“Maybe, one day, this would be the best thing that ever happened to me.”
― Kerry Fisher, The Woman I Was Before
It’s been 12 weeks in isolation and that’s a hell of a lot of time to think. The last thing I did outside of the house was climb Tryfan in Wales After that outing on March 22th, the only time I left the house for the next ten weeks was for my dads funeral, to pick up groceries and go for walks. Luckily, I have a house and a pretty good sized garden. And I thank my stars every day for that. But during the moments roaming around the house looking for something stupid for me to do and film, I spent a lot of time wondering how this pandemic might change the way of the world. The culture, the gestures, the environment, the human to human interactions we have every day. And in thinking about the future, I’ve also looked towards the past. The person I was, right before the world changed. Its been two weeks since the lockdown became a little looser and the walks a little longer but no where close to “normal”. Now instead of thinking in my house I can go outside to think.
To the woman I was before.
The last 12 weeks have gone by so slowly yet so quick, time seems to have stopped moving at the same pace as before. The world feels so different now like it will never go back to the way it was. I spent so much of my time “being busy” that I sacrificed relationships with everyone around me in the bid for the “perfect life” although I never knew what the perfect life was, I just assumed I had it because I was so busy. I used to hate visiting my dad because he would do nothing, there was very little conversation and a lot of television watching. Sitting there I would always be thinking that I could be out doing something else, what I wouldn’t give to go back and watch television with him. To the woman who woke up on January 1st with a 12 month diary filled with holidays, weekends away, dinners with friends and adventures to be had. To the woman who believed that 2020 was going to be the most wonderful year, the year that would see so many doors opened to me. None of that has gone, all the things I wanted for myself in 2020 are still possible they just look a little different and involve letting people in. So my two week holiday hiking around France might now be a two week camping trip in my garden, walking around my local area. To the woman I was before don’t lose hope, don’t feel disheartened. 2020 is still going to be your year, there will just be more lessons to learn this year that’s all.
But all we can do now is stay at home, stay safe and wait this out until it becomes manageable. It can be boring at times, it must be claustrophobic for some and it must be extremely difficult for others. So many have lost their jobs, others have been furloughed, others are waiting on the day they can go back to work to start earning again. Everyone has their own issues they’re working through and the uncertainty is hard to deal with.
For me, what I have learned now that I wish I could tell the girl I was a few months ago, is this. Don’t take this world for granted. I try to feel gratitude daily, for my health and families health and the home I’ve built around me, the career I’ve built and the opportunities I’ve gained. But I do find myself now questioning whether I felt it, enough? Did I really take in the wonderfulness of the world around me, up to this point? Maybe I did, but yet I have questioned this now on a number of occasions recently. We never usually digest a wonderful situation until later, when we are no longer there. You could be standing at the top of Mount Everest and not understand the magnitude of that very moment until you’re back at base camp. Our brains don’t seem to allow us to take an incredible moment in when we’re right there and then. Almost like our eyes couldn’t handle the overwhelming beauty. But now, looking back at all the adventures I have had, the places I have visited and the experiences I have been lucky enough to have. Sometimes I would feel frustration at the length of time it would take to get somewhere, or the fact I was so busy that in some cases I would wish I could do something else. How self-centred I was to not realise that the most important things in life are often staring us in the face.
I feel like my eyes have been opened. It’s easy to say this now, but I hope that when we can resume a somewhat normality, that life can slow down just a touch. That we’re given the time to take things in, to consume and digest wonderful moments, to appreciate the little things that we take for granted, and to dismiss any thoughts and worries that we will no longer remember in a matter of days. Just to feel a new sense of clarity and openness. This global pandemic has affected everyone’s lives to varying degrees and has surely changed the majority of us. I just hope that it can teach us more kindness, more appreciation, more gratitude and more love.