Every dark cloud has a silver lining

April 14, 2020

Image created by Finn Souter with images from Exposure’s Loneliness Collection

Emily Kelly sees through the gloom of COVID-19 and shares some of her brighter views

I want to start with my gratitude.

It may seem somewhat strange, or you may be resistant to feeling thankful for much, during these peculiar and tough times.

But amongst pretty much every pandemic, and war, and trying time, there is a silver lining – isn’t there?

Maybe only one, two, or three positive things will come.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m blocked from travelling on my gap year, which I worked so hard for. And yes, I was half way through a volunteering project in Tanzania, when I was abruptly sent home. But at least I have a home; a safe place to come back to.

How many backpackers, volunteers, gap year kids were, and maybe still are, stuck abroad, alone? So who am I to complain about a stolen opportunity to travel, when some have their safety jeopardised.

COVID-19 is an ominous cloud, a monster, like the ones we feared as children. But what scares me most is that we can’t see it. It can creep up on us, into our bodies without being noticed, into our own homes, or on our forbidden third walk of the day.

It could sneak up on my family, on my mum. The only thing I’ve feared in my 19 years, more than those monsters of my childhood, is losing her. My mother suffers from severe bronchitis (an infection of the main airways of her lungs), making her extremely vulnerable to this invisible beast.

My mum could be as cautious as Boris Johnson – now struck down with the virus himself – tells her to be, but that may not be good enough. Because what about me? I would more than likely survive, maybe have a week or so feeling under the weather, but I’d survive. But if I got it, I could cause the one thing that terrifies me most – my mother falling ill. That’s something I would never want to live with.

Too much, too painful, it doesn’t bear thinking about. So I’m back to the silver linings. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t momentarily enjoyed quarantine. Being forced to stay inside, locked down, with time to do anything you please.

Finally having an opportunity to start running again, get fit, start home workouts, because why not?!

Finishing your student finance application, very important. Clearing out that one cupboard, where all the miscellaneous things you’ve had since you were eight were dumped. Completing your photo wall. Having an excuse to shamelessly watch Netflix.

Playing Sims, like when you were 14, for hours, without having to justify it to anyone, or feel guilty because you should be doing this, or going here, or seeing them.

Finally having an opportunity to start running again, get fit, start home workouts, because why not?! Having so much time to focus on yourself, looking inward and doing what you love again. Writing, reading, maybe picking up that old instrument you used to so enjoy playing.

Being subjected to spending more time with your family; playing Scrabble with your mum because you both want a technology detox for a few hours, or having sacred movie nights.

How about finally, after all these years, bonding with your dad? The pubs aren’t open, so he’s been sober longer than he ever has, since you’ve known him (which, yes, is 19 years).

You start to see why your mum fell in love with him in the first place. You see a glimpse of the funny guy, the witty guy, the real him.

It feels like things are healing. I’m not going to outright thank COVID-19 or anything, but it’s not all so bad when you really think about it.

We’re all in the same boat here, so you’re not missing out on anything, you’re staying safe. Try not to see the lockdown as something you need to cope with, it’s not in place to punish you or out to get you.

You’re not behind with anything, you’re keeping your family safe. You’re waiting, we’re waiting. Waiting for it, the dark and turbulent cloud, the creature, to pass on through, but let’s not let our lives freeze over.

Indulge yourself, because there’s no better time than when we are all under house arrest is there?

Be productive. What have you not found the time for recently? Something you used to love, or something you hate, and have been putting off. Maybe there isn’t anything, maybe you’re really on top of things, so in that case, allow yourself to take a long bath, add in that Christmas bath oil.

Allow yourself to watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix for the fifth time, allow yourself to eat that chocolate bar, or use that expensive face mask.

Indulge yourself, because there’s no better time than when we are all under house arrest is there? When there’s nothing else to do, you may as well try and feel good about yourself!

For those social butterflies; the ones who live for a night out and plan all the parties, don’t feel at a loss, because we are in an age where technology rules our lives, and whilst usually, I would frown upon succumbing to that, we have the best means to communicate.

Utilise your phone and laptop in a way that’s difficult to justify when life is as normal. Now is your chance. Facetime your girlfriends, join a Houseparty, and Snapchat your crush all day, if you want.

As for family, I find the most important thing is to make sure you all get your alone time, because right now we have little escape from one another, so to avoid unnecessary blow outs, take some hours for yourself.

Then, when you come together again, you can truly appreciate it, rather than getting easily fed up with each other, which could lead to living hell, during the next however many weeks of quarantine.

Check this article from Verywell family for tips about how to safely navigate coronavirus (COVID-19). Take care of yourselves.

Emily studied English Literature, History and Psychology A Levels at Woodhouse College. Emily is passionate about expressing herself through spoken word. She has a keen interest in history and how it affects our society.

Emily Kelly is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Edinburgh studying Social Anthropology and Sustainable Development. Emily took a gap year and travelled to South East Asia, Central America and Tanzania in East Africa. She is passionate about travelling and seeing the world as well as the power of writing and how we can connect and share our experiences through it.

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