Drinking gin when expecting water

| August 16, 2020

It’s fair to say that late last year not too many people could have guessed 2020 would have turned out like it has.

The start of a fresh decade, and full of so much promise. I seriously hoped 2020 would be the decade where I might achieve a few more things than the previous one.

COVID-19 put a completely different spin on my thirtieth this year. I don’t think anyone expected a virus to bring the world to heel, by making isolation mandatory and grinding our socialising to a halt.

2020 has definitely caught everyone off-guard. It reminds me of that time when I was a teenager, and my mum took a drink out of my water bottle, only to discover it was gin.

Before mandatory isolation I didn’t think of myself as someone who relied a whole lot on socialising. See, isolation is not a foreign concept to me.

I’ve dealt with isolation more times than I can count because of my disability; being in a wheelchair can be very isolating at times. In fact I think all kinds of disability can be pretty isolating in their own way.

Growing up with a progressive neuromuscular condition, there have been many things that I couldn’t attend, simply because it wasn’t accessible enough.

From my experience, isolation is even worse when you’re the only one doing it.

If isolation is the worst thing our generation faces, we can’t complain.

I know when my grandpa was younger than I am now; he had already served in the Second World War. Which makes me feel lucky to be amongst the generations to have never experienced war.

It can be hard to see the positives when we’re trapped behind masks and social distancing, when we’re not stuck at home, but they are there if you look hard enough.

For example, our empathy as a society is growing a lot more, there is a deeper sense of understanding towards the importance of mental health.

Some of the more marginalised people in our society, myself included, are being listened to more. and issues that have been issues for a while now are being addressed through the media.

Finding innovative ways to communicate with loved ones has been my favourite part of lockdown. I’ve communicated with people I normally wouldn’t have as often if not for isolation.

Because of mandatory isolation I’ve realised what a huge part socialising now plays in my life. This little realisation shows me just how far society has come in ten short years.

Due to my condition I belong to one of the high-risk categories for COVID-19. I can only stay isolated during this pandemic and hope that others are compassionate enough to do the same.

One of my idols Helen Keller, the blind and deaf American author from the nineteenth century, once said ‘alone there is so little we can achieve, but together there is so much we can accomplish.’

I know that if we all pool our resources and follow the guidelines throughout this pandemic, it won’t last too long.

Hopefully as a society we come out of the chaos of 2020 stronger.