I took these pictures only last Sunday, in a park near Hampstead Heath. I had gone for the allowed walk for exercise and was keeping my distance. It now seems it was such a long time ago. After 14 days in isolation in my room in London – where I was stuck doing literally everything, from working, sleeping, eating to working out, relaxing (or trying to), hobbying and so on.
When I saw these dogs so happily splashing around, exhilarating with such a plain game of fetching, I though that with their humans at home, actually going for more walks than they would typically, was the best for dogs. They are surely having the time of their life, as it seems the whole Nature. So that makes me happy. The positives of this whole situation.
But my situation, wasn’t great. Not the worst, but not great. I was struggling with anxiety and obsessing over news all the time. I couldn’t sleep. There was nothing to look forward to, and from day to night I had, as we all did, lost control of our lives, plans, and so on.
I had deliberated going back to Portugal, but was afraid of taking the virus with me and contaminate the family. However, with a my mental health deteriorating, I just decided to do it. I could see the situation only getting worse, I could see the government being too slow enforcing measures and I could also see that normality might be months away.
So, I booked a flight for next day, packed my backpack with comfortable clothing as well as my laptops for work, and I’m now back home, in Portugal for the foreseeable future. I felt I was fleeing the UK, and probably being selfish by taking the risk of bringing disease home. But I must say I felt a bit better knowing I had been already 14 days in lockdown in London and I was taking all precautions all the way to and from the airport.
I’m of course in quarantine, as the whole country. But now I have better living conditions – I have a garden, so I can walk outside without compromising anyone’s health. My personal space is once again separated from my work space. I also have more room to exercise, and I can indeed see and talk to people, not just through the web. Because of this, I don’t feel like I’m suffocating anymore. I can breath and feel a bit more motivated, even though the situation is bad. Real bad. 2020 is cancelled. We all know that, but I just wished I could take a sleeping pill and wake up only when this is over. But I can’t. None of us. So we need to think about the thousands of workers fighting for lives in the hospitals, we need to think about everyone else working in essential goods that continue to go to work everyday to make sure we have food at our table, toilet rolls in the bathroom.
We’re all in the same boat, but not in the same class of that cruise. While some of us have kept our jobs for the time being, others have lost theirs and won’t be able to get one so soon. While others have already lost loved ones, I’m lucky to not even know anyone infected. I keep holding on to these thoughts, thinking about how privileged I am – I felt pretty miserable stuck in a room, but my situation has significantly improved. I’m still busy 5 days a week with work, and I’m deepening my hobbies during my free time. My anxiety is under control. As well as my obsessing over things. At least, for now.
And of course I’m sad my travel plans were cancelled. I’m sad I won’t be able to attend any of the cultural events I was going to go to. I’m sad I can’t be with my friends. I miss the afternoon coffees, the evening drinks. I’m missing the busy London life sometimes I despised as I never thought I would.
But I’m still alive, and still will be once this is over. And when we get to the finish line, I want to look back and think about everything I’ve learned and how I’ve changed – for the better, hopefully.
Let’s be like these dogs – enjoying the little things, being their best version of themselves without expecting much in return 🙂