Having now spent more than 45 days in Quarantine in 2021 (April in Quebec City, May in Toronto Ontario, and now June in Winnipeg Manitoba) we have come to realize a number of things and thought to share our experiences. Not those endless moments of reading and re-reading the few books we were stuck with, or those days filled with Netflix, or evenings filled with planning and re-planning our future treks. Instead we sought to share those lessons we learned.
Lesson 1 : You can NEVER have too many
of BBC / PBS Mysteries. I know now that
I could survive watching Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Poirot, Midsomer
Murders or Miss Scarlet and the Duke series. Additionally I could very happily live watching Laurence Fox
as the ‘dishy’ DS Hathaway in Inspector Lewis, Shaun Evans as the young DC
Morse in Endeavour, or James Norton in the Grantchester Mysteries. Nature is amazing, but a good British mystery
is almost as good. If I am stuck in
quarantine again I intend to make sure that my house/lodgings/hotel/prison cell
has either PBS or BBC - which also bring the advantage of periodically getting to hear the inspire voice of Sir David Attenborough who could narrate anything and I would follow along with rapt attention!
Lesson 2 : Get a hotel with a balcony or at the very least get a room with a window that opens. Recycled air after 24 hours is bad, after 14 days you feel simply horrid, after 45 days visions of nature and freedom set in.
Lesson 3 : Make sure to have treats you enjoy when you go in because living on Skip the Dishes, Subway delivery, and hotel service is unpleasant after the first 2 days. I began to crave fresh vegetables about 36 hours into quarantine and I have come to see that my definition of fresh versus the delivery version of fresh are very very different. More than ever I have come to know that takeout food plays havoc with your mind and body. I have never felt mentally or physically worse in my life than after more than a month on takeout food.
Lesson 4 : I have come to increasingly appreciate those who took the time to reach out, send a message of support, emails of encouragement, and simply notes of kindness during the 45 days we spent in isolation. In short – while snarky posts, critical commentary, and witty ‘takedowns’ seem to be the thing online. The truth is that in the real world, people help one another all the time and kindness still very much matters. And so, what we do with our time matters. Happiness comes in ensuring that we are each making a positive contribution to the world. Time and and life are so fleeting so we need to make the most of the time we have.
Lesson 5 : Despite everything that we have faced in the past 14-16 months we are still here. What this means is that despite the challenges we face, the truth is that we can all adapt to any situation. Times might be tough, we might feel overwhelmed and it might be vogue to complain and rant but the truth is that we have met the pandemic of the modern age head on and – as a society – gotten through it. That in itself is a pretty great feeling, because if we can deal with this then we can deal with pretty much anything else and the skies are the limit.
Lesson 6 : In the words of Dana Scully from the X-Files, “the internet is bad for you”. I now believe this more than ever! The 24/7 news cycle, social media, TV and (at times) constant connection that email gives us makes one feel worse not better. It is hard to admit being a lifetime scientist, but having more news and more ‘opinions’ isn’t always the best of things in the world. In fact after hearing people rant, rave, and hypothesize about every change to the weather for over a month I am pretty sure we are now drowning in opinions – most of which are pretty darn bad. Worse, is that after watching TV for an hour and hearing the same commercials every 5 minutes I begin to worry about things that I never worried about before. I feel like TV, news, and commercials are programming me and the results are scary, I realized early on in my first quarantine I didn’t want to have the fears that corporations and others wanted me to have. More than ever I am positive that the key to happiness is lived experiences and time in nature.
Bonus Lesson 7 : The world is actually amazing, people are kinder than you think, and there is tons to explore and be grateful for. We each need to work on being less critical, remember the common ground that we share, listen to each other more, and embark upon positive work in our communities. Go experience life, don't watch it!