• Sonder Youth

Life in Isolation - Pt. 2

My name is Hayley Millsom, I am 21 years old and I live in the Illawarra, NSW

Tell us about your experience of the COVID-19 crisis.

My experience with the COVID-19 crisis has changed over time and continues to change and evolve every day.

At the height of the crisis, I was at a height of anxiety and fear. I've been self-isolating in my home for so many weeks now that I have gone through all the emotions possible during this period of uncertainty. I have been angry, sad, relaxed, motivated, productive, unsure.

I have been there, done it all, bought the commemorative fridge magnet. I've had my highs and my lows but mostly I have just tried to remind myself that this is an unprecedented international crisis. I have never lived through anything like this before, and if I just continue to act with caution, common-sense, and kindness to myself and others, then this is only going to be a situation that builds character for me.

What is something that has given you hope for our future during this crisis?

The kindness I have seen, heard and read about between strangers, friends, and family has been overwhelming and to this day is what continues to give me hope during the crisis.

I think, at the end of the day, we're all just people trying to do our best in a situation that has no map or set of instructions for how it should be handled.

So by just treating others with the respect, kindness, and compassion they always deserve - but particularly so now - is giving me hope that we're going to come out the other side of this united and kinder to ourselves and our neighbour.

What is the most optimistic future you can imagine for our society when this is over? 

The most optimistic future I can imagine for society is one where we re-evaluate our priorities and where we focus our energies. I think COVID-19, for all its tragedy and destruction, has provided us with the opportunity to reassess what is important to us.

I imagine a future where we focus less on consumerism and come to the realisation that resources ARE finite and if we don't consume with caution, were going to see the depletion of those resources far sooner than we could have ever accounted for or expected.

I imagine a future where we appreciate all the small things that we lost during COVID-19, and we don't take life smallest pleasures for granted.

What part/s of "normal" life do you NOT want to go back to?

I want to leave the 'hustle' mindset in self-isolation and don't want to bring it back with me when we make a return to normal life.

COVID-19 has brought the world to a stop, and for some people (including myself), it's highlighted how important it is to be able to stop, take stock and be content in yourself, doing nothing.

The grind doesn't have to be 24/7, you can be efficient and hard-working and still take the time out to be present, still, and check-in with yourself. Looking busy all the time doesn't necessarily equate to being successful, and some days simply aren't your days to be motivated and productive.

So when we return to normal life, I am going to be kinder to myself if I don't tick everything off my 'to-do' list in a day. I am going to look for those moments where I can take a moment to be present and thankful for my own company.

How has COVID-19 shifted your perspective, values and/or beliefs?

COVID-19 has shifted my perspective about a lot of things, mainly how much we become swept up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and getting from Point A to B, that we miss a lot of the things that are happening around us.

In not being able to do those things anymore during self-isolation, I have realised how important they actually are to me and that I should be taking the time to appreciate them.

My perspective changed for appreciating people in general. I don't think many people have ever taken the time or seen the vital role people like supermarket workers play but during the crisis, I was like 'Wow, you people really out here doing God's work, looking after us and making sure we get our toilet paper.'

It changed my beliefs about the roles we all play in society, we're all important and we're all vital to keeping society running, COVID-19 made that clear to me.

What have you learned about yourself and other people through this crisis?

I have learnt that every challenge is just an opportunity to build character. I've learnt that there is value in the quiet and in your own company. I have learnt that I make an amazing roasted pumpkin soup and that the contents of the cupboard won't change by opening the door three different times.

I've learnt to be kind to myself and others because EVERY person is going through something, we're all going to have our bad days and we have to look out for those people when they have those days and let them know they're not alone.

I have learnt to normalise being emotional, unsure and fearful. It's okay to be angry, sad and frustrated and not know why you're feeling that way. It's okay to tell someone that you're having a bad day because nine times out of ten, they can relate to that and connect to your experience.

We're all just out here trying to do our best and look out for each other and you can't tear someone down for acting with kindness and trying their hardest.

What is something you would like to say to everyone out there?

Make yourself a cup of tea, put on an episode of 'The Office', and be kind to yourself; you are living through a Global Pandemic. Go you!

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