I didn’t think I would find myself perched at the laptop, still writing about the situation the world finds itself in. My last post was a mere week into our lockdown in Kuwait and here we still are, day 70 and counting. I guess I am here because this situation is a unique one, one that I will want to remember and forget all in one go, but also one I want to document. There have been so many questions asked, so many unanswered, so many emotions felt. I can’t be the only one that has been on the verge of breaking down one day, rolling around in fits of giggles the next. Schizophrenic mood swings, transforming me into a positivity guru on Monday and by Wednesday she’s replaced by Oscar winning drama queen! None of this is me, none of this is normal, but I ask you, in a global pandemic what is?
In my last post, I outlined the inital moves by Kuwait, as we entered into what was a 2 week lockdown. Even a week in, I was anxious, but I was managing a daily 5 minute to walk for a coffee and getting back inside, doing my bit for “stay home” movement. Those two weeks, were quickly extended to 4 and curfew one commenced. Still handling it to some degree, the coffee shop walks ended, as take away services were abandoned, so a daily walk or weekly run, inside the allowed hours, got me outside and somewhat free for limited time. Was I still anxious? yep. Was I coping? Yes, albeit a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
Time moved on, restrictions got tighter, curfews and lockdown extensions were added, until on May 10th we were on a full 22 hours curfew for 20 days. Tough measures, meant my already tested emotional fragility, was about to get another battering. None of these measures I disagree with, at times like these you have to trust the heads of the country, you have to put faith in the fact that they are aiding these decisions with science and advice, all with the goal to keeping us safe. The downside to all this is the impact its having on us all mentally and physically. Even the strongest people I know, the ones that literally take everything that has been thrown at them and never falter, have been challenged. None of this is easy, we should not pretend it is, but I will take away some life lessons that will undoubtedly change me for a very long time.
Firstly, how many of you have have realised that we have viewed the world, as so small, for so long. For the majority of us, we have had the advantage that travel has been readily available to us for years. My whole expat life has been built on the fact that you can get anywhere in the world and start a life. You can explore the countries on your doorstep, visit places that even 20 years ago you never thought were possible. It was all right there at our finger tips. Now, I realise how lucky we were. That 3000 mile distance between me and my family always felt small, it was 2 flights away, in less than a day I would be at their door. It’s gone for the foreseeable future and that 3000 miles now feels vast, distant and unreachable. I for one will never take my expat life for granted again. Instead of it seeing it as sacrificing vacation time and a compromise I have to make, I will now appreciate every opportunity I have to go home and see family. I think we can all admit those sometimes resentful feelings of the expense of flights, the time given, the social running around, all sound pretty good right now.
OMG they’ve closed the gym!? WTF am I meant to do now? I am going to get fat and flabby within 48 hours! I mean totally a first world problem, but a huge part of my Kuwait life and routine. This is where my whole control freak can’t cope, from day 1 of lockdown my routine has been disrupted. I like the weekly plan I have (or should I say had) I function with plans. Free styling is not my jam, which is not good when you’re in this scenario and quite literally have to fly by the seat of your pants, as things change on a daily basis. Big lesson there I can tell you, maybe I need to loosen up a bit! So here we are day 70 and Hubs and I have worked out 6 days a week, every week. YouTube has been our friend, Joe Wicks our coach and Adriene has been our yoga guru. We have jumped around our living room, I have pissed myself laughing at Hubs lack of coordination, we have sweated, sworn, cried and meditated. I appreciate that you can stay active, stay sane, lift your mood and for free. Do I miss the gym? Of course, but I also know I can cope without it and probably laugh a lot more working out.
Social distancing, staying at home, no hugs or air kisses is Hubs’ idea of a perfect world. If anyone was armed with all the traits for this pandemic he has them. He is happily relishing in the fact that this means he can have even less connectivity with people (other than those he actually likes) and has now been give a free pass to tell people to go away out of his space, without seeming rude! Me, not so much. I am a people person. I love my social life, my friends. They play a huge part in making my life here, one I love. I miss endless hours of chat over coffee, sunbathing debates by the pool, brunches with smiles and pancakes. All completely frivolous activities, but one that connects me. I miss people. Am I ready to go out in the world with them all? Yes and no. I can’t wait for the epic caffeinated conversations but getting back to how it used to be, I am not sure my head is quite there yet. Group WhatsApp messages maybe, but one to one dates maybe all I can psychologically handle in the “new” world?……..for now anyway
Appreciate. Evaluate. Consolidate. And no this isn’t the title for my new management book, its pretty much where my head has been in all of this.
I appreciate EVERYTHING more. My life, my family, my marriage, my friendships, my health. So many things previously taken for granted.
I have evaluated a lot. What do I want, what do I really need (I can tell you I have managed without a lot of things I once saw as vital) what needs to change. I would like to think many of us have taken stock, re-evaluated what is important to us, its certainly been an awakening for me.
I will be looking at things differently, how can we not? Less is more, simplicity can bring joy, what excesses can be dropped forever? Life will be a far greater experience. I just hope we don’t rush back to what was and pause for just a moment.
Stay safe everyone x