I celebrated my birthday in confinement, within my own home but luckily, with three of my favorite people. I have been based in Malaysia for the last five years and for the last forty three days we all have been imposed with what is known as Movement Control Order; a partial lockdown, if you like.
Birthdays at home, was not my thing at all. I love the kind of birthdays that would take me places – a new city, a favourite restaurant, that familiar bar that has become a place of fun and laughter every other week or so and of course, the many friends that will come and celebrate yet another new digit that surfaces every time a birthday rolls-in. This year, however, all that changed.
When the world ushered in 2020, never in a million years did any one of us think being home, in isolation will be our fate this turn of the decade. Like me, we made plans to connect with more people physically, to say yes to social and professional invitations, to travel, to explore more of the world’s gastronomy – in short, to make even more memories. All that has to be put in the backburner until the world, as we know it, returns to us.
As someone who thrives on being with people, there were moments of doubt when the news of the partial lockdown came around. When the thoughts of “how am I going to go through this” kept on ringing in my head, I knew I had to seek different outlets. The first week needed lots of pep talk within, to calm this mind down, however, when the second week rolls-over, there is this sense of an innate calm. Life in isolation takes a little bit of getting used to but not without some wisdom drawn-in.
Remember those times ago when we were living through the motion, without giving too much thought about the things we do, day-in and day-out? Those Sunday brunches, nights out with friends, the weekend getaways and the intercontinental travels, was our norm. These days, those things have become something we crave for. For once we are beginning to look forward to all these things happening again; those very things we sometimes take for granted. For me personally, the yearning started to feel good and I know when the world is ready to have us again, those moments will be held dearly.
While waiting for normalcy – to see the ones we care and love, the hugs and kisses of those we miss, we have started a new normal. We were so busy living our lives, that a simple ‘hello’ on the phone sometimes became a chore. This isolation has given us time to do the opposite; phone, video calls and messages happen in abundance. We chatted, we laughed and we cried like never before; for once, we connect, we truly connect.
While many around the globe are coping and living a normal life, albeit being locked-in, there are even many more others who are barely scraping or with nothing at all. The art of giving becomes even more apparent; we rallied and we contributed. If it takes being in an adversity to know that we care, this pandemic has definitely given a silver lining to many.
Human bond is replenished, human connection, reassessed. We have never been tighter as a community, a country or even as citizens of the world. For once, we move and fight together as a unit. More than ever, we know we need to stick together to have our lives back.
These little nuggets will be taken with me forever because isolation this extreme might not happen again in my lifetime. It changes the way I look at life; how I have lived it and in reality, what truly makes me tick. One thing I know for sure is that it has got nothing to do with anything external, rather, our lives, if we look closely enough, revolves within ourselves; the rest is pretty much a mirage.
The journey to true happiness and to happiness now is not a journey of physical distance or time; it is one of personal “self-recovery,” where we remember and reconnect consciously to an inner potential for joy – a paradise lost – waiting to be found.”
We’ve always been told to look into ourselves for happiness and in a strange twist of fate, the pandemic that has us locked in for months within our personal perimeters, is the biggest lesson we will ever learn.