With my travels unexpectedly interrupted by the spread of the corona virus, on more than one occasion it has been mentioned by friends and family, “Oh but you must be bored,” or “You poor things not being able to travel.” When I hear this, I find myself having to justify why I don’t feel either boredom or self-pity. I thank them for their concerns with an underlying feeling of guilt because at this point in time, there are far more pressing worries in these ‘COVID-19 times’.
Initially we did have to adjust and accept the fact that we could not continue our travels to Spain, Croatia and then take the planned long road-trip through Italy to Crete. However, it has actually been relatively easy to recalibrate and I am certainly not in a position to be dwelling on my misfortunes of not being able to travel. There are clearly other people on whom to focus: the elderly, the vulnerable, the key workers and how the effect of isolation and inaccessibility to vital resources can be managed.
“Oh, you must be bored?”
Bored? No. It is not worth dwelling on what you can’t do. The best thing is to focus on making the most of the opportunities that are presented by unforeseen circumstances. In this case, I have settled into home-life just loving the fact that I have time to discover new hobbies as well indulging in long-term loves, which I never had time for before or which I was too exhausted to do when my job dominated my life. I can now spend hours at a sewing machine, learning Greek, running an increasing number of kilometres, cooking, yoga, catching up with the classics on audiobooks, chatting to my family and friends, crocheting, thinking about and writing a number of unfinished blogs, reading paperbacks and also e-books on a Kindle, painting doors and walls, growing vegetables and herbs, catching up on TV, listening to podcasts, as well as learning through thoughtfully-selected online OU courses.
“You poor things not being able to travel.”
When people expressed an element of feeling sorry for us for not being able to travel, a sense of awkwardness set in when I considered my current situation. I wasn’t a key worker, I wasn’t a front line NHS worker, and I didn’t have to worry about my job – whether I would lose it or put myself at risk by working. Having already given up work with the plan to travel, no one was expecting me to be anywhere to do anything at any time. So it was easy to adjust to the changes: I was just in a different country than I had intended to be in. I certainly didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. For the time being, travelling has to wait, which it will.
With time at home now available and in an attempt to contribute some sort of worthwhile support in this current lockdown, I signed up to be an NHS volunteer. Once accepted, with much anticipation I prepared to be immediately busy helping others, however no alerts came (or have come) through. Although initially frustrating, I can only assume that the lack of request calls has to be a good thing. So what else could I do to help?
With recent discussion on whether face masks are beneficial or not to help prevent the spread of the virus, I am now busily putting my sewing skills to good use and making these. This was prompted by a request from my brother, who lives in London (with its concentrated number of corona cases) where he asked me if I could make some face masks for him and his family. This has since sparked off further requests so now I am feeling vaguely useful. My contribution maybe small, but it is valuable to some.
None of us planned for these last few weeks and who knows what life will be like over the next few weeks or months. But, cliche to hand, don’t forget that every cloud has a silver lining – you just have to make sure you find it.