Three weeks into isolation, I haven’t been outside the house except for a daily morning walk around the park.
My husband is still working in an area deemed essential services so he’s the one battling public transport (shouldn’t say ‘battling’ because at peak hour, he tells me there could be up to 4 people on the train).
I haven’t been outside during the day so I have no idea what is open, what is closed and in some small part of me, nor do I want to go outside our front gates.
Yesterday I was chatting with a friend @white_owly online and we talked about how there seems to be that some people are still going outside and trying to be as normal as possible.
For example, my mind boggled when I read and saw the news about people queuing up outside Bunnings (our equivalent of the Home Depot store). For some reason, I thought the government had closed shopping centres and big stores like these down.
When I hear “lock down”, I think complete closure of business but there seems to be still movement in many areas. For a moment I wondered if I could zip down to the shops to buy some yarn and knitting needles but I have to stop thinking this way.
I jokingly said to Fiona that I believe I could be one of those people we used to hear about after World War II. They’d be found on islands or remote places and still believe after many years later that World War II was still happening like the Japanese soldier, Hiroo Onoda.
In my head, I feel that the way I’ve been isolating myself (and not listening, watching or reading hours upon hours of COVID19 related news) means that life for me hasn’t changed THAT much. If I’m entirely honest with myself, the only thing I miss are being able to hug and kiss my parents and my family. I’m missing giving my little nephew a bear hug or having his slobber on me.
Everything else, is pretty much the same as how it’s always been.
In no way, do I want to come across as smug. People are doing it tough and I realise that I’m one of the lucky ones here.
I’ve been working from home for the last few years (and I LOVE it). I’m employed and working part-time allows me time to use the rest of my time to focus on creative pursuits and learning new skills. These two additional days are so beneficial for my mental health and well being that I cannot see ever working full-time again.
During the day, I’m alone in the house while my husband works full-time. I have a home in the suburbs with a back yard, a cat that keeps me company during the day and a space that is filled with light, music, art, crafts, books, plants and colour. My home is my retreat. I am an introvert (believe it or not) and love nothing more to stay at home in my cocoon and do my own thing. I can amuse myself for many hours and find I’m most creative when alone. Other times I like doing the housework like cooking and cleaning, washing and ironing which I’m more than happy to do. (The images of people having online House Parties or booming dance disco music across balconies of cities filled me with dread and horror).
Socially, I had already been connecting with family and friends online before Corona (being online and virtual is not new for me as I’ve been doing this for years) so I don’t see them now as much as I did previously mainly because now, they’re probably dealing with a whole heap of things with their own families.
However, reflecting on the differences, I began to realise that in all this time, I have pretty much been living a life of isolation already either physically – or in my head.
Most of my friends my age are married and have older kids who have moved out of home – and they’re all living interstate which means I hardly see them in person. Also part of a couple with no kids, my husband and I missed out on socialising with others because couples with kids usually socialise with other couples with kids, so as a result, we’ve focussed on friendship with each other instead and enjoying life knowing we have or will leave no legacy. I used to see people dropping by into each other’s homes and taking stuff out of each other’s fridges and turn to my husband and say, “we don’t have friends like this. We don’t have people drop by our house at all times of the day.”
When our door bell rings, we’re usually startled and then run around the house trying to be quiet or look out the window trying to see who on earth could be knocking on our door!
Sometimes this used to bother me but I just had to let it go. We made our choices for how to live. It is what it is.
Also all of our friends are in the process of separation or getting a divorce. I think it’s typical of people our age heading into their 50s and looking at the next phase of their life. It also adds another layer of complexity to the relationship but I don’t find this surprising anymore. I don’t blame anyone. This age is one in which many people (myself included) start to question a whole heap of things about their life, the people in them, their friendships, what they’ve missed doing in their lives, what they’ve given up for others. It’s a time to take back and reclaim their own life especially when deep down they weren’t happy. I think this period of time being in isolation is going to have many people reflect on a lot of things – good and bad.
For me, my realisation is that not much has changed. My biggest fear is getting old – I despise it – but I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is to keep my mind active, stay curious and playful and be like a kid so I can feel as young as possible even though what the mirror shows me every day is not it.
I think I have been on some kind of journey already in the last few years and I’ve come to a place where it’s about living the best life which is what I’m living now, today. All I can do is to keep as happy, healthy, and enjoy my time while I’m here today and not worry about things I cannot control.
However, I do look forward to giving my parents a huge kiss on the cheek and a hug. Can’t wait.
Photo by visuals on Unsplash