Walk a mile in their shoes – or stay a day in their self-isolation house

I think it was a joke. I’m not sure. Maybe there’s a picture that would make it clear if it was a joke, but I can only read the text.

Anyway – I’ve seen it a couple of times now – a post to people without kids asking them how life is in lockdown without kids. How wonderful it is. All the things you have time to do.

I get it – I have no idea what it’s like to entertain or home-school children who are scared or full of energy or sad because they can’t see their mates/go to their favourite places. The constant noise and interruptions or fighting with siblings.

I know I sometimes overthink things or take them too literally, but it got me thinking.

We don’t fit so easily into groups like that. Those with children and those without. Those who are medically vulnerable and those who aren’t. Those who are self-employed, employed, or unemployed. Those who are quite happy to take a break from people and those who hate the lack of contact with others.

All of these things together, and many more, go to make up our own individual set of circumstances. You may think someone has it easy, but you don’t know what else they’re dealing with.

I might be tempted to feel envious of my employed mates right now, but as a business owner, I got to make the decisions about what’s safe. I went into voluntary isolation at least a week before it was mandatory, and I’m not stuck working in conditions that I don’t think are safe, as some people that I know are.

Going back to the children thing – I chose not to have children, but I didn’t choose some of the other things.

I have a physical disability that means I shop online for food because this means I can do it independently. I do it every week – and I have done for the last 20 years or so. It worked fine for me up until now – now everyone wants to shop online and it’s hard to get a slot. I’m ok, but I know some blind people who are really struggling to get the basics because the one accessible way of getting food that they always use has suddenly become problematic. I’ve had offers of help from a couple of local people if we need anything, but not everyone has a network like that.

I have a medical condition that means it’s better if we self-isolate. My prescription wasn’t affected, but I also need items from the chemist and they weren’t there when we tried to get them during the last weeks. I’m ok now, but it took trips to four or five different chemists till I had what I needed.

I know someone who has died and a couple more who have been quite seriously ill, at least one of whom had the virus. So I’ve experienced all the emotions that go along with that – sadness, worry, fear for people I care about . On the other hand, I know plenty of people who still don’t know anyone who caught the virus.

My business is online, but I’ve had a number of cancellations for training since the lockdowns started across the world, which is inevitable, but still tough.

So no, I don’t have children, but life’s not one big party right now! There are good days and hard days – just like for everyone else. I’ve laughed about funny things, cried about sad things, and got frustrated by the people who still aren’t taking it seriously.

I see other people too in my group of friends and customers.

Some are scared because they have vulnerable relatives who live far away in other countries, whom they can’t help to get the basic essentials.

Some have family members working on the front line in the NHS, and they’re concerned about supplies to keep their loved ones safe.

Some have had to shut down their businesses temporarily and find new ways to generate income – or not.

Some are far more at risk or they are living with people who may not survive a severe case of the virus.

Some of those people who are more at risk need help from others to carry out personal care tasks. Those tasks are necessary, but each new person they let into their home could be bringing the virus with them. I haven’t experienced this, but I heard someone talking about it recently.

S and I living and working together 24/7 isn’t hard, but I know there are some people stuck in the house with those who are hurting them – physically, psychologically or emotionally. I have no idea how hard that is.

Others are completely alone, with no contact to anyone. I used to live alone and loved it, but it’s a different story if you get ill and have to do everything yourself.

I have to remind myself that generally I adapt well to this kind of more isolated life, (though in some ways I’ve had more contact to people than ever through all the wonderful opportunities we now have with technology). But I know I would be moaning if I were stuck in a room of 100 people for the foreseeable future and couldn’t get away to have some peace and quiet.

I need to have more patience with people who are complaining about being bored. I don’t relate to boredom – there are never enough hours in the day for all the things I want to do – but I suppose it’s a real struggle for those who do.

We all have our own struggles. As parents, as self-employed people, as at-risk people, as people who love to be outdoors. As extroverts who crave lots of face-to-face social contact – I don’t relate, but apparently it’s a thing! As basic human beings who are doing their best in what is a really difficult time. We need to be kind.

I think there’s a danger to look at other groups of people – those without kids – those with a guaranteed income – those who appear to be fit and healthy. But we don’t really know what’s going on for them, what’s making them sad, or keeping them up at night. We probably have different problems, but I think we’re all going through something right now.

Some will be open about it. Others will hide away and look fine on the outside – I’m really good at that when I’m not ok. I’m not asking for help in this post, but it’s often not the people who shout the loudest who need our help the most.

I think we need to be a bit careful because you never know what someone else is dealing with. You may think their life looks easy, but you don’t really know what struggles they have.

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Author: englishwithkirsty

I have two blogs. Unseen Beauty is my personal blog. English with Kirsty is my business blog for people who are interested in languages or learning English.

7 thoughts on “Walk a mile in their shoes – or stay a day in their self-isolation house”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your friends Kirsty.
    I’m one of those people who have people coming in and out of my house multiple times a day for care. It worries me constantly, but we are all doing our best to keep clean and safe.
    I hope you manage to get an online shop soon.
    Take care

    1. Thank you.
      I managed to get one in just over a week, so I feel better about that now.
      I don’t know how it feels to be working with multiple assistants, but I wanted to include it because I hadn’t really thought about it till I heard someone talking about it recently. I’m sure everyone is doing their best to stay safe.
      Take care

  2. Kirsty I am so sorry to hear about your friends. It really is indiscriminate and vile. You make some great points here, and i think never has there been more of a need for everyone to just be kind to each other. Kind to themselves too! Lovely post xx

    1. Thank you – yes, it brings out the best and worst in people, and we definitely need to take the time to be kind, especially if patience is already being stretched to the limit! Stay safe X

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your friends Kirsty, hope you’re well and I’m always around for a chat if you need a rant. It’s such a strange time in more ways than one, hope you and S are staying safe x

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