Not in our wildest dreams (or nightmares) could we have imagined the COVID-19 world we are now living in. From the exhilarating optimism we felt at the start of the year as we headed into this new decade and marvelled at how 20-20 rolled off the tongue, to now feeling like 2020 will be written off as everyone’s annus horribilis, the past couple of months has been a crazy ride!
Despite the fact that I’m generally a pretty positive person, I jumped on the doomsday train with the Coronavirus before most and did some prepping, stocking up on antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, rubber gloves and, yes, loo paper! Most of my friends thought it was all a bit of a joke but as the second crate of wine arrived at my front door for my stockpile, I knew I was on the right track. I would say to clients who scoffed at my concerns about how this may affect their business. “I genuinely hope I’m wrong”, but I knew I wasn’t. I could feel this wave coming, like a tsunami that was about to crash on top of us and my anxiety levels were peaking.
Then, as they say in the classic, s**t got real. Like dominos falling on each other events were being cancelled, sport all but stopped and we were in lockdown with no clear understanding of when it might end. How was I going to survive this kind of isolation mentally and emotionally?
I realised that I needed to keep busy, I took on a number of ‘iso-projects’. I painted bedside tables from their outdated hardwood to a bright sunny yellow. The sock draw got a complete sort out resulting in eight orphans (where on earth could they’re mates have gone?) and I finally started scanning my old photos which turned up some absolutely classics from the 80’s and 90’s of me with big hair and big earrings!
I can’t tell you how relieved I was that we were still allowed to exercise outside! I determined to continue to get up at 6.00am and take the dogs for a walk then get ready for the day like normal – shower, put on the make-up, do the hair and dress for work. I figured I had to try and make it as ‘normal’ as possible. Despite my best efforts, I found myself feeling lost and at a loss, the days dragged and even though I was busy with work I just couldn’t seem to find the motivation or focus to get much done.
As Easter approached, I knew I had to do something to get myself out of this ‘iso-funk’ so I decided to do what I always do every Easter, I’d go camping in my caravan, the only difference, this year I camped in the front yard. It’s funny how just being in the caravan made me feel like I was on holidays and, while it definitely lifted my spirits, it also lifted the spirits of my friends and connections as they got a good laugh from my antics. ANZAC Day followed where I honoured the fallen from my driveway and strangely, found it an even more moving.
Like most people I know, I have gradually got into the groove of this new way of living and I have started to embrace ‘iso-life’. I put teddies at the front door for the local kids to spot on their bear hunts, I have signed up to my yoga studio to practice from home and I have totally embraced FaceTime and Zoom, the platforms that are keeping us all connected! I now meet on-line with my clients, my family and friends and the numerous boards and committees I sit on. My son in London now doesn’t feel so far away. Barney, my cat even gets in on the conversations which can sometimes be a little awkward, especially with clients!
Life isn’t the same, it’s still a bit scary and hard to imagine what the future might hold but, to be honest I’m actually finding it not too bad. I’m taking more time for myself and the special people in my life, I even take a lunch break to get some sun. Most importantly, I’ve realised what really matters, quite simply it’s our health because without this we simply can’t enjoy this life, iso or not.
Nb. First published in ‘Geelong & Surf Coast Living’ magazine May 2020
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