It’s the dissolution of a sense of the future that perhaps is the most confronting, knowing one still could live out one’s dreams (or what is left of them) but also feeling it won’t happen.

For sure though, I won’t go on a cruise. But far too much Facebook, and too many groups of other seniors complaining at each other or demonstrating unknown skills and previously hidden passions. I might even take up Tik Tok, if they win their case against Trump. Trump. Now that’s Gaia at her creative malevolent best. 

Jeremy Eccles writes: At 75, I am “growing older” NOT elderly!

The crisis has changed little in my working and social life. As a
freelance journalist, I continue to work from home, exercise slightly
more regularly, eat and drink well, read, listen to the beleaguered ABC
and watch TV more, but miss my usual outings to concerts, theatres,
cinemas, etc. Galleries are back on though.

Travel is missing and missed, so an outing to plant trees for Birdlife
Australia in the Capitee Canyon was much appreciated by me and a
turn-out of volunteers exceeding expectations. Many participants were
also growing older! But spending this whole winter in Sydney has made me
realise how long and cold it can be. So new solar panels are on order —
despite clear signs of continuing financial uncertainty as the pandemic
drags on.

Crikey is calling for readers in their 70s and beyond to share their first-hand experiences of the pandemic. To contribute, write to us at [email protected] with “Missing Voices” in the subject line.

Peter Fray

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