OPINION

'Away' very close to the distance between us due to COVID

DISTANCE BETWEEN US: Just like a trip to Mars, the COVID-19 pandemic has left us a adrift from our loved ones. Picture: SHUTTERSTOCK
DISTANCE BETWEEN US: Just like a trip to Mars, the COVID-19 pandemic has left us a adrift from our loved ones. Picture: SHUTTERSTOCK

There's a line in the Netflix series, Away, which speaks to how you survive a long-distance interstellar trip, this one being to Mars.

It's less about the "right stuff" or "ego" and more about endurance. The same could be said of 2020.

This year key words which have emerged include being able to "pivot" and adapt.

There is another word which should be added to the list. Resilience.

That is what Away is about - family, friends, breathing deep and finding a way forward through absence, heartache, isolation and confronting disasters.

It is overcoming hurdles we never thought possible and finding wonder in small things - a blooming plant, a child's smile, memories of food from home.

Away is our year of COVID-19.

I'm sure when the producers started shooting the series in August 2019 and wrapped it up in February this year, just as the coronavirus pandemic was gathering steam, they couldn't have guessed at the parallels, which are almost prescient.

Loved ones separated and unable to be of comfort in times of trials, seemingly insurmountable obstacles and borders that cannot be crossed, people assessing their lives, loves, hopes and dreams and redefining them through a new lens.

The astronauts, locked up in their capsule hurtling through space, are us, locked in our homes trying our best to get the job done and keep off the nerves of those locked in with us. There is a strange comfort in seeing this play out on screen. That you're not alone (even if you are in reality).

The physical distances between characters leads to emotional openings via the internet, email and text that mirror the same processes that people find themselves exploring this year. As is the anguish of being unable to get to people when things go wrong. Our relationships tether us, whether that be friends or family, work colleagues or sporting buddies, never-more-so in a world that's gone awry.

This is a year when so many of the people I know have reevaluated their priorities. They have put their health and well-being first, spending less money on activities that simply fill the void of time in favour of more meaningful pursuits (one friend has revisited her sketchbook, the result being some delightfully delicate bird drawings).

I took comfort in watching Away that things would turn out OK (it's a US show, most rarely end too badly) and that in turn so shall we, overcoming obstacles and clinging to the life-raft that is our friends and family.

Like so many this year my family has experienced loss (the death of an aunt and uncle) and the joys of reunions (a niece surprised my parents early one morning with a knock on the door after more than six months of separation).

There are plans to catch up with those I have lost contact with through time and miles. I expect a few drinks to be shared, along with hugs. But life isn't likely to go back to the way it was. And many don't want it to. Away also got that right.