The weight of the world on their shoulders (40-49 year-olds)

We spoke to with 40 – 49 year olds in the fourth instalment of our focus groups about the impact of isolation on life as we know it.

This age group feels the weight of the world on their shoulders as they support their families, their work, and their communities through these difficult times.

40-49 year olds reflect on COVID, missing hugs, getting out, the office, movies etc

At home, there is pressure to support their young children and ageing parents while coping with added financial strain …

“I’m home with my husband. I’m talking to him about [COVID-19] and not my 67-year-old mother. She’s losing it. You have to have a conversation with her every day. She’s widowed. She’s shut herself in doesn’t go anywhere, ultra-concerned.”

I’ve started going out with my kids exploring. So just this morning we went to Morialta and we climbed the rocks, we’ve been planning things and going to the beach. I guess going out on a weekday, you get the sense of holiday that you don’t deserve. I’ve been sensing that a lot because earlier it was just the weekends that we had to ourselves. I really appreciate that although there’s a little bit of uncertainty regarding my job situation in the future as to when I will get back into employment. I think I really relish the time that I spend with my family right now.”

This group empathised with the difficulties faced by businesses more than the younger groups, potentially from their experiences and higher positions of professional responsibility …

They’re trying to pivot their businesses quickly to find other ways to sell things and do things and use technology and all that kind of stuff. But everyday things are happening so quickly and there’s so much disruption in their workforce and having to look after kids at home. It’s just layers and layers of ‘this is all so new’ and ‘how are we going to handle it?’’

“It feels like a really really long weekend with no real end in sight, I’m ok because I’m in a recession proof job but I see how it’s impacting on those around me, whether that’s through families I work with or in my own personal life. I think people are wanting things to go back to how they were.”

Like other age groups, they also felt a sense of duty to support their community by shopping locally …

I want to see that business there when this is all over, and the only way that’s going to happen is if you can keep buying a coffee. I think it’s important that the economy keeps going for the whole reason that it’s not going to be the same as it was in January when we come out of this in August. There’s going to be a lot of people who have lost their jobs.”

“It’s acknowledging that we can’t just stay at home and not spend. I know there are tough times, if you’re in a situation where you still have a salary and you’re able to use some of that to support some of these businesses that are doing it a lot tougher.”

Despite facing pressure from all sides, the 40 – 49 age group has an appreciation for the simplicity of life while in lockdown …

I think a shutdown or semi-imposed closure for a week of two would be good. I understand all the negatives and that sucks. Just listening to everyone, people spending more time at home with their families, fitness, mental health, exercise – just getting off the hamster wheel of work and being at home, in your own space, in your own company. I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s a healthy thing for people. I think everyone’s got tonnes of jobs on the backburner they’re getting done but I think it’s a good chance for the world to stop and replenish a little bit, slow down a little bit and I think that can only be a good thing. I think a lot of people are slowing down and smelling the roses.”

I don’t have any plans on the weekend. I can probably do whatever I want, sit around in my jammies or play candy crush or do my crafts. I don’t have to visit my niece or nephew or my sister because I can’t anyway.”

It’s the exercise and the home-type things that you can do. In the time pre-COVID, you didn’t really build that into your diary in the same way. It’s kind of a new routine that you’ve fallen into and it’s enjoyable really and not with the pressure of commuting into the office and long hours.”

Follow along with our other discussions as we speak with different age groups to make sense of our world today.

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