I am on my 50th, day of isolation in Finland, the north of Europe.
Autumn and winter were long, dark, gray, gloomy, and odd. Finally, it is spring. We have sunny and longer days with a strong desire to be outside enjoying them. But, unfortunately, that is not the scenario since we need to be indoors and take care of ourselves because of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, which is a worldwide pandemic.
The virus that broke out in Wuhan, China, last December, has expanded to many countries on the globe. I remember being at work when I heard the first press conference of the Finnish government about the crisis. Days after, on the 16th of March, they declared a state of emergency. We started our lockdown.
Our life changed. We all started to live as in movies such as I am Legend, The Blind, Armageddon, Cast Away, Contagion, Outbreak, 93 days, Oblivion, etc.
The movie “COVID-19” is being filmed in many corners of the world and I am one of the millions of characters. My movie’s first scene took place at the supermarket. After work, I went to buy milk and yogurt, since I had forgotten to buy them on my regular grocery- shopping day.
When I walked into the supermarket, I was shocked by the number of people buying, and by seeing so many empty shelves. I thought this was crazy and selfish. People were in panic, anxiousness, and overbuying things they didn’t need without thinking about others such as the elders. However, I got my products and went home.
The following week while being at home and sitting in my home-office, I called to seeabout my job (as a babysitter). I was told that my contract will be cancelled because of the crisis, so I became unemployed. I was not surprised by the news because I knew I couldn’t do anything due to the pandemic situation. This scene wasn’t only shot in my home, it was also filmed at thousands of workplaces and other houses.
Many governments took measurements to combat the crisis, for example, working remotely from home to avoid the spreading of the virus. For a lot of employees, it was a challenge since it was their first time in this new setting. Many faced a lack of concentration because the entire family was at home; others found it hard not being able to socialize with coworkers, especially if they live alone.
A friend of mine has two children (11 and 8 years old) studying online, and so is her husband working from home with a lot of videoconferences. She said: ” to manage each one of our schedules, I wrote them on the blackboard, so this made it easier to interact at home”.
But this part of the movie is not the same for everyone; there are many other shots:
Scene 1: A family that has more than two children or a smaller one.
Scene 2: The space at home is reduced.
Scene 3: They are single parents.
Scene 4: They don’t have control over the situation at home.
On the other hand, for me working from home as a freelance is not new since I have over 10 years doing it. I admit that I like it because I work with a timetable. Moreover, it gives me better concentration, and it allows me to even take a break for running, walking or meditating.
On the storyboard of my movie, many humans are alone because they are practicing social distance and isolation. Overnight, we were banned to have human contact. For me, perhaps, this is the most difficult challenge in this new way of living, because I am a person who loves to laugh, hug, and touch, I think they are essential elements for human well-being. Not having human contact or feeling makes me uncomfortable.
I have met Friends with whom to take a walk, talk, and bicycle; of course, practicing distance measurement. I was happy to see them, but it was very hard not to hug them.
Yes, our life has changed drastically over the past months. As I mentioned above, we have lovely days. When I wake up and see the sun, my feeling and desire are to go to the beach and have a picnic, but it is not possible because I have a role to play by staying at home. My days are scheduled, I go every other day to run or walk for an hour, and one time per week to the grocery shop.
I like social media and talking on the phone with families and friends. But now, it is overwhelming since the outbreak of the coronavirus. I have downloaded other applications for communications which I have used to hold meetings, workshops, birthdays, happy hours, and hangouts. This is the trend in my life.
Previous to this crisis, the locations of my life were many: commuting to work – Helsinki-Espoo-Helsinki, visiting friends in Vantaa, museums, disco, libraries, coffees, restaurant, movie hall, discussions panel etc. Now the locations are three: home, parks, and grocery shop.
In many movies of worldwide crisis, the heroes find the vaccine before the fatal time for their family, the government works together, there is a happy ending, etc. In my movie and yours, we still have a lot of unknown shots and characters.
According to expertise, our life probably will come back to “normal” in late summer. But this would not be the same for all countries since it will be “based on factors like political stability, corporate governance, risk environment and supply chain logistics, and transparency. Pairing these rankings with their countries initial response to the virus, we identified the nations across the globe that have a high likelihood of maintaining stability and resilience through the crisis”.
So when and how does this movie end? It is uncertain. But it is clear that we are going to have a post-pandemic world crisis. There will be a severe impact on business, sports, culture, education, climate, and human being behaviour; for example, greeting with a kiss or shaking hands probably will be banned. These bigger scenarios will have other implications in our society that probably we do not even imagine.
Yes, I have had bumpy days during isolation, which I faced and overcame. But also, I think that this confinement is teaching me a lot of new things, how to embrace what I have, slow down, and live day by day. I read that with a crisis like this our mental health, balance, and well-being can face 3 stages: fear, learning and growing. I want to continue growing.
I can hear the director’s voice and see the clapperboard that says: production: Our life in CONVID-19, scene: 20 , take: 50, but, THE END is not yet written. So, for sure my isolation days will increase, my desire to hug friends will continue, and I will sit and write another story of this cycle of my life.
How do you think this film will end? Who will be the heroines and heroes?