Daily musings: Writing in isolation during a pandemic
Let me start by saying that this is my first blog post of 2020 and of the new decade. The sun is shining, I'm 25 and thrivin' but...I'm limited to the confines of my house and have been for the past 3 weeks. Not exactly what anyone expected when, on New Year's Eve 2019, we were chugging back the good stuff and laughing about all the amazing things to come. In reality though, perhaps we were a little naive (or just drunk on champagne and the promise of a fresh set of days.) Since the beginning of time, tragedies and earth-shattering realities have given us humans a good kick up the backside whenever things got too comfortable. And, in fact, horrible things are happening right across the globe everyday - it's just that we, in the West, don't really think about it all that much. We give up a little bit of our time to watch the news, to read eye-catching articles about world events and perhaps we even actively set about doing something to help those less fortunate than us, whether that's raising money for charity or sharing blog posts about what's happening somewhere else. There are other things that do, in fact, affect everyone but the effects are felt more in some places than others. This global pandemic, however, has disrupted the lives of pretty much every person everywhere. Maybe those who live on tiny islands in the south Pacific have heard in passing about a new virus but whether they like it or not, Covid-19 has disrupted the cogs in the wheel, has broken down the well-oiled machine of society and the aftermath is going to be huge. This may be a little depressing and sometimes I wonder whether it's worth dwelling on things that I have no control over. I'm always torn between being 'woke' and carrying on as a slave to the system simply because it's easier and less headache. The reality is this: there are always going to be things that happen that are out of our control, and our job, in my opinion, is to deal with the results and effects of these untouchable events as best we can. How do you guys feel at the moment? For me, it changes every week. I've been quite upbeat most days and have been channelling my energy into a myriad of things: cooking, editing my novel, learning to play the piano, tutoring some kids online. I've basically fabricated a new routine (although I say the word 'routine' pretty loosely.) The other day I realised that suddenly the chilled out, free-flowing Rhiannon has emerged from this isolation. Normally I can be quite a control freak when it comes to my own stuff and my own actions, but I seem to have been able to let go of that and just accept. What I mean by this is that I don't have a fixed schedule each day. In the morning I wake up, do some stretches, make a cup of tea, read for a bit and then make breakfast. But apart from this, the rest of the day is a blank canvas and I'm painting it differently everyday. I just accept how I'm feeling and that in turn affects what I end up doing. As I said I'm normally quite upbeat and therefore I end up being quite productive. But I've had of couple days during which I've felt down or anxious, and because of that I end up spending more time speaking to friends and family or just getting lost in a show on Netflix. This is totally okay. I think there is a pressure now to 'use your time wisely', to do all of the things you weren't able to do before, when your life was busy and booked-up. Damn, it really makes me think about how no matter what, there's always a pressure coming from somewhere, and that's mad. I think in another blog post or perhaps an Instagram post I talked about how when you're on holiday you end up wanting to do and see as much as possible because obviously you're there for a limited time; you have to make the most of it. But what happens if you get ill? If the holiday doesn't turn out as great as you think it will? What if you don't even like the place you're staying in or feel a bit out of your comfort zone? Do you admit these things? Or do you carry on as normal, attempting to dissect every last bit of enjoyment you can? It's quite interesting, really, because I think people have different opinions on this. But to me, it comes back to going with how you feel at that particular time. It's accepting and then acting... *notes this down as potential title for future self-help book* Maybe I'm being a little optimistic. I know for a fact that there are countless people who go about their lives not even taking into consideration how things might be affecting them subconsciously. They don't have time to be worrying about that sort of stuff - they have kids to feed, money to make, things to achieve. I totally get this. I don't think tuning into your mind and body should be detrimental to you carrying on with the things you need to get done. If anything, it should be a positive rather than a negative thing - you asking yourself whether something has made you happy, helped you to learn something, helped you to just chill out for a while, helped you help someone else. It's just something worth thinking about. In life we're adapting all the time. We adapt to new seasons, new jobs, new relationships, new houses and neighbourhoods, new ages...we're always changing, every day, in some way. I think we forget this sometimes. It's not until we look back and realise how far we've come! So, in a way, this isolated life is just a new thing we've had to adapt to. And there are always good things to be found in dark times - if you're buried in the darkness, it means you've been planted. Here is a list of all the things I've made about my time in quarantine and some musings:
1. Money. Not earning nearly as much as I was before. Spending so much less. My nature of work has changed entirely. Doesn't actually feel like work because I enjoy it and it's not very time-consuming. My ISA is suffering in the background because of the economy. Don't really need half the things I thought I did. 2. Do something I've been wanting to do for a while. Learning the piano - loving it. Also want to learn a language. Haven't started this yet. 3. Stay healthy. Definitely eating the same as I was before. Cannot go to the gym. Enjoy walking even more than I already did. Some days I force myself to get sweaty. Other days I don't feel the desire. My energy tends to come in bursts. Realised I enjoy dancing around the house as a means of cardio. Actual HIIT workouts are pretty horrible. Some days I feel super lethargic. Sometimes I walk around my house three times to get steps in. 4. My family. Haven't wanted to kill them yet. Feels nice to be in the same boat as others. We encourage each other and talk about things. 5. Wash my make-up brushes. Still cannot be arsed. Do not care that this is lazy. 6. I appreciate freedom. Being able to go anywhere at any time is a mad luxury. I miss being on a crowded bus going to work. We are outdoor beings. We also cannot survive without other people nearby. 7. The government. I don't know if I trust them. But at the same time, I've got no choice but to trust them.
Another thing I've been thinking about is the fact that we are very forward-thinking. We focus on what's to come. We always have things to look forward to. But now we've been completely stripped of that luxury. I don't know about you guys but I have very minimal things to look forward to, and even those things aren't set in stone because no-one knows what will happen with the virus. We've been forced to rethink the way we go about our daily lives. We can't really look forward to something or plan for something or practise for something. Well, we can, but there's only one category now which is simply, 'The Future'. Maybe it's kind of liberating? I don't know. I think we've been forced to focus on the present a lot more. It's all well and good looking ahead to post-Corona times, but maybe we should just concentrate on each day. Likewise, focusing on the past could also be a bit detrimental. Either detrimental or whimsical. Maybe it can remind us, actually, that everything passes. Everything is temporary. Bittersweet. The nature of life.