Opinion

Living alone in lock-down

By Jessica Ball

When COVID-19 was only something found in faraway foreign lands, on germ-infested cruise ships and in international news bulletins, I signed a new lease.

Freshly single and craving space of my own to wade through the aftermath, I found a tiny two-bedroom apartment to call home while I pieced myself back together.

I was afraid I'd be lonely, but promised myself I'd take the initiative to plan coffee catch-ups, invite friends over for dinner and take up Pilates to get out of the house.

I was determined I wouldn't spend my weekends bingeing on Netflix and pinot noir in self-pity.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit our shores.

Bedroom two became my office, the lounge became my yoga studio and the kitchen morphed into a scene straight out of the poor woman's version of MasterChef.

I started iso-life motivated. I made a list of things I wanted to achieve.

Read more, take up painting again, exercise daily, teach myself yoga, save money, reconnect with friends, learn how to curl my hair and master winged eyeliner.

Motivation was short-lived. I crashed.

I soon found myself struggling to sleep and in turn struggling to get out of bed.

I was incredibly lonely yet disengaged from the constant beeping of my phone.

There were a lot of tears and basically nothing got ticked off my isolation bucket list.

All I wanted to do was work to distract myself.

I was even writing articles at 3 am in the morning to at least feel productive when I couldn't sleep.

But eventually I started to get used to my new normal.

Lock-down forced me to really stop for the first time in a long time.

My FOMO (fear of missing out) was gone. As was the morning-after-drinking dread.

And the pressure-cooker deadlines too.

I was the calmest I'd been in years.

For the first time in my life I felt at ease spending my weekends and evenings home alone. I wasn't jam-packing them with activities that left me in a cycle of exhaustion.

Then restrictions started to ease.

My FOMO resurfaced. What if no-one wanted to have brunch with me? What if I didn't make the cut when friends could only go out for dinner in groups of six at a table in a restaurant or even 20 at a house party?

In the end it turns out lock-down hasn't really changed me, but it has made me more aware of my flaws.

As restrictions change again, remember to check in on your friends and family who live alone.