• Julie

Corona thoughts: new activities, missing hugs

How is everyone finding the experience of being isolated and quarantined during this pandemic? I must say, since the beginning of "lockdown" I like so many have experienced a plethora of emotions, from glee to utter despair; loneliness to contentment. And no two days are ever the same. Most of all, I miss my friends. I miss their hugs and their laughter and the simplicity of the unwritten conversation, in which words flowed freer than they ever will by text. Of course we have zoom, skype and so many facetime apps to keep us connected. Yet the fundamental need for human touch and presence cannot be replaced. Our mirror neurons need exercise. We are social animals by nature. To be isolated is to go against our very human nature. (And can I just ponder for a moment on what this all means for the future of dating over the next year or so? Surely I'm not the only one to be ever so slightly concerned that this will hinder prospects?!)

I have been filling my days with exercise, piano playing, reading, cooking and I even started painting. Now, I'm no Van Gough. But I do enjoy the challenge of mixing the glossy paints to the correct shade that will allow me to capture the shadows and bouncing light. Painting people appeals to me the most. So far, the world has been graced with my rendition of Gabriel Macht - the witty and handsome Harvey from Suits. This week I started painting Michelle Obama. I read her book when it came out in 2018, which I kindly received as a Christmas present from my mom. Wow. So humble yet inspiring, soul-searching and simple in its depiction of one woman's journey throughout life; finding her own compass. Sometimes when people are thrust into the spotlight and headlines, as was the case with Michelle, we tend to put them on a pedestal. We begin to believe that they possess special qualities which allow them to lead such a life. And in our eyes, they can do very little wrong. I adored Michelle's book because she stripped herself right back to the core of her being, and introduced the world to Michelle without the presidency in her peripheral vision, before Barack and her children. She taught me the value of hard work and finding my own voice. So what do I do in return: paint a very average portrait. I will insert a photo when she is complete. For now, you will have to be satisfied with the fact that I am enjoying painting people who make an impact on me. Perhaps you should give it a go yourself! Even picking up a pencil and rubber and see what happens. As I once heard: "There's no such thing as bad art".

I'd be lying if I said I was taking it in my stride. Granted, for a large portion of the lockdown period here in Ireland, my time was filled doing college assignments (6 beautiful 3000 word essays) which I'm honestly grateful for. But the thing is, in the usual college day, my work would be naturally interrupted with quiet library chatter, joyous spontaneous coffee breaks with friends or walks up to the psychology floor of the library to retrieve books. At home however, there are none of these things, only breaks I made for myself. I am quite good at knowing my own concentration span and listening to my brain when it starts screaming for a break. Unfortunately, none of those breaks featured my dear friends. Or overpriced takeaway coffee. There would be days of hyper-productivity followed by days where I'd be lucky if I got 2 hours work done. Noticing these patterns, I began the process of forgiving myself for not being consistent 100% of the time in any given week. So long as words were appearing on the page, that was ok.

Social media is SATURATED with people advocating for "using this time wisely" and "trying something new". Don't get me wrong, I like to think I'm an outgoing-ish person and always into spending my time bettering myself. However, it is also ok to have bad days. Multiple bad, unproductive, sloppy days. We are only human. And that means when you miss you're friends and you cant see them because of a lovely virus, you're allowed to make pancakes everyday for breakfast (my brother).

There's something strangely comforting though in knowing that literally everyone in the world is in the same proverbial boat. Not a party boat. But not a sinking one either. And so even though we may not be able to go on holidays this year, we aren't missing out on anything because the hilarious truth is no one else is going either.

What have you been doing to stay occupied? I'd love to know!

Sending you a big warm hug and all my love

Julie x

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