I’ve always perceived myself to be a person of immensely contrasting characteristics. I’m chatty and sociable, but also thoroughly enjoy my own company. I’m active and often full of energy, but also a sucker for a lazy day. I have many interests and hobbies to keep me occupied – and am notorious for finding entertainment in the most unlikely places – but I can also get bored quicker than a toddler with a new toy.
Never have these qualities shone through quite as transparently as this week while I’ve been in solo isolation due to coronavirus laws. At time of writing, I’ve done four out of fourteen days, and have already witnessed what can only be described as a film on fast forward of all of the above.
But despite the easily identifiable ‘cons’ of this challenging situation, I have to admit it isn’t all doom and gloom. In fact, I’ve been working on picking out the ‘pros’ in order to regain some much-needed perspective.
Although I’m completely confident in my own skin, that skin unfortunately isn’t blessed with the even, blemish-free, sun kissed glow that would lead me to ditch the war paint permanently. Besides, I really enjoy doing my make-up most of the time. But going without it for a change has been an absolute blessing – I feel oddly liberated, and have so much extra time on my hands. (Note to self: When this is over, you are NOT spending an hour getting ready each morning).
From throwing myself head first into a tough workout, to snuggling up in bed with a cuppa and a good book, there’s actually a lot of pleasure to be had from doing exactly what you want and feel for once, rather than compromising or feeling the need to please someone else.
Not sharing facilities
As someone who has always lived alongside other people – whether at home with family, or in house shares at university and after it – I’m completely accustomed to cooking becoming an unwelcome game of Twister, and having to wait until you’re desperate to use the bathroom. Though I miss those I usually live with lots, I certainly don’t miss these caveats.
Keeping in touch
In our busy lives, we’re focusing so much on the next thing on our journey that we rarely make time to check in with others about how theirs is going. There are friends I’ve neglected for far too long who I now feel really connected with, and that feels amazing. It’s also given me a unique insight into true friendship – they do say hard times reveal who’s really on your side.
Sitting here writing this has given me a wonderful opportunity to look at what I have and feel grateful, rather than focusing on what I don’t and feeling down. I think that’s such an important coping mechanism for all of us when the world is as uncertain and anxiety-inducing as it is right now. If you haven’t already, try it – it helps.
It may sound crazy, but I don’t want things to return to ‘normal’. I don’t want to go back to a life of taking people, moments and things for granted – as I know I, and many others, did. I don’t want to spend perfectly good days whining about the most inconsequential blips, being self-conscious, or allocating precious time to people who waste it, or situations that don’t make me happy.
At a time when the world has essentially stopped, I’m glad I took the time to as well. It feels like I pressed reset, allowed myself to re-charge and now I’m ready to go. Who’s with me?